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Niels De Groot

Gunner's Mate

0 · 205 views · located in Continent of Drumin

a character in “A Letter of Marque”, as played by Irish Wolf

Description

Niels is a short Demician, just touching five feet and four inches in height, who is almost as broad as he is tall. Its a strange thing, to see a fat sailor but somehow he's managed it. The extra padding covering him, hides the strong build of a body, which can heft barrels of powder, toss cannon balls and haul guns with the best. His eyes are small but sharp, taking note of small details through a pair of lenses in deep brown. Thinning blond hair, receding from his forehead, is grown out to his shoulder and pulled back into a single tail behind his head. Another strange thing for a sailor, his skin is still pale with a faint hint of color to it and is unmarked by scars or tattoos.

He dressed very formally, black breeches, white shirt and a light blue jacket, with orange trim with the Company insignia, a large V, with a small h stitched on the left branch and a small c stitched on the right, on the left breast. He also has a plain, black, tricornered hat.

Personality

On his own, Niels is about as stimulating as a bag of turnips. A quiet man, his mind is like a ledger, filled with figures and numbers. His one great skill, is the ability to tell the weight of something, just by picking it up, which had allowed to live a very comfortable life, since he met up with Edusrt van der Zaal. His skill has made him invaluable during gunnery duels between ships, as he can quickly fill any sized powder bag without needing scales or other special tools. Knowing he has the personal protection of Edusrt, he’s willing to challenge crooked pursers and underhanded stewards, always in private and for profit.

He also serves to keep the Master Gunner just this side of sanity.

Equipment

Blunderbuss
A single pistol

History

Niels history, before signing aboard a sloop nine years ago, is a mystery and he’s not talking about it. However, nine years ago, at the ripe old age of thirty, Niels became a sailor, for the first time in his life and the first three weeks of it very miserable. It was until until the sloop stopped for supplies, that he came to the attention of Edusrt, whom he was helping stow a new batch of dry power and new cannon balls. He remarked for some reason, that the shot was lighter then it should have been, five and half pounds, rather than the six pounds they were suppose to be. As it turned out, the ship’s purser was pocketing money but buying cheap and underweight cannon balls.

From that day forwards, he was ranked as Gunner’s Mate and travel throughout the world, aboard different ships in the Vereenigde Handel Compagnie’s (V.H.C. or the United Trading Company) fleet. He was always transferred with Edusrt van der Zaal and learned much from him. Mostly the art of gunnery but a little of gunsmithing and gained a love of smoking. There are always rumors that seem to follow along, about what he was before becoming a sailor. He's a murder on the run, he's a debtor escaped from prison, he's a married man avoiding an truly ugly wife and may such other things. However, such rumors always quiet, after the Edusrt finds however is talking about them.

So begins...

Niels De Groot's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Niels De Groot
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“Aye Cap’n” said an enthusiastic Edusrt, getting the very orders he had been wanting, “I’ll see the work be done.”

The Master gunner snapped a sharp enough salute, to make any naval man practice his own and smiled wide, letting his teeth flash. Oh yes, he would keep an eye on their turncoat pirate, more then one when he could spare it. And he was going to get to play with a new cannon, he was almost wiggling with excitement. To cover the faint tremor running through his body, he down the rest of his powder spiced rum, as the captain stood from his chair. WIth the rest of the officers, he followed Gareth out of the cabin and out onto the deck. Without anything to do, he then slipped away, a wicked smile on his face, there was a parting gift he needed to perfect, before the esteemed Mr. Lotering, was sent on his way.

Some time later, an off pair of Demicians leaned against the railing of the foredeck. Both were looking towards the portside, where the Jade Moon almost touched sides with the Obsidian Star. They were quiet, watching the crews mingle, as a slight haze of pipe smoke hung around them. Now and then, each would pass a pair of flasks between them, as smoke rings floated lazy above them. The shorter and much broader of the pair, dressed in fine cloths, smoked a very long stemmed pipe, the bowl of the thing nearly reaching his belly.

“You know” said Niels De Groot, his first spoken words in over an hour, “I agree. We should test your idea about hinged barrels, before trying to improve the captain’s pistols like that.”

“Aye” said Zaal, clearing sounding disappointed. He had thought it was a wonderful idea, when it struck him, while committing the greatest sin he had ever done in his life. He had been sabotaging a pistol, something that hurt his soul to do but it fed the terrible need to see John Lotering suffer. When they marooned the dumb bastard, they would leave him a pistol and single shot, to be used for hunting or to kill himself. However, the pistol would never work, not if Zaal had anything to do with it and he had already tinkered with one of the ship’s, so that the trigger mechanism would break and the hammer would fall off, if someone tried to fire it.

As if to atone for this grievous evil towards all things firearm, the idea for what he could do for Captain Gareth had come to mind. He could cut the barrels of the pistols and add hinges and a lock. That way, the pistol could be flipped open and loaded, then snapped back in place, making the loading much quicker. However, De Groot was more then likely right, they would have to test the idea first. Maybe on some captured pistols after they took the cove. The thought cheer him immensely.

“Aye” said Edusrt again, sound much more enthused, “And till then, we could give ‘em barrels a bit o’ rifling and tune ‘em triggers up for ‘im! Make ‘em fire with nothin by a lover’s caress and hit some bastard's heart, at the length ah the ship!”

Niels nodded slightly and smiled. It was just like his....friend. Always excited to modify from instrument of death and always finding something to make himself that way, never letting a disappointment keep him down. Drawing deeply on his pipe, the fat man blew a large but perfect smoke ring and watched it float up towards the rigging. If only life could always be like this, calm seas, no fighting and a job that didn’t make him work. Alas things would change within a day or two but for now, life was good.

“Here Niels” said Zaal suddenly, taking his pipe from his mouth, “Go and find that female marine officer we got. I want a word with her.”

The Gunner’s Mate arched a single brow at the Master Gunner but walked off without a word. He had smallish feet for such a large man but seemed to walk with a dancer’s grace, smoothly working his way through the crowd of sailors, towards were a group of marines were gathered on the main deck. Small eyes quickly scanned the face of the sea-soldiers, looking for the features of women and then the spark of leadership. Picking out the one he believed to be an officer, he slipped among them and up to her.

“Ms. Farglow” Niels asked, “Mr. Zaal would like to see you, he’s on the foredeck, if you please.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Aengus MAhery Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Ryota Tsukuda Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong
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#, as written by varxint
Jillian smiled broadly at Henry and his companion, “It will be good to have a military man with us. These ground maneuvers are not as familiar to me. We will take this cannon and our master gunner will then turn the cannon on the pirates. Expect some defenses, these cannons are key to the cove’s safety.”

She nodded as other crew came to volunteer and soon she had a small group. They talked about strategy as the captain readied the ship to pull alongside the Moon. When the rum came around the group took their share and the talk went from strategy to stories about previous battles. When the master gunner’s associate came to seek out Jillian she had just finished a rousing story of a narrow escape from a coastal patrol.

Jillian turned to Niels and suppressed a chuckle. She had seen this man below decks briefly, but never up close. Now she grinned as she looked him over. He looked nothing like a typical sailor involved with the powder. She would have thought it very odd, but it seemed to fit well with the slightly off master gunner aboard.

“Ah. So, off at the officer’s request. We all know it’s bad to keep them waiting.” She winked at the rest of the enlisted crew and followed Niels to find Zaal leaning on the rail, smoking. This was the first time she had to meet him up close. In the captain’s quarters she was too worried about giving her information to really notice who was in the room. Not to mention that cabin boy. This man definitely had the look of a sailor. Weathered, tattooed and scarred. Much more the typical man Jillian knew from her pirate days. She winked and nodded him, “So, master gunner, I’ve got a party ready. We’ll give you this new toy for you to play with. I hope you like it.”

*

Maxime stood in the crow’s nest, watching the mingling of the two crews. He frowned as he watched the woman, Pavati he remembered hearing, pause at the crossing. He sighed with sympathy. She looked like he did when he was on land. Out of her element and not nearly confident enough. Though, given how that man, John, treated her, Max was not surprised to find her lacking in experience on deck.

Maxime thought back to watching Kaitsu parade John across the deck. He could see some of the crew looking unsure at the idea of one of their officers being paraded around like a criminal. However, from the vantage point of the crow’s nest, Maxime knew there were many things most people didn’t know. He saw the way John dragged the woman aboard the ship. He saw the other moments that John thought were private. The small twists and pinches he would deliver to Pavati. The times where she brought him the maps he later claimed were his. The drunken, lecherous attempts at other female crew while dragging Pavati around with him. Maxime had no sympathy for the man. He was counting the hours until Gareth set him in his place. He knew Gareth would have no time for scum like John.

Now, watching Pavati return to her quarters, seeing her stand at the door, hesitant, unsure, he knew she would be in an unfamiliar spot. He was buoyed as he saw her go to the Moon and talk with Olivia and Gareth. He knew that those two would ensure she would be placed in a position to succeed. Still, Max thought Pavati might need something to help her feel secure. To help her know that she didn’t have to be put in the position John had her in again. Max ran his hands along the knives he had strapped to his chest. He selected a small, lighter, knife from his collection and clamped it in his teeth. Knowing the ships were anchored and he could safely leave his position, Max glided down the ropes like a spider across a web. He landed lightly on the deck in front of the sailing master’s quarters. He wrote; Madame, this is a gift to help ensure your continued safety. Though captain Fletcher will ensure you are safe aboard ship when you disembark that may not be as easy for him to ensure. If you would like to learn how this weapon can be used to protect yourself, please bring it on deck. I will see and I will help. Salut, Max.

Maxime then wrapped the small knife in the note and stuck the tip lightly in the door at eye level. Nodding he turned and started back up the ropes. Noticing some of the other riggers from both ships gathered, he paused. With a shrug he changed his mind and swung lightly over to the group.

Max smiled broadly, “Bonsoir. I see I have arrived just in time to partake of the merriment. Shall we see how many of these marines we can tangle in the ropes tonight?” He chuckled and poured himself some rum.

*

Ryota was not surprised by the request to moor the two boats. Though he had no reason to expect it, he just had a feeling that the two captains had more to discuss than they were able to this morning. He ensured the captain’s orders were fulfilled appropriately and efficiently. He noticed that the Star was also precisely prepared. With an impressed nod he watched as the two ships came together, flawlessly, on the first attempt. He was happy to discover their sister ship was competently run. He had resigned himself to working with the typical, just barely sufficient, crew he thought would be on the Star. Now he might dare hope the other ship would be run better.

He continued with the preparations for the next morning, finally ready to relax as the crews were fully mingled. He did notice the woman who was the sailing master of the Star stand at the crossing plank. He frowned, wondering how a woman who seemed so uncomfortable on a ship could possibly guide said ship. He hoped captain Fletcher knew what he was doing. But that was not his concern. He watched as the woman crossed, tentatively, but successfully. As he turned back to his ship something odd caught in his peripheral vision.

He turned and saw a tiny woman setting out a small table and sake. Intrigued he moved closer to the rail to get a better view. What he saw struck him almost as a flashback. He almost thought it was his mother, setting out tea for his absent father. He could not take his eyes off this routine. He waited, wondering who would get the honour of sharing with this woman, but no one came. He watched as she seemed to discuss with a non-existent companion. The similarities struck him again, as he would often watch his mother tell his father of him and his sister. Ryo smiled, in spite of himself. He did not wish to intrude on this obviously important tradition but he could not help himself from watching and the good memories it stirred in him. He continued to lean on the rail. He was far enough away to not be able to hear what the woman was saying and had no wish to insinuate himself in on that private moment. However, he remained, within sight, within meters of this ceremony, watching with a gentle smile.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong
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Eydis wound the rope around her arm. She sat astride the top of a mast and looked out over the waves. She was smiling, calm and relaxed as the boat rocked under her.

A little later, Eydis watched the officers go into the captain’s quarters. She smiled and shook her head. They were an interesting collection of officers if she had ever seen one. A blonde eyebrow raised as she saw the red-haired marine went in with them. She was a curious member of the crew. Rumours, to which Eydis paid little attention to said that she was a pirate turned traitor. Others pegged her as a spy.

She jumped to another beam and laid out. The sun was setting when a commotion below her made her roll onto her stomach. The wood pressed into her torso as she gazed down at the deck. Kaitsu, the small boatswain was escorting their navigator to the brig. Eydis shook her head. She had seen little things and once when she had come down out of the rigging she was unfortunate enough to run into the man. John had drunkenly tried to compliment her, his wife beside him. She had smiled, spoken Demician to him and walked away as if she did not understand.

She wondered who would be the sailing master now and what would become of the man’s wife. Pushing herself up, Eydis stood and walked along the wood. Below the officers began coming out of the captain’s quarters. Eydis crouched on the wood and watched the woman, the native now without a husband as she stood in front of the door to their quarters. Her heart went out to the woman but on the good side she wouldn’t have to share it with her husband tonight.

Her eyes looked out at the sea, a calm came over her. They were hunting pirates and the open water made her excited. Eydis’ excitement grew as they began a course to come alongside the Jade Moon. Her brother, Yannick was a marine on that ship. She hadn’t seen in him two years. All four of her brothers were stationed on different ships than she was. Rarely they crossed paths.

The two ships came closer, Eydis heard the plank get placed between the two ships and she worked on securing the sails and ropes for the night. Her job had to be done before she could relax tonight. With the ships anchored it meant the crews would likely mingle once tasks were done. She was not going to pass up a chance to see her brother.

Ropes were wound, knots tightened and before long Eydis was slipping through the ropes and down the mast to the deck. Around her the others had begun to drink. There was crew she did not recognize, clearly the Moon’s people were coming aboard.

Eydis practically leapt across the plank to the Jade Moon. She scanned the deck for any sign of her brother. He would be hard to miss. The man was tall and solidly built, not at all like her. She paused, hands on her hips. A sharp curse in Demician passed her lips as she realized he wasn’t there. Turning on her heel, Eydis stalked back across the plank. “Where the hell are you, you ass...” Her brown eyes scanned the groups of sailors. A small group, a bottle being passed between them caught her attention. She wasn’t sure how she had missed them the first time.

She walked over to them and gave the one man a shove. The wide shouldered man turned, glaring at the person who had dared to shove him. His face shifted as he looked over the small woman. His companions, a mix of the two crews fell silent. Yannick wrapped Eydis up in his arms, picking her up off the ground.

Eydis laugh and let her brother squeeze her tightly. “Alright, alright. Let me breathe!” He put her down and clasped her shoulder in a meaty hand.

Yannick looked down at her, “How are you little sister?”

Eydis, “I am doing well. You look well fed.” She raised an eyebrow teasing him.

Yannick whacked a meaty hand on his chest. “Muscle little girl, we aren’t all built like birds you know.”

Eydis noticed a gesture out of the corner of her eye. Another rigger was calling her over. “I will return, a drink later? You and I?”

Yannick nodded and let her shoulder go. Pulling her bandana down over her eyes. “Later pest.”

Eydis pushed the bandana up, swearing at him as she walked away. Stepping up she took the offered bottle just as Maxime joined them. The topsman was a friendly sort. She took a swig and passed the bottle to him. She laughed at his comment.

“I can point you to a nice big one and I volunteer to get him to chase me. Gods know he did it enough while we were growing up. I bet you two coin we can get him in and upside down.” She nodded to Maxime, showing she was game for his challenge.

She looked over at Yannick and smirked.

Eydis, “Any takers?” She smiled and waited for the bottle to come back around to her. Her eyes strayed to where the red headed marine was meeting with the master gunner and his assistant. Things were still going on behind the scenes and really Eydis was not concerned. Her job was done and her brother was on board, there was fun to be had.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Niels De Groot
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Sharp blue followed Niels through the throng of sailors and then tracked him back, as the large man approached with a redheaded women behind him. Edusrt slowly straightened from where he was leaning against the railing, as his mate took his place besides him and their former pirate, turned marine officer, greeted him. For a long moment, he studied her. She was attractive and there was no denying it but his eyes looked for something else. Some clue about how loyal to their cause she was, as if his mad eyes could peer through flesh and into the soul. Memories stirred in the back of his mind, as he looked up into her face in the light of a single lamp.

When he had first gone to see as an officer, the sloop he was aboard was attacked by pirates. he hadn’t had the guns to drive them away, only piss the crew of rogue off, as he directed the death of a handful of their comrades. When two ships had been joined, The gunner had been standing with a gun crew, when a corsair Hauled themselves over the railing, a blunderbuss in hand and pointed towards them. She has resembled Jillian, in the basic facts of gender and profession. He couldn’t recall how it happened but he level a pistol at her and was quicker with the trigger, sending a ball between her breasts, before she could rake the gun crew with a hail of lead.

His left eye seemed to pulse and his right pupil twitched, as past and present, reality and memories blurred. The dead girl, so young now that he remember, merged with Jill, their faces becoming one and the same. His palm itched and a few drops of sweat slid down his back. Arm muscles trembled, as he fought the nearly overwhelming urge to yank a pistol from his belt. He needed to kill her before she killed them! No! He needed to talk with her! Kill Her! Talk! Kill! TALK! KILL! KILL HER NOW! NOW! BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! GOD HELP ME! KILL HER NOW!

“Aye” said Zaal, “I’d be much in ye’re debt if ye can.”

His eyes had stopped moving and the Master Gunner reached up and took the pipe from his mouth. Blowing the smoke straight up into the night sky, he glanced down at the bowl of the pipe, at the perfectly shape girl trying to peer into the wine barrel. One might think she would have been a buxom lass, given that a sailor own the pipe but instead, the white clay was formed into a beautiful girl-child, looking with wonder at what might be within the barrel. He liked the pipe, it’s gentle innocents, it reminded him of his mother and little sister. Looking up from the pipe, he locked eyes with Jillian.

“I don’t like secrets” said Edusrt, “And I speak plain. I don’t trust ye. Ye turned ye’re coat once already missy, ta save ye’re neck and until ye prove yourself, I think ye’ll do it again, if things go badly. God help ye if ye try ta stab us in tha back, cause I’ll do me best ta kill ye. I’ll give ye ta chance though, ta prove who ye’re with but I’ll be keepin me eyes on ye.”

He pulled the silver flask of plum brandy from his belt and offered it to the Marine, watching her every move.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Niels De Groot
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Kill her” whispered a sweet, seductive and somehow reasonable voice, in the back of Zaal’s mind, “Kill her.....kill her now......before she kills us.....kill her....

A smile spread across the Master Gunner’s face, as he took the flask back from the Marine. It wasn’t everyday you could threaten to kill someone and then have them (while being an attractive woman), flirt at least with you. Either she was telling the truth about not turning her colors during battle or she was confident that she could kill him before he could do the same to her. If it was a close quarters fight and it would be, then he would have to say, the odds would favor her greatly. Or maybe it was just that she was as mad as he was.

“Aye” said the Demician, answering both the question about liking what he saw and approval of her claim not to change sides in battle, “It will be lovely ta watch ye work.”

Niels, who had been unaware of the Marine’s former occupation (and to be truthful, he still was), watched Jillian with a more wary expression. Who’s colors had she been wearing before and why might she turn them again when fighting pirates? Small eyes narrowed, as he adjusted the light blue jacket and pondered. It sounded like she had been among those sea rats or at least that was the most logical answer in his mind. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a few subtle signs, of a disturbance in his friend’s mind. He needed to know more about her, if anything to keep the sanity from losing the battle within Edusrt's mind. If she was a pirate and he was now sure of that, than they needed to know if they had faced each other before.

“What ship” asked the Gunner’s Mate, ‘And Captain did you serve with before Ma'am?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Ryota Tsukuda Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Leland
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#, as written by varxint
Maxime laughed as Eydis deftly secured a victim and taunted others. He quickly started setting more traps in the rigging. There was no doubt that Eydis’ taunts would draw more into her. Maxime also secured some rum to help smooth ruffled feathers. This was all in good fun and he wanted to make sure none of the marines held grudges. A ship is a small place if people are out to get you. A return joke is one thing, but hurt feelings could inspire a more violent response.

Maxime saw the cabin boys returning rum from the captains quarters. He swung down, “I don’t think the captain would mind if I borrowed this bottle. But let him know Maxime sends his warmest regards. Merci.”

He swiped a bottle from the tray and swung back into the rigging. Just in time to see Eydis scurrying around to avoid the clumsy grasps of her new victims.
*
Jillian grinned at Edusrt’s comment, “Lovely. Yes. It usually is.”

She cocked her head at Neils’ question before remembering that he wasn’t in Gareth’s quarters, “Ah, yes. I used to serve aboard the Hell-born Raider. The very ship we’re planning to send to the bottom in the next day or so. She was and is captained by Corentin Mael. A bloodthirsty oaf. Clumsy but effective through sheer violence. Hasn’t made much of a name for himself since he just kills those he steals from. Would seem easier to be feared. More ships would surrender quicker. But, no one ever accused Corentin of being smarter than average.”

She shrugged in dismissal, “Never liked the man myself. I fought for my squad and my shares. My squad took heavy losses in the last battle and Mael thought it best to cut and run instead of help his boarding party escape. If he should be on the ship as it sank so much the better, in my mind.”

She looked up as she heard some yells and chuckled at the sight of the marines in the ropes, “So, the lads are at play. Looks like those riggers are taking advantage of us landlubbers. Someone should set them straight.”

She moved to head toward where Eydis and Maxime were laughing in the rigging.
*
The three sailors at the helm looked over as Leland pointed. With a huff of annoyance they began to move away from the helmsman.

“Those two are going to cause trouble with the marines. We’d better get over there. Someone’s going to throw a punch and I want to be the one.”

They approached the spot where Eydis and Maxime were waiting just as Jillian arrived. Jillian addressed the two riggers, “Alright you two. Enough of all this. Once we get on solid land you might end up getting some of it back.”

The sailor who had addressed Leland stepped up to Jillian, “You think you can just throw threats around like that.” With a slightly drunken sway he pushed Jillian’s shoulder hard enough to cause her to take a step backwards.

Jillian looked over in surprise to the three sailors. A few more marines now came up behind her with angry looks. Jillian narrowed her eyes, “This is not your concern. I’m conversing with this nice couple here. You should just step away now.”

Maxime sighed. This was going to escalate quickly. This is why having a peace offering was required. He nudged Eydis, “It is time we release our fellows, oui? They were good sports.”

He jumped down from the rigging, landing softly between Jillian and the sailor. He bowed slightly to Jillian, “Ah cheri, we meant no harm. Just a bit of fun to help relax. We have a peace offering to show we are all still friends, non?” He held out the bottle of rum to Jillian and the other marines. At the same time he tried to shoo off the drunken sailors.

Jillian accepted the rum with a quick smile to Maxime, “Ah, a charmer. No one’s hurt. This will cure injured pride, as long as you two come share it with us?” The marines were still eyeing the other sailors carefully, and vice versa.

Maxime turned to the sailors, “I see you have your own rum. Please, allow us to enjoy ours whilst you enjoy yours in a different location, sil vous plais.”

The sailors grumbled and moved off, forgetting about Leland and the marines. Maxime joined Eydis, Jillian and the various victims of their joke as they smoothed over any hurts with a generous portion of rum.
*
Ryo bowed his head respectfully, “An honour to meet you Kaitsu Hoin. And waste is just a reminder of a poor planning.”

He played a stronger card, decisively shifting the advantage in the game to himself, yet leaving an opening for just the right combination. A risky move, if Kaitsu could counter, but he felt there was no sense playing too conservatively. He felt Kaitsu would become impatient, as would he, with a hesitant opponent. Move the game quickly. Enjoy the risk and reward if it works out. Yet knowing that you made your best moves if it didn’t work, rather than sitting back and letting the opponent control the flow.

Ryo watched Kaitsu’s reactions carefully. He knew that her strategy could be revealed with her reaction just a much as with her next play.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong
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Just as she hoped some of the other marines took the bait and began to climb up after her. Eydis sat in the ropes, lounging and adding to the teasing. Yannick squirmed in his rope jail.

“Eydis let me down now!”

She turned to smile at him, “Sorry my dear brother but I have company.” She saluted him and scurried away from the large hands of another marine. She bound to her right. The marine was thrown heels over head in the ropes. Eydis laughed and bounded up before the next man could grab her.

The ropes pulled yet another victim into their grasp. Eydis slipped up to stand on a cross beam of the mast. She was laughing so hard she couldn’t see through the tears. The woman’s voice made Eydis look down, her laughter fading just a little. She scoffed at her assurance that on land it would be different. Obviously there would be no advantage of the ropes but Eydis was not an easy catch no matter the location.

It didn’t take much for the rest her laughter to die as the sailors and marines on deck began a small but tense debate. Eydis scrunched up her face. “Fun’s over....”

She slipped and slid down in the ropes and began to let the marines free. “No hard feelings, just a bit of fun eh boys?” She smiled sweetly to each of the men as she let them loose. They dropped to the deck, none worse for wear. Eydis could see Maxime smoothing things over with the groups.

Eydis moved to sit under Yannick’s head. His face was turning quite red. “Should I let you down now before you pass out?” She flicked his forehead.

“Ow! Damn it Eydis! Let me down now and we'll see what happens!” Yannick was getting angrier by the second. Eydis took much delight from her older brother's torment.

“Oh well, if you are going to be like that maybe I should just leave you up there. See the rest aren’t mad.” She pointed to the deck where the others were already sharing the rum.

“Say I am forgiven and share the bottle with us and I will let you down.” Eydis peered up at Yannick skeptically.

Yannick huffed, “Let me down runt before I smack you.”

Eydis rolled her eyes, “Alright then.” She moved out from under his head. “Look out below!”
Unlike the rest Eydis simply let Yannick’s ropes go. She didn’t slow them, didn’t make the lowering gentle. She just let the knot go and let the man drop quickly towards the deck. He yelled loudly as the deck began to close in on his face. At the last second Eydis pulled up on the rope to stop him from hitting the deck. She swung on the rope, countering him enough to allow the final bit of his plummet to be slow and gentle.

Yannick landed on the deck on his back, a soft thud and groan the only noise. He grumbled and snarled as he attempted to release himself from the ropes, his friends helping him. “Leave me be!” He lashed out at them.

Eydis continued to swing from the rope, high enough up that Yannick couldn’t get her until he was calmer. She watched him quietly. She swung by Maxime, taking a quick drink and a nod to Jillian. “Sorry if we hurt their pride...just a bit of fun. Especially between siblings.” She moved back up higher in the rigging to be away from her brother.

Once free, the man stood with his hands on his hips. “Get down here this instant! You deserve to be turned over my knee like when you were a child.”

Eydis stuck her tongue out at him. She spotted the master gunner and partner. In Demician, she called out loudly enough for Zaal and Neils to hear. “Brother you would disgrace me so in front of a fellow countryman?”

She wasn’t above playing dirty to save her neck.

Yannick turned and spotted the two men. He paled a little upon seeing them. Eydis saw. “Tsk, tsk...such behaviour is unseemly for a Demacian soldier don’t you think sir?” She addressed Zaal.

Climbing over she lowered herself closer to Zaal. Her feet touched the deck and she gave the master gunner a polite nod.

Yannick walked over to Zaal and Neils his temper cooled as he approached them. “Sir.” He gave Zaal a proper salute. “I am Yannick Armstrong, marine on the Jade Moon.” He spoke Demician but with a Wifield accent. “Eydis is my younger sister...my only sister...we were just having some fun.”

Yannick stood straight, obviously nervous around the man. Eydis, from her position just behind Neils’ shoulder smirked at her brother’s behaviour. “Oh yes, just some innocent fun. Will you come have a drink with us riggers and marines Master Zaal, Master Groot?” Eydis too addressed the men in Demician, her eyes twinkling with mischief.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong
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Corentin Mael, now there was a name, whose infamy was written from the bellies of sharks, by crippled victims thrown to their hungry maws. While maybe not the most well known of all the sea dogs but cruel enough that his name was known back in the old world. Others were known for fine seamanship, being able to escape any naval vessel and survive any storm. Some where known for refined, gentlemen and ladies of the high seas, much like their highwaymen counterparts. It was rare for a pirate to be known for violence and cruelty, for such things were expected and common. It would take a true monster, to have a name for it. Still, having a name for something, anything, was still having a name.

The voices screamed in Edusrt's mind, the words unintelligible, as they bounced off his skull, the madness growing within him, as the female marine turned away. Bright, almost feverish eyes, followed her back, as the Demician's hand drifted towards towards the butt of his pistol again, his mind unaware of his own orders to the hand. Every tale and story about the Hell-born Raider flooded from his mental collection. How many of those had she taken part in, how many crimes were being erased because she was now standing with him, but unlucky chance? His left eye trembled in it's socket, as fingertips caressed smooth, well used wood. She should be removed, those crimes demanded punishment. Whatever she was doing now, could not make up for those deeds done by Mael's command.

"Justice!" screamed a voice, the first clear word.

"Punishment" Another.

"Enjoyment!" cackled a loud voice, the one that seemed to gain the post power, whenever he worked his trade, the one that urged him to set flame of as much powder as he could.

Suddenly, the Master Gunner blinked, the voices fading away, as someone touched his hand. It had been Niels. The Gunner's Mate had brushed his friend's hand away from the pistol, using the excuse of reached for the silver flask. Small but intense brown eyes looked up, a slight concern in them, not enough for anyone who hadn't been around the heavy sailor for years to pick up on, but there all the same.

"An interesting woman" said the smaller of the two men, "With a...remarkable history..."

"Aye" said Zaal, looking up towards the rigging, at a sudden yell. A man tumbled from the ropes above, only be to stopped sort of the deck and gently let down. His sharp eyes spotted a lithe but feminine shape come swing down, somewhat. An amused smile spread across his face, as she suddenly called out in the only civilized language in the world, about her brother shaming her in front of their countrymen and openly chuckled, if just a little, as she then claimed that her brother was acting unseemly for Demician soldier.

Niels on the other hand, looked increasingly stern and straight lipped. A Company man through and through, he did think that both siblings were being unseemly. If this was a proper ship (which meant if this had been a Demician United Trade Company ship), such childish behavior would not have been allowed to go on. A stern captain or sharp eyed mate would have dealt with them long ago. However, he didn't say a word, as the siblings seemed to have pulled his friend away from the darkness lurking in the gunner's heart, even if he was being used as a human-shield. Disgraceful!

"More then one" declared Edusrt, speaking in his native tongue, "If only ta keep ye both from trouble!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Olivia Mastrontoni Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Aengus MAhery Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Ryota Tsukuda Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Leland
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#, as written by varxint
The morning sun broke over the water’s edge. Orange and pink and purple coloured the sky and the water. There was just enough breeze to sail by but not enough to make the water too choppy so the colours flowed and meshed, making it hard to tell where sky ended and ocean began. It was just the kind of sunrise that Maxime lived for. The reason he came to sea and stayed there, was to see beauty one could not experience on land. Through the slight waver of the hangover Maxime was still breathlessly watching the horizon from his perch high above deck. He could hear the rest of the crew beginning to waken and say their goodbyes as they returned to their own ship or helped their fellows to theirs.

Maxime smiled as the memories of the previous night came back to him. Some might think allowing the crews to carouse as they would showed a lack of discipline on the captains part. Maxime disagreed. The camaraderie that both crews established, and the mingling of the sailors and marines, would go a long way in the coming battles.

While the anecdotes and actions of last night reverberated through his memories, Maxime watched the sun continue to rise. Eventually the whistle calling the crew to assemble broke him out of his reverie and he slid down the ropes to join the others facing a very formal looking Gareth.

*
Ryo stood at the helm of the Jade Moon. Though he noticed the wondrous sunrise he was focused on his task at hand. Carefully separating the ships again, now that the two crews had mostly been able to return to their appropriate assignments. Ryo smirked slightly at the thought of those few who, too hungover to wake, were going to have to beg a row to their home ship. He wondered how many would try to pretend to be members of the crew of the ship they awoke on, just to avoid the embarrassment.

His smirk turned into a genuine smile as he thought of the woman he met last night. No doubt Kaitsu would be having a similar experience, getting her ship in order. And though he knew she would be completely focused on her task he still wondered if she thought fondly of their too brief card game. Next time, I will bring the sake, he thought as he deftly moved the Moon into a parallel path to the Star.

*
Jillian’s head throbbed with each gentle rock of the ship. She was half convinced the Obsidian Star had run into a storm given how queasy her stomach felt. Yet when she opened her eyes and saw the blue sky and dawn’s light she had her suspicions. Then she noticed that she was waking up on deck, surrounded by other passed out sailors and marines. She groaned. At least she was wearing all her clothes still.

She slowly gathered herself and sat up. Watching as the last stragglers crossed the planks between ships. The planks were pulled up as the ships moved away from each other. Jillian was sure that she saw Gareth leap the last few feet just in time to make it. She chuckled but quickly stopped as that just made her head pound. She took a measure of the men and women around her.

Ah, it looks like our numbers have grown overnight.

She stood up and noticed Gareth again, looking to be giving orders already. As one of the cabin boys ran off Gareth headed to the foredeck. Jillian winced, knowing what was coming next and yet the shrill whistle still pierced her ears and made the nausea almost too much to bear. She stumbled to find her place in line as the rest of the sleeping crew grumbled and began to assemble. Some looking to Gareth and some forming a line along the rails, noisily ejecting the remains of last night’s drink.

*
The sunrise peeked in the window, casting its rays across her eyes. Olivia frowned, her eyes still closed and nestled closer to the warm body next to her.

“Not yet.” It was breathed against his skin. Her face buried into his arm. They had been apart for too long and they had joined again as if the years had not separated them.

Olivia’s fingers entwined with Gareth’s and she pulled his hand to her lips. Kissing each of his fingers she sighed. The boats would be preparing to separate and begin the assault on the pirate’s battlements. First, the Jade Moon would move on allowing the Star to deal with their trial. Then the two boats would meet up to take on the pirate’s cannons.

Olivia turned in Gareth’s arms. He would have a heavy day. How it was handled would go a long way to how much his crew would respect him. She wished she could take it all from him, let him go back to the marine he was. Responsible, shy and kind. Free of shadows and hatred. Not that she did not understand. She had been part of that crew as well. If she and Gareth hadn’t been on the island looking for supplies to repair the ship they might not being lying here now.

She kissed his neck, pushing thoughts of the past away and focusing on the present. They were together again. Not permanently and not even on the same ship but working together was better than the distance of before.

Her fingers went into his hair. He looked so untroubled in his sleep. Olivia hated the idea of waking him. She hated the idea of leaving the bed even more but duty called for both of them.

“Sun is up. We must take advantage of the current. If we head out soon we can be there before noon. There is hope that by this evening we can take their cannons.” Olivia’s voice was soft but commanding. One captain to another, despite their closeness under the blankets.

“We may have reason to celebrate. Perhaps in your quarters next time.” She smiled and kissed him.

Gareth became aware of Olivia’s gentle caresses. Her observations sinking in quickly, he sighed, “Yes, of course. We’ll need to work our crews back to shape and through the effects of the carousing. There will be grumbling, but now they’ve learned their friends and the hard work will knit them together in a joint cause of recovery.”

He chuckled lightly, knowing that this could backfire if the planned attack on the pirates didn’t pan out. He was confident that the crew would be in shape for this evening’s raid though and the battle would be the last tempering fire to secure this crew for a long, hard fought war on the pirate band.

He kissed Olivia softly and slid out of bed. He dressed as he continued speaking, “Another celebration like last night for the crew might be too much. We should temper the enthusiasm. However, I will be very happy to welcome you to my ship. It’s only fair to return the hospitality.”

Olivia pulled the blankets up to cover herself as she watched him dress. Her legs tucked up, her chin resting on her knees, “Very true but a victory will want to be celebrated. We will think of something. Perhaps something more... organized.”

She smirked and slid out of the bed. Walking over to him, Olivia fixed the collar of his shirt, “I would be honoured to accept your hospitality Captain.”

She kissed him fully and then stepped away. Donning clean clothes, Olivia brushed her hair smooth and bound it back. She finished it with a bandanna.

Turning she smiled at him, her hands on her hips, “Ready?”

Gareth and Olivia emerged from her quarters. No sense pretending they weren’t in there together. Too many sharp eyes. If they wanted to talk, let them. Gareth’s and Olivia’s story was known by enough people among the crew that it wouldn’t stay secret even if they tried. Olivia shouted orders to move the ships apart. Gareth took her hand in his one last time and kissed the back of it as he bowed. Donning his hat he said, “Though it is hard to leave a beautiful woman, this day looks to be almost as beautiful and does take the edge off. Until tonight.”

He turned and with a few steps and a leap made it back to the Star just as the last plank was being removed from between the two ships.

As soon as he was on board he called for the cabin boys. He sent messages out to gather John from the brig and call the crew to order. He knew it was going to take a bit of time to get everything ready, but no sense delaying. He sent orders to start on the course Pavati set to the island. He was confident that John’s sentence was just but knew he needed the backing of his crew. Since John’s crimes did not take place in battle the captain’s word was not final. The representative of the crew would need to pass final judgement. After last night Gareth thought the crew should have mingled enough to be able to choose a spokesperson. Now was the time to find out who that would be.

He strode up to the fore deck and watched as the crew tried to come to order. Some needed to pause along the rails before the did, but eventually all members were in line. Gareth chuckled at the less than straight lines that formed and the swaying he saw among the crowd. Almost like I have a bunch of land lubbers here. Ah, nothing a little work won’t cure. We’ll sweat it out of them.

Gareth turned to another of the cabin boys and ordered enough fresh water set about to ensure no one was going to be short. Gareth knew it was a quick use of precious supplies, but he needed his crew in fighting shape and if they were dehydrated they would not be. If they put down this first ship they would have more than enough time and ability to refill their water supply.

Now John was being paraded out on deck, in shackles and made to stand below the captain on the main deck. He was clearly angry and hurting. The lack of alcohol in his system was showing. John looked strained. Eyes blinked in the harsh sunlight.

Gareth barely contained a sneer of contempt at having to see the man again. He began, “I have gathered the crew to pass judgement. This man is accused of dereliction of duty. He has not been fit to perform his role since he set foot upon this ship. He has passed off the work of another as his own in an attempt to dupe the officers, and this ship’s crew, into thinking he is a capable sailing master. He is also accused of abusing a fellow crew member. Of uttering threats to officers and discreditable conduct in general. I propose a sentence of marooning. Let fate deal with the man as she deems fit.”

John looked up at Gareth, the colour draining from his face. His mouth opened as if he would argue but the murmurs that began behind him gave him pause. He glanced fearfully from side to side.

Gareth paused, looking over the whole crew, meeting as many gazes as he could with confidence in his decision. “Since these crimes were not during a time of war it is the crew’s responsibility to pass judgement. Therefore I call upon the spokesperson for the crew to pass judgement on this man. You have time to choose your representative. I will await your decision in my quarters and the prisoner will be returned to the brig.”

Gareth nodded to his officers as he turned toward his quarters, “I trust you will gather the crew’s opinions appropriately. Thank you.” He then entered his quarters and began catching up in his logbook.

John struggled as he was led back towards the brig. He wanted to plead his case. He caught Pavati’s face in the crowd. “You! You are the cause of this!” He continued to yell as he was led away.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Aengus MAhery Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Leland
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Pavati sat up, jarred out of her sleep by something. Her hands were at her side at the ready to launch herself out of the bed she had found herself in. Immediately pain radiated up her arm causing her to cry out and her stomach to lurch. It radiated up to her shoulder and with it the nausea rose. She launched herself out of bed, just making it to the chamber pot.

The bile joined the expelled stomach contents from earlier. Pavati was panting, her arm now cradled against her body in the sling and stabilizing splint Finch had put on it the evening before. Her mind struggled to come to terms with what was going on.

Pavati sat on the floor, her back against the bed and tried to calm her body down. The pain, fear and confusion drew the colour from her face. It took a few minutes before she was able to slow her heartbeat and breathing to a more natural rhythm.

“John is gone. Captain sent him to the brig. He isn’t here.” Pavati kept repeating it to herself.

A slow, long exhale and Pavati looked around the room. It was going to take some getting used to, this room, a bed and privacy. It was so quiet. She frowned. “I no longer need to sit on the floor like a common house pet.”

Pavati stood up and straightened her back. Her eyes surveyed the room. The two trunks sat. her brows knotted. Crossing the small room Pavati opened them both and looked over the clothing. She had so little and everything was very big. Everything but...

Her hands worked to pull out one of the very simple dresses she owned from the bottom of her trunk. She laid it out on the bunk and bit the inside of her cheek as she stared down at the garment.

Pavati stripped off the oversized shirt and pants very carefully. Her arm and its bandaging made the task less graceful than normal but in the end the clothes were changed.

“I wonder if the captain would be able to get me a needle and thread.” If she could get that then the clothes she had could be altered enough so that she was a bit more respectable. Pavati was sure that a dress was not common for sailors but the clothes John forced on her were less so.

Pavati knelt and began to rearrange the trunks. One for clothes, each neatly and ready for her to take in. The other had all the navigation tools organized. It was how she wanted it. She sat back on her feet and smiled.

The trunks were closed and Pavati noticed the beginning of the sun’s rays peeking into the porthole. She brushed her hair, leaving the long, black strands shining and smooth. Tucking the comb into the trunk with her clothes, she then crossed the room to the desk.

The map lay there, drying from the night before. Dark eyes scanned it over. It was a good map, a good route. Her head held high, Pavati rolled it up and tucked it into her splint.

Outside her door she could hear the movements of the crew. She listened. A familiar sound reached her ears. The sound of someone or in this case, numerous someone’s releasing the leftover alcohol from their stomachs.

Pavati swallowed and steeled herself for what was to come. They’d be moving the Obsidian Star to the island she had chosen to maroon John. Her hands trembled. She stood at the door, unable to open and face what was to come.

“You have to. You are the sailing master now. You have a place on this ship and he does not.” Her shoulders slumped. “I do not know the first thing about being on a ship..” As if in response, Pavati wavered on her feet. She frowned. That was the first time since she had woken that she had been unsteady. She had dressed and moved about the room not giving a single thought to the sea under her.

Pavati squared her shoulders again. She’d learn. Just as she learned to draw the maps, plot courses and neatly print. Just as she learned to read, to adapt to John’s unstable moods. She’d learn her way around the ship and her duties. Gareth was giving her a chance and despite the fear that balled itself like John’s fist in her stomach, she would not waste it.

Her hand released the lock on the door and pulled it open. Pavati did not move a muscle. Her eyes rested on the knife and parchment that sat in her door. She looked around. There was no sign of the person who might have placed it there.

“A warning? A threat?” Her pulse quickened.

Tentatively she reached for it. It gave way into her hand quite easily. Pavati frowned. It hadn’t been forced into her door, more like lightly secured there. The blade was small and light in her hand. Awkwardly balancing it in her good hand, Pavati managed to get the note removed from its rolled home.

“Madame, this is a gift to help ensure your continued safety. Though captain Fletcher will ensure you are safe aboard ship when you disembark that may not be as easy for him to ensure. If you would like to learn how this weapon can be used to protect yourself, please bring it on deck. I will see and I will help. Salut, Max.”


She stared at it, rereading the words over and over again as if not quite comprehending what they meant. “Help?”

Her eyes looked around. “Who is Max?” She had to admit that she had often fantasized about killing John but the act would bring a harsh punishment for her. Did Max not realize that she, as a native of Garame, was not allowed to defend herself against...well anyone?

Confused by the gesture but wishing to return the blade Pavati stepped onto the deck. Around her the crew were gathering. She spotted Gareth. Unsure of where she should be, Pavati found other officers from Gareth’s cabin. Quietly, tentatively she took a position between Zaal and Finch.

The map remained in her splint, the knife and note in her good hand, her eyes on Gareth fearing drawing any attention to herself.

Her heart stopped as Gareth ordered John brought up from the brig. Pavati began to tremble. “Will Gareth change his mind? Will he...” Her thoughts stopped as John appeared on deck, led by one of the cabin boys. He was in shackles and looked terrible. She wanted to shrink away but she couldn’t help but stare at the now haggard man who had made her life hell.

The charges rang out, clear and crisp in her ears. Gareth’s voice carried on the sea breeze and it made it more real. He was asking for the crew to pass judgement. Gareth left and Pavati watched as John was led back to the brig.

She jumped as John’s eyes locked on hers. Pavati stood as still as stone. Part of her wanted to run and hide, yet she stood, a single defiant act as he screamed at her.

Her resolve was giving way, her urge to shrink off becoming overwhelming under John’s gaze when a body appeared in front of her, blocking her line of sight. The other cabin boy, the one who had tried to come to her defense in the captain’s quarters stood in front of her.

Unsure of what to do, Pavati remained and thanked the gods that the figure appeared before she had buckled. Her lips parted to thank him when the boy turned and left. John was gone. On the deck the crew was murmuring.

“Do I leave? Do I go see the captain?” She wanted to ask someone, Finch or Zaal perhaps but she couldn’t get her limbs to move. Frozen to her spot, Pavati remained a statue on the deck with the knife and note in her hand as around her the others discussed John, the charges and who would pass judgement.
***
Eydis woke up, groggy and with a sour taste in her mouth. Her face puckered at the noises around her. Blue eyes opened and took in the sight of the crew waking. Most seemed extremely hung over. She wouldn't have the headache or churning stomach that others would. “Thank my Demician blood.” she chuckled as she slowly stood. Stiff muscles protested the movement. One hand rubbed her lower back, the muscles there unaccustomed to sleeping on the wooden deck. Eydis began to stretch out her limbs.

Her eyes fell on the figure that lay near her. She sighed and shook her head. Yannick lay curled up like a protective guard dog by his sister. She smiled as she recalled one of his fellow marines, a Lisim man and an attractive one at that, had taken a shine to her. Yannick was too preoccupied with Master Zaal and their discussion on various guns to notice her slip away.

The handsome man and Eydis had been talking. The moment the man moved in to kiss her Yannick appeared grabbing the man and dragging him away. Eydis had been angry with her brother, he in turn told her to head to bed. An argument, one of great amusement to all around them, broke out. In the end Yannick let her stay but he never left her side from that point on.

Eydis gave her brother a swift kick to the thigh. “Let’s go, the Moon is going to leave soon and you will be stuck with me.”

Yannick grumbled and rolled over, looking up at his sister. “Well that would be a new circle of hell now wouldn’t it? Stuck on the same boat as you.”

Eydis ran her fingers through her hair and laughed. “Oh yes, I shall be a spinster, dried up and useless if we were ever on the same boat.”

Yannick stood, “Little sister, you will remain untouched and pure....even if it is only in my mind.” He smiled at her.

Eydis’ eyes softened, “Take care in this battle, I wish to string you up again.” She launched her small frame at her brother. Yannick scooped her up in his thick arms and squeezed her until she could not breathe.

“Little pest there will be plenty of chances for me to pay you back for that stunt and many more in the future. Do not worry.” He released her. “You worry too much and you will wrinkle, then it will not be my fault that no man will touch you.”

He gave her a small wink and light shove. Eydis thumped his arm soundly.

With laughter filling the air around them Yannick turned. He and his fellow marines headed to the planks before they were lifted away.

Eydis immediately began to climb the ropes. She perched herself on a wooden crossbeam and looked out over the ocean. It had been a good night but a fight was coming. Her lungs filled with the crisp air. A smile spread on her face and she began her tasks for the morning.

Gareth’s voice drew her out of her thoughts. Eydis slipped down in the ropes, sitting comfortably in them as she watched the prisoner brought out. She shook her head. Her eyes scanned the crowd. “I wonder if she...” Eydis spotted the man’s wife, the one he dragged everywhere from the moment they arrived on the ship. Her keen eyes spotted the splinted arm, the map tucked away and the woman’s dress.

“Interesting.” She relaxed and waited to see what judgement the captain would give. Eydis found her head nodding in agreement to Gareth’s proclamation that crew would pass judgement. She already respected her captain but this confirmed, for her at least that he was worthy of her service and loyalty.

Her first thought was that Master Zaal should be the representative but she knew that was her own home bias. Her eyes fell on the small boatswain. She would be the proper choice of course. Eydis would easily back a decision in her favour. Scanning the crew at large, she was struck by the fact that other than the disgraced man in the brig there was no one on the crew she would not trust to represent them well.

Waiting, Eydis began to go over the charges that Gareth had laid out. She hadn’t seen the man’s work as she had no reason to be privy to that. The threat to an officer, well she hadn’t seen one but given his behaviour it did not surprise her. What she did know was her brief run ins with the man and his wife and his general behaviour on board. Her vantage point high up let her see things many thought went unnoticed.

“They never look up.” She smiled to herself.

Eydis slipped out of the ropes and landed lightly on the deck. She approached Master Groot. She spied Leland, Henry and Aengus in the crowd. She assumed they would be discussion about this issue like she was about to be. None of them were officers, therefore not privy to the things that had gone on behind closed doors. She wondered what they thought of the charges.

In Demician, she spoke to Neils. “Interesting goings on this. What officer did he threaten? What will become of his wife, do you know?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Aengus MAhery Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Leland Character Portrait: Petro Aksakov
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Pavati watched with rapt attention as Gareth stepped out. Her good arm was by her side, her splinted one gently resting against her body and she rocked slightly on her feet. Without John hovering over her, Pavati found it easier to stand straight and tall. This seemed to make a world of difference to getting her balance on the rocking deck. She still wasn’t entirely comfortable but it was better than it had been.

Her eyes focused on Gareth. He was going to deliver the crew’s decision. Her heart was pounding. ”What if they decide that he is too remain on board? I will face the sea before I face him again.” Pavati closed her eyes and listened.

“The decision of the crew has been delivered. It is agreed that John Lotering shall be marooned. Helmsman, set a course. Let us finish this business.”

Her knees gave out. Pavati swayed. She wanted to smile. She wanted to cry. She thought she might get sick. All this translated into her face going very pale and finding the closest object to lean on. Her back was against a mast and she tried to breathe.

”Marooned...he is going to be gone.”

It didn’t seem real.

Pavati remained there, using the mast for support as the ship sailed to the island. It took the course that she herself had mapped out. Gareth had asked her but thought it only a true test of her skills. Now they were on that very course to leave John to his own devices on an island that she helped pick.

Around her the crew was hard at work with their duties. It got the point where even when she did feel better Pavati did not dare move for fear of getting in someone’s way. Gareth was walking around, interacting with his crew. Brown eyes watched everything that went on. Sails were tended to, ropes coiled, barrels moved.

A call went out, the island was spotted. Pavati wanted to move to the side, to see this land that was to be John’s home until such time as he could get himself off of it or die. She did not though. Her feet remained frozen in place. She heard the order for the rowboat.

John was dragged up again from the brig. He looked dejected and accepting of what was to be his fate. His head was down, shoulders slumped but Pavati could see something no one else did. His eyes. John turned his head and was staring at her. There was anger, pure and hot in those eyes.
She felt her heart stop for a moment. Pavati frowned and then raised her chin. She stood tall, finally moving from her spot against the mast. Her shoulders were squared. She was done being afraid of him. He was about to be put on a rowboat and she was here. Gareth was giving her a chance, Eydis was going to help her with her clothes and Maxime was going to teach her to protect herself.

It was with small but sure steps that Pavati followed the procession to the side of the boat. John was given a gun. She could see a small amount of supplies in the rowboat. ”I would send you off with nothing. I hope you use the bullet like the coward you are.”

It was her turn to stare. Pavati let her eyes lock on John’s for a moment. It was a breath, a heartbeat no longer and he looked unsure as the woman didn’t cower from him. She shook her head, just a little, enough to tell him no longer. He would cause her no fear or pain any longer.

“John Lotering, you have been sentenced to find your own fate on this island. You have been provisioned with the customary supplies. Your fate is now in your own hands.”

Gareth’s voice caused both parties to look away and at the captain. John made no protest, said nothing as he was loaded into the boat and it began to row away.

Pavati waited. Just before Gareth turned and gave the order to set course for the pirate hideout she moved quickly to the side. She needed to see with her own eyes that he was gone. He gathered his things and slunk off into the brush. Pavati felt a large weight lift. It was greater than when Kaitsu had taken him to the brig. This was bigger, more final.

She was free.

The call was made to set course for the pirate’s hideout.

Pavati knew the way they would sail, knew the landmarks they would pass. She knew because she had made the map, decided the route herself. A smile of peace appeared on her lips.

Hands clenched the rail but her eyes focused on the open sea. She didn't turn to look back at the island. Her mind was already focused on what her future might be.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Aengus MAhery Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Leland Character Portrait: Petro Aksakov
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Eydis had climbed back up into the rigging after the talk with Pavati and there she remained as Gareth came out and addressed the crew.

She nodded, happy and not at all surprised that the crew at large had decided to maroon the man. He had rubbed too many people the wrong way from the very beginning. The set sail for the island.

Eydis went to work immediately wasting no time. There were everyday tasks to accomplish and then there was preparations for the raid. She herself wouldn’t be going ashore but the ship needed to be ready to sail away or fight.

Her attention turned fully to her job. Nimble feet carried her across beams or along ropes. Deft hands knotted and coiled ropes. She secured sails, checked various points along the masts and finally set about checking the sails.

Eydis paused to head to the deck and get a drink of water. She perched out of the way of the bustling crew. Things always seemed busier, more of a controlled chaos and louder than up top. The rigger eagerly climbed back up to her perch.

She took a deep breath of the air. Eyes looked out at the vast sea. It was blue and clear, she felt at home. The only thing that would make it better would be her brothers on the deck below. Eydis knew she would see Yannick again soon, with the Obsidian Star working with the Jade Moon it was inevitable that the siblings would get to see each more than they had since they were both young children.

Eydis sat on the mast and thought of home. She looked up as the call went out that land was near. She stood on the mast and walked until she could get to a point in the ropes to lower herself down. Eydis stopped herself halfway and watched the preparations.

Rations were loaded and a firearm readied for the soon to be marooned man. John was brought up and Eydis couldn’t help but steal a glance at the new sailing master. The woman seemed to be doing her best not to let her husband and former ‘owner’ rattle her.

Most of the crew was silent, some whispered amongst themselves but overall it was a silent wall that met John as he moved across the deck.

Gareth delivered the verdict to the man. Eydis found herself respecting her captain even more than she already had for the way he was handling this entire situation. A lesser man would have reacted with rash actions and bold statements. Not Gareth. He let the crew decide the man’s fate, gave him rations and even a bullet should he wish to find his death in that way.

The rowboat casted off and some of the crew went back to work, others watched. Eydis kept her eyes on the boat. She could help but shake her head as the man lay in the surf for a time before finally getting to his feet. She did not believe he would survive long. If the stories were true, the man hadn’t done any hard work in ages and by the look of him she thought his body might give out if his mind didn’t first.

Eydis didn’t bother watching him as he finally disappeared into the foliage of the island. She spotted Pavati at the rail but the woman looked intent and Eydis did not wish to interrupt her. Climbing she began to double check the ropes and knots, readying more coils in case they were needed.

The boat altered its course just a little. The next place they would stop would be the pirate’s hideout. Until then Eydis busied herself in the ropes.