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A Letter of Marque

Continent of Drumin

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a part of A Letter of Marque, by varxint.

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varxint holds sovereignty over Continent of Drumin, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Continent of Drumin is a part of A Letter of Marque.

17 Characters Here

Edusrt van der Zaal [51] Master Gunner, grand practitioner of the art of gunnery, amateur gunsmith and lover of gunpowder
Pavati [48] Sailing Master
Gareth Fletcher [46] Captain of the Obsidian Star.
Kaitsu Hoin [45] A strict taskmaster of a Bo'sun but otherwise an ok person. She dislikes speaking to others but generally has no problem with letting her swords do the talking.
Shaafir Malik "Finch" [37] Gifted carpenter and reluctant surgeon
Catalina Austerlitz [26] Recently homeless, cross dressing teen with a personal vendetta regarding pirates.
Jemsen Austerlitz [25] Recently homeless, though highly observant teen with dockside savvy.
Henry Smart [20] Jack of Swords
Maxime Laurent [16] Topsman on the Obsidian star. An accomplished knife fighter.

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1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leland
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Leland watched the sailors approach impassively. His face was blank but his eyes were darting, missing nothing. He briefly debated how to deal with this new predicament. He doubted he could fool them too much, but did it really matter? Most likely they would merely call him an odd duck and avoid him, and if worse came to worse Leland was confident he could dump them over the side without causing much of an uproar. He sighed internally, I guess I am winging it, like always.

“Ah, good man. Staying on the job while the rest enjoy themselves some. But, you do know the ship won’t need guiding until morning? A little nip won’t hurt no one would it?”

Leland was silent for an uncomfortably long time, but he adopted a scowl on his face. "Aye, you be right on that count. Thanks for the bottle o' swill, lads." Leland took the proffered bottle and made a show of taking a big swig, while not actually drinking anything. A skill that often came in handy during his line of work. He handed the bottle back to the sailor, returning the grimace to his face. "Ahhhh, that be the stuff. Tell me lads, what does one do for a spot o' fun 'round these parts?"

Out of pure habit Leland assessed the situation. He realized there was one too many to catch them all by surprise. He swayed a little, as if the drink had effected him, putting all his weight on his right foot. If things went sour that was the way he had to go. Never hurt anyone to be cautious. Suddenly Leland heard a commotion in the rigging and looked up, making sure to keep the sailors in the periphery of his vision. "Well lookee there lads, 'tis not something you see everyday."

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Ryota Tsukuda
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"I am Kaitsu, of the Hoin clan." She replied briskly. The sake tasted poignant on her tongue in a bitter sort of way. "You could say that, I suppose. It could also be said that I despise waste." She punctuated this with a quick movement, laying a card of her own down, picking one up from the pile then matching that one with another, bringing the two cards to her side. The first points of the game.

It hadn't been the best she could do, but she was never one to reveal her hand, figuratively or literally, as soon as she met someone.

10 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Leland Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent Character Portrait: Ryota Tsukuda
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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.

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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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.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Niels De Groot
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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!"

15 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Leland Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent

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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.

8 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Aengus MAhery
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Rum was the drink of the devil, Catalina decided as she stood hugging the rail with her stomach just beginning to stop rolling. She’d awoken about an hour before sunrise to empty the contents of her stomach, and hadn’t been able to get back to sleep since. This was hardly Cat’s first time drinking alcohol, as she’d been to her fair share of captain’s dinner parties her father had hosted, and there was always wine served with dinner there. A glass of spiced wine, and several pulls of hard rum however, were entirely different beasts, as she’d learned last night. She would have avoided the stuff altogether, if not for the rather insistent group of sailors she and Jem had run into that had insisted upon drinking with them. Something about becoming men or some such nonsense. Jem had just laughed and played along, much to her disapproval, but then he was also much better at holding his liquor. Cat’s head had been swimming by the fourth pull from the rum flask, and thankfully, they’d allowed her to pass out in peace over by the stock barrels.

Cat was glad that she was at least conscious when the captain began giving her orders along with Jem, who satisfyingly seemed to have a bad hangover. They rushed off quickly enough to fulfill his orders with a quick; “Aye Captain!”, before Cat called cheekily to her brother. “I’ve got the crew!” Which encited a groan from her brother. The last place he wanted to be with his stomach rolling was the brig, with that smelly oaf Loitering and any of the filth he’d managed to accumulate during his stay.

“Try not to add to the smell down there Jem!” Cat called, feeling better by the second, while Jem shot her a petulant look. Being productive, and filled with a sense of purpose, however menial, always made her feel better. Her father had run a tight ship in the famously strict and efficient Demician Naval style, and so down time and inactivity was something that drove Cat crazy. She scurried about the deck, informing the crew of the captain’s orders. When she returned, it was to fetch water for the crew, which she hurried to do. Carefully, so as not to spill any of their precious fresh water, Cat filled the water bucket and snatched the ladle. She barely made it back up on deck in time to watch the drunken slob be presented to the crew for judgment. Lismian women hold grudges, and Catalina had not forgotten his drunken swipe that had ended quite embarrassingly for herself, or most unforgivable, his harsh treatment toward his wife. Even now the dog seemed to foam at the mouth and further damned himself when he caught sight of Pavati. Protective instincts overriding rationality, Catalina stepped between the window of view between the raging man and his wife, sending a rather nasty lip curl his way as they began to drag him back to the brig.

Once he was gone, she turned and headed towards the officers to give them first rations of fresh water, as was only customary by their rank. “I can’t promise its cool, but the water’s clean sirs.” Catalina announced, making her way to Zaal’s side first, and even sparing a grin. She’d gained a new respect for the Demician after yesterday, and though she knew she wouldn’t be able to get close to anyone on the ship, she also couldn’t deny she liked him, and there was nothing stopping her from showing favoritism when she was in a position to do so.

13 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Leland Character Portrait: Niels De Groot Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent

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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?”

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A thin mist made its way through the Archon valleys impossibly thick rain forest. A younger Henry Smart sat high above it all, looking down upon the thick maze of trees. It wasn't long after his first battle; the smell of gunpowder and the sound of men screaming were still fresh in his mind. During the battle it seemed that the forest would be destroyed, falling upon itself in protest to the horror that was happening within it. Looking upon it now it almost seemed like it didn't happen it all. He leaned backed and stared blankly at the now peaceful valley, his thoughts on the destruction that had been done within it. A voice broke his thoughts, “Tell me son, what do you see”? Henry looked upon the land and then up at the voice, it belonged to General Cheade. All he saw were the dead bodies of his new friends and comrades lying on the jungle floor. The look of hatred in the enemies’ eyes as his sword drained them of life. But Henry was a soldier and a soldier did not have the luxury of such thoughts, so he simply said “Victory”. Cheade nodded his head and walked back down the hill leaving Henry Smart to his thoughts and the dead.

Henry woke up, his head pounding; hand tightly grasping his father’s leg. He took slow deep breaths to calm himself. “ Didn't drink enough last night” he muttered to himself. The former evening was eventful, though Henry played only a small part in the events. He then remembered it; the boxing match he arranged between himself and Stockdale for today. Henry squeezed his eyes shut, in more of an effort to subdue to his headache then remember anything. It was sometime after the scuffle in the rigging's. The marines were nursing their wounded prides and talk about a fight to restore the spirits and pride of the marines was in the air. With Stockdale as the first contender, only Henry was drunk and stupid enough to rise up to the challenge. He sighed; today was going to be a long day.

Putting on his coat, hat, and adjusting his gun belt; Henry made his way up to the deck. The sight that greeted him was not an all unpleasant one. John the ex-navigator looked to be having a terrible time. He was being aired out so to speak, in front of the crew. The best part, thought Henry, is that he looks quite sober. Henry adjusted his hat, trying to keep some of the suns harsh rays out of his own face while he mulled over the speech that his captain had given. It dawned on him that he had to be one of a few crew members with a decent idea on the whole situation. After all, the boatswain did give him some information on it. “Perhaps I should volunteer to cast judgement” he muttered to himself. “I did carry out judgement more than once while in the army, and a few times since” he chuckled. He would talk to his fellow crew members and propose the idea to them. Stockdale would have to wait.

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Petro Aksakov Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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#, as written by varxint
Gareth finished updating his logs and sat back. The logbook was a part of the role that he really enjoyed. Being forced to recapture the details of the ship was a good way to ensure he kept on top of things. As well, it gave him time alone to focus for the coming day. This day being even more eventful than most.

He remembered speaking with Olivia about the crewman aboard her ship. Olivia didn’t know the man that well as he was a carry over from the Jade Moon’s previous incarnation as a ship in the Queen’s navy. When the Queen created the privateers to hunt down the pirates she chose a few existing ships and had new ships built in their likeness. This is how each set of sister ships were paired and readied to sail. The existing crews were allowed to reenlist or move on to other crew or careers as they desired. One of the crew members that signed up with Olivia, Petro was his name, Gareth reminded himself, was more than he appeared. Gareth, while doing his prep work for the crew of his ship had not spent a lot of time on Olivia’s crew. Only recently did he start going over the list on the Moon.

Petro stood out. A name Gareth could recall from the past. A little more research and a few strategic questions around the Moon’s former crew and Gareth discovered that Petro was a bit of a medical expert. Gareth thought that having someone around to back up Finch, especially as battle approached, would be a good idea. With that in mind, and knowing that Olivia had already filled in her medical requirements, not knowing that Petro had those skills to offer, Gareth approached her to make a swap. With some friendly negotiating a deal was made. Petro should have come over this morning before the ships separated.

Gareth went to the door of his quarters and opened it. Looking around the deck he waved Finch over and spied the new man looking around, getting used to the Star’s layout. He shouted Petro’s name and waved him over as well.

Once both men were in his quarters Gareth explained the situation as he knew it.

“And so, Finch, Petro, I hope that you two won’t have a problem working together. I think a little extra medical support will help Finch in his dual duties as carpenter and physician. Petro, having Finch around to help with the language, considering Finch also had his own learning he went through, might help you too,” Gareth finished.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to welcome you aboard Petro and introduce the two of you. With the upcoming battle I suspect there will be work enough for both of you, but for now please take the opportunity to get to know how one another works and meet the rest of the crew and ship.”

*

After Gareth’s request to have a crew spokesperson Jill looked around. Various crew were chatting in small groups. The officers seemed to be busy getting their areas in shape. Jill knew, as an ex-pirate, that she would not be a welcome option for spokesperson and she was fine with that. However, it didn’t mean she couldn’t poll other marines within her squad. She spent some time wandering and getting the feel of how the crew felt.

While polling the marines Jill noticed a new man aboard, only to see him and Finch get called into Gareth’s quarters. She also saw Max and Pavati had their own talk. She shrugged, more officer talk. She was more concerned with getting the marines and sailors heard.

The crew that Jill had talked to all seemed to agree on one thing, John had not made any friends aboard. Though none had been witness to the threats, Jill was able to speak to that herself. Adding what she had seen to what the other crew members feelings were Jill knew a guilty verdict would not be unwelcome. Seeing an officer brought to heel because of his behaviour went a long way with the enlisted crew as well. They now had the sense that Gareth would not abide special treatment for anyone.

Jill spied Henry as he also worked on gathering the crew’s opinion. He seemed quite organized and willing to speak up for his fellows. Jill approached him, “Henry, it seems you’ve been keen on getting the crew heard on this. It looks like the officers are all busy with their own thing right now. From the crew I’ve talked to, a guilty verdict is all but assumed. Have you heard the same? And, how do you feel about approaching cap’n Fletcher with said verdict?”

*

Max nodded at Gareth’s call for judgement. He thought briefly about volunteering for the role, but then spied Pavati in his peripheral vision. He saw the confidence slightly fade as John spewed his hate at her. Max noted the sense of relief on Pavati’s face as the cabin boy imposed himself defiantly between the two. As John was escorted away and the cabin boy returned to his duties Max finally noticed the note and blade in Pavati’s hand. Max grinned and smoothly glided over to their new sailing master.

“Ah madame, you have discovered my gift. Magnifique,” Max looked her over. The dress suited her but seemed less than ideal for the circumstances. Her injured arm also seemed to still be giving her some pain. Added to that she stood uncomfortably, fighting the sway of the ship rather than gently flowing with it as Max did.

“I can see now may not be the best time to start lessons on how best to wield the blade. Not to worry. You will develop those sea legs in no time. That arm will be a hindrance to climbing for a while yet. But I can teach you to fight one handed, which might be a benefit in certain circumstances anyway. Imagine having to swing on a rope and defend yourself. I have done just that. So, let us use your injury to your advantage, oui?”

Max raised an eyebrow and with a friendly, amused tone, said, “Fighting in a dress might be unusual though. I wonder, with the brute epaisse now confined are you lacking sailing garments? While you look lovely in your chosen outfit, there are winds to be had at sea that might reveal more than you intend. I have mended many a sail in my time and could provide implements to create a new wardrobe and even provide instruction if sewing is skill you have yet to practice?”

Maxime remained in an open and friendly pose while talking with Pavati. He was careful not to crowd her too much given her reaction to John and her apparent nervousness finding her place among the officers.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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She felt alone despite the milling about of the crew around her. Everyone seemed busy. Pavati remained frozen in her spot, indecision keeping her stuck.

A man appeared in front of her. He did not crowd her but was clearly referring to her. She blinked at him. “Gift?”

Pavati looked down at her hands. She held the knife and note still. “You?” She gave him a questioning look.

He kept talking and Pavati stood there listening, unsure of what to do. She wanted to hand him back the knife, thank him for the gift and be done with it but he kept talking and she didn’t know how to get him to stop.

She nodded dumbly as he talked of her getting her sea legs and climbing. Where was she climbing to? She held the knife out a little hoping he would take it from her but he kept going.

”Swing on a rope? Is he out of it?” He didn’t seem drunk. ”My arm to my advantage?”

Her eyes dropped to her dress in confusion. ”Fight? Epaisse?” The more he talked the more confused Pavati became. She simply wanted to give him back the knife and thank him for the offer.

Her eyes widen, her good hand instinctively checking her dress to ensure nothing intimate was showing. She hadn’t considered that when she put it on, she just didn’t want to wear John’s clothes any longer.

Her heart was pounding as she tried to figure out what to say to the man. He had finally paused and now she found herself without the words to say anything.

“Your knife. Thank you but...” Pavati held it out to him. “I cannot. I am not allowed a weapon.”

Perhaps he did not understand what would happen to her if she was caught with a weapon. She was native and property. She stepped one step closer to him and wobbled. Pavati did her best to hold onto the knife with her bad hand. “I will be arrested for having it.”

She inhaled slowly and on the exhale her words came out in a long stream as if fearing that if she did not say it quickly she would not be given the time. “I appreciate it but cannot accept and all of my clothing items were John’s. Things are too big and I do not have a needle and thread to take them in and I cannot with my damaged arm and I am sorry to offend in anyway.”

Pavati was breathing slightly heavy as she got the last words out. Again she held the knife towards him, her eyes wide with trepidation.

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He stood to the side, out of the way of all the busyness of the day, as his eyes scanned over the Star's deck. When he'd woken that morning on the Jade Moon Petro had been told to report to its sister ship the Star for his new orders. It seemed he'd be moved again and while he'd of course do so without complaint, there wasn't much he could do about it anyway, he still felt a heaviness in his chest at yet another change in crew. While most seafarers were always looking for change and chasing the horizon, Petro was quite satisfied to stay in one place and yearned for his home on solid ground. His heart wasn't with the sea, it was back home at Isong with his daughter and he felt the more he changed and moved the further away from Lidiya he became. He heaved a sigh and shoved his hand into his shirt pocket, fingering the locket that his daughter had given him. Well, always make the best of a situation right? Before he could begin looking about the ship anymore he heard his name distinctly being called and he turned to see the captain ushering him over. Petro obediently walked into his quarters were another man waited as well.

The captain instantly went into an explanation of the new orders and Petro did his best to keep up with the quick speech. His eyes were focused as he listened intently until he heard the word Finch. Finch? Wasn't that a bird? He thought the captain said he was going to be working medically but was he going to be working on birds? Well, he did like birds but he didn't know much about how to take care of them. Oh wait, no Finch was this fellow's name! Oh that's it! Wait, what is the captain saying?

"I wanted to have the opportunity to welcome you aboard Petro and introduce the two of you. With the upcoming battle I suspect there will be work enough for both of you, but for now please take the opportunity to get to know how one another works and meet the rest of the crew and ship.”

Petro realized he'd been lost yet again so took up his usual smile and nod routine. "Ya, ya, thanks much Captain." He nodded to him and looked to Finch with a smile, clapping a heavy hand on his shoulder. "Good meet you! Yes!" That was right wasn't it? He was hoping to get to know the crew, especially this Finch man he was suppose to be working with now. Petro of course instantly wondered where the man received his many scars but that wasn't an appropriate question to ask but he was curious if Finch had a history fighting like he did. "Go out to see?" He asked slowly, unsure if he was forming the question of going back out on deck correctly. Giving a bow to the Captain, he turned and walked out of the quarters, hoping Finch would follow to show him about and introduce him to others.

From first glance he could see several women on deck which surprised him. It wasn't that he didn't think women weren't capable of being sailors but most women back home held domestic titles, then the pirate crew he served upon had no women members, the previous Moon crew had no women on board so his first contact with a female sailor had been the Captain of the new mandated Moon. He'd be lying if he said he didn't worry more for the woman on board, especially after seeing what many of the pirates would do to women they kidnapped. Petro waited on deck and observed the crew, smiling at any who made eye contact with him as they milled about, subconsciously he reached up and pulled his collar a bit higher in an attempt to hide the serpent tattoo on his neck.

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Petro Aksakov Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher
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#, as written by ElRey
Despite only a few moons passing since he had boarded, already the days had begun to blend together. Finch kept to himself, making note of needed improvements, repairing the broken latch to Pavati's door, staying careful not to alarm her in the wee hours which he felt he did his best work, busying himself with other small tasks aboard the Star. In truth it was the relative peace of the ocean and general levity aboard the vessel which had been driving the quiet carpenter mad. He felt himself growing restless, in spite of logic, wishing that unexpected action would rear its ugly head and give him something to practice on. Shaafir simply wasn't used to these kind of conditions, with perhaps the exception of John, he had never experienced any undertaking running so smoothly. Even in childhood the simply act of catching a meal would often lead to internal conflict, the elder tribesmen arguing tactics and fighting for their direction to be taken. It was clear that this mission held a deeper meaning to each sailor involved, each unwilling to rock the proverbial boat in the face of their monumental task.

How fitting, the dark skinned man mused, that it would be a chance to relax in peace & quiet which would put him on edge far more than any battle or crisis would.

Absentmindedly he rubbed the back of his neck in an attempt to stifle the hairs which pricked up on its surface. It was like the calm before a storm, there would be much death and hardship on this journey, he could feel it in his bones. Shaafir had his suspicions that their planned raid on Bailey's Cove wasn't entirely necessary; The Hangman and its crew were legendary in their ability to avoid pursuit and dictate misdirections to the other side, setting up shop at Bailey's Cove would be an obvious misstep. However, Finch had a hearty respect for Gareth's command, it was likely, the Ergolysian figured, that their captain was using the opportunity to establish team work and trust among their crew. There were few things that could spell the end of a ship and her crew quicker than a lack of belief in the man next to them & all the talent in the world would be hard pressed to fight a battle alone. So he had kept silent.

On this morning he found himself mulling over what fate had in store for them in the coming months, staring out at the gentle lull of the ocean running his immense rough hands rhythmically against the smooth wood of a banister. While the others busied themselves with John's punishment, the carpenter stayed well out of sight of both Pavati and her husband, knowing full well that his input was unneeded with the entire lot scrambling to put forth their two-cents.

One must stand on their own two feet in order to overcome that which they fear most, he reminded himself. Despite his constant urge to shelter the woman from whatever hardships, however small, were thrown her way, experience had taught him that it would simply bring more harm than hurt in the long term.

As the sun slowly reached it's peak Finch had little doubt that he would be called upon soon, his skills being more than necessary in the coming attacks. As if on cue his practiced peripheral's picked up on the form of his captain waving him into the captain's quarters. Taking a moment to suck down a deep breath, Shaafir covered the deck, pushing his way through the mob which continued to argue over John's fate and approached. More surprising was the equally timed approach of another towering sailor, the coiling black snake on his neck an unwanted calling card aboard their vessel. Instinctually Shaafir slowed his pace, allowing the man to pass ahead of him, a sign of respect and precaution to a potential foe on the part of the ever-careful Ergolysian.

Gareth wasted no time, explaining that The Jade Moon had brought in a renowned surgeon of their own, his instruction was that the duo work together as much as possible, in hopes of bringing this Petro fellow up to speed regarding both talent and language. Shaafir's inquisitive stare remained deadlocked on the other sailor, who held a glazed look in his eye, clearly using the grinning and nodding as a way to placate those he did not understand. It was a tactic Shaafir had used much of his youth, though coupled with the tattoo on the man's neck he suspected not born out of the same necessity.

Briefly, the man matched Shaafir's gaze, a wide grin spreading across his features as he clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Good meet you! Yes!" Petro beamed.

"Lei'tru medih." He replied coldly, shrugging off the man's touch. "This one will obey, Captain." Making sure to display a tone which conveyed his distrust of their newest member.

"Go out to see?" the surgeon offered warmly, still grinning as he walked out of the room. Pausing only to give a formal nod to Gareth, Finch followed, only to watch as the man pulled his collar up over his tattoo, clearly wishing it away.

"Kikdi." Shaafir stated as he approached the man from behind. "Heimji. Telote zi fashur." Quickly his chocolate eyes rolled, realizing the language barrier between the two would be even greater should be find himself unable to break the habit of his vernacular. "Snake." He corrected, pointing at the tattoo. "Behave. This one will be watching."

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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#, as written by varxint
Maxime chuckled lightly, “Mon dieu, I have overwhelmed the lady, non? My apologies madame. I will take it a little slower, oui?”

He made no move to accept the proffered knife. Purposefully obtuse to her attempts to return it to him. Max had no intent to take it back. He thought the best way to get that through her head would be to not even acknowledge her effort to return it.

“Now, you mention arrest. By whom do you think you will be arrested? I will explain the laws on this ship. Captain Fletcher decides he likes something, it is legal. He decides he doesn’t like something it is illegal. We are to go along with the Captain’s decrees or we are welcome to leave the ship at any time.” Max indicated the wide open sea to illustrate the point.

“The only law here is Gareth’s law. If he thinks it is wrong for his sailing master to be armed and able to defend herself then I shall swear off wine, women and sails for the rest of my life.” He winked and grinned.

“You are no longer in your previous life. It no longer holds sway over you here. You will be treated the same as any other officer and will be expected to deliver just as any other officer. All the crew on this ship can defend themselves in a tight spot. You will be expected to do the same. Gareth would rather know you can take care of yourself rather than having to worry about protecting you from the scum and pirates we will be meeting. I have the time to teach. A knife is a good place to start. Once you have become competent with the blade there are many who will be more than happy to teach you the fine art of powder.” Max nodded to where Zaal stood, “And the captain himself is no slouch with a firearm.”

Max smiled again and reached up to his bandana, he pull a larger needle from the folds, “Now, to a less violent pursuit. This needle is more suited to sails, but it might help start you off. That knife is sharp enough to cut cloth,” from his pocket Max withdrew a ball of thick thread, “And this might not be suited for finer work of women’s clothes but you are welcome to it.”

Max shrugged, “As for your arm, I can help. Eidys is not incapable, if someone of your own gender is needed to do some more intimate adjustments. I have finer tools in the crow’s nest. Harder to carry small needles and thread without losing them while swinging around up there.” He looked up to the rigging and the back to Pavati.

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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Pavati did not know what to do. Maxime did not take the knife and she wondered for a moment if she had not been clear. He tossed in words from a language she did not understand, perhaps he did not understand what she meant when she said she could not accept the knife.

Her eyes looked around, hoping to find someone to help her. Finch, the dark skinned man who had help her and splinted her arm was with another man she did not recognize. All the others she knew as officers were busy. Her mouth set itself into a straight line.

He was chuckling at her and it irked her just a little. Pavati frowned in frustration.

“Now, you mention arrest. By whom do you think you will be arrested? I will explain the laws on this ship. Captain Fletcher decides he likes something, it is legal. He decides he doesn’t like something it is illegal. We are to go along with the Captain’s decrees or we are welcome to leave the ship at any time.”

The captain would decide if she was arrested or not? Pavati followed Maxime’s gaze to the water and then looked back at him. She didn’t quite understand. She knew that Gareth was the one who ordered John arrested and the quarters searched but surely it was different for her?

“The only law here is Gareth’s law. If he thinks it is wrong for his sailing master to be armed and able to defend herself then I shall swear off wine, women and sails for the rest of my life.”

Pavati paled just a little. He reminded her that Gareth had named her sailing master. She had a job, a title. Fear and panic gripped her chest. She also wasn’t quite sure what the full meaning was of all of this. Armed and defend? These were things Pavati understood but not in the concept of herself. She was banned from those things on land, punishment was servere for a native who was found armed or who fought back.

“You are no longer in your previous life. It no longer holds sway over you here. You will be treated the same as any other officer and will be expected to deliver just as any other officer. All the crew on this ship can defend themselves in a tight spot. You will be expected to do the same. Gareth would rather know you can take care of yourself rather than having to worry about protecting you from the scum and pirates we will be meeting. I have the time to teach. A knife is a good place to start. Once you have become competent with the blade there are many who will be more than happy to teach you the fine art of powder.”

Realization dawned slowly. He was not lying to her. She was an officer now and there were expectations beyond just mapping out the course. They were going to fight pirates, there would be danger aboard and off of the ship. Pavati glanced at the knife. For the first time in her life it would be acceptable to defend herself. "Me. I can defend myself." It was a slightly overwhelming feeling. Her eyes darted back up to Maxime as he mentioned powder. Her head turned to look at Zaal as well. Would they really teach her to shoot a firearm?

Pavati didn’t know what to say and Maxime didn’t seem inclined to let her get a word in as he handed her a large needle and then produced a bundle of thread.

She blushed slightly and looked away as he mentioned adjusting intimate garments. She honestly did not know what to make of the man or the things he was offering her. She did not know who Eydis was but assumed she was a female crew member.

Maxime seemed to pause again and Pavati opened her mouth slightly. She did not know what to say and promptly shut it again frowning. All this freedom and expectations was overwhelming. Her eyes dropped and she felt tears forming. They burned as she grew angry with herself for being so weak.

Her hand clenched around the knife. She would not let John’s treatment of her take away the fire that still burned in her soul.

“I..I will learn. To fight.” She straightened her back. “Thank you.” She gave him a nod. Pavati eyed the needle. “I cannot do that alone right now. I need....” She paused. “I will need help.”

There was still a great deal of trepidation in her and her tone gave hints of it to the man. If it was true that Gareth’s word was law, than here she would be safe. Here she could earn respect and gain courage. It would not be easy for her.

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Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Leland
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Leland stood stock still on the deck, observing everything. But none of it is very interesting. Without thinking he began to tap his foot in annoyance. He had been manning his post as the sun came up, but now the day was dragging on with no progress towards encountering pirates. Leland's hand strayed to his chest where the Queen's letter was sewn into his cloths. He didn't like delays, but there didn't seem to be anything for it. If he gutted the ex-sailing master now it would only delay things further.

Leland watched the new sailing master to pass the time. Now that she was free of her oppressor she seemed even more timid. Curious. As long as she could do her job, Leland cared not how she conducted herself. However he doubted she could do even that, to look at her. Time enough to deal with that if it became a problem. Leland's eye was caught by a flash of red and he observed the ex-pirate marine with fascination. He wondered for the umpteenth time if she still had contacts with her previous comrades, but the risk seemed too great. For now Leland would just observe.

Just then the captain called two men into his quarters. Leland recognized one as the ship's doctor, but the other must have come from the Jade Moon. Very curious. It was getting harder and harder to observe the door. The crew was becoming heated over the matter of the sentencing. Leland had been waving away or outright ignoring attempts to get his opinion on the matter. Yet one marine wasn't having any of it. He grabbed Leland by the shoulder and spun him around shouting, "Oy! You listening ta me? I asked you a question." Quicker than the sailor could react Leland broke his grip on his shoulder and grabbed the man around the neck. He looked him right in the eyes and spoke in a calm and even tone that seemed out of place. "I'd kill 'em." The man quailed back, but Leland had already turned away. He returned to his post at the helm, and began to drum his fingers on the wheel, his face a blank slate.

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Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart
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The scene was all too familiar to Henry. The individual in question was in chains; looking like this was the worst day in his life, it most likely was. In this state it seemed they have learned their lesson, they seemed totally defeated. Henry has passed judgement many times and some had been more difficult than others. John’s treatment of his wife had, in Henry's mind, already made his fate obvious; the navigators’ treachery and incompetence had just sealed his fate in the eyes of the law.
The crew for the most part, trusted their captain and his decision to cast down the navigator. It was the form of punishment that they split on.

As he was gathering his crew mate’s opinions, Henry noticed a familiar face making its way towards him. It was the redheaded marine Jillian.

“Henry, it seems you've been keen on getting the crew heard on this. It looks like the officers are all busy with their own thing right now. From the crew I've talked to, a guilty verdict is all but assumed. Have you heard the same? And, how do you feel about approaching cap’n Fletcher with said verdict?”

Henry adjusted his hat and gave the matter a thought. The request seemed official enough so Fletcher seemed to have no problem with Henry speaking for the crew.

“I’d be honored miss, I've spoken with the majority of the crew but I would I like to get your opinion on the matter before I go present my findings to the captain.”

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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Jillian nodded to Henry, "Good to hear. I was hoping you had the rest of the crew's take on this. My opinion isn't worth the breath I use to give it to most on his ship. Interesting you should ask. However, since you did, I will give it. Lotering is a simple disgrace. If there is a redeeming quality about him it's that he's not smart enough to hide his failings well. Which just makes it easier for us to rid ourselves of this curse before he can do any real damage. I would judge him guilty and good riddance."

Jillian nearly spat with disgust. She stood back and gave Henry a path though the captian's quarters, "If the suffices, let's get this taken care of. The sooner that man's smell is off this ship the happier I'll be."

*

Maxime smiled a large and friendly smile as Pavati hesitantly accepted his offer, "Magnifique madame! I will ensure you have appropriate assistance."

Maxime looked into the rigging and gave a loud whistle, followed by a bellowed order, "Eydis! Viens ici!"

He turned back to Pavati, "Eydis is a trusted rigger. I know she will assist you well. When she has made with you appropriate fighting clothes, we will train. Oui?"

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Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher
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Henry smiled and nodded in agreement with Jillian’s words, “Aye, John did not make many, if any, friends while on board. I’ll go up and see the cap’n now then.”

Making his way to Captain Fletcher’s cabin, Henry noticed the ship’s doctor Finch and a tall stranger exiting the cabin. He paused in front of the door, adjusting his hat before knocking.

“Who is it?”

“Henry Smart captain, I’m here to present the crews verdict on the ex-navigator John. “

“Come in”

Henry pushed open the door and walked into the dimly lit room. He took a moment to let his eyes adjust before talking.

“I won’t waste your time sir; the crew trusts your decision to strip the navigator of his command. But, we must discuss the delicate matter of his fate now that he’s been relieved of said command. Execution is out of the question for obvious reasons; taking him to the queen’s court would be a lengthy process, and frankly he is not worth the time. I suggest we leave him on the nearest habitable island and call it a day.”

Henry eyes never left the Captains as he went on, looking for any objection.

“Exiling him from this ship is well in your authority in the eyes of the queen’s court, so you will receive no problems when we return without him. It will also lessen the turmoil caused by his sudden departure; I hope this suggestion satisfies you sir.”

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Maxime Laurent
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He was smiling and despite her tentativeness Pavati actually found herself feeling better. The man’s smile was oddly comforting. He called for someone and Pavati frowned. ”Now? He is getting me help now?”

She shook her head, just a little in an attempt to signal to him that she did not mean now, that when there was time, when she wasn’t bothering anyone. Maxime was not paying her any attention as he looked up and another woman began to climb down.

Pavati’s eyes glanced around her watching for the person he summoned and the reactions of the others. She did not want a lot of attention paid to her and thankfully they all seemed preoccupied and uncaring.
---
Eydis had finished her conversation with Niels and climbed up the rigging as she mulled over what he had told her of John and what had happened. She had not liked the man before and he certainly was not in her favour now. She would have no issue with the man being sent overboard, in a boat or otherwise.

The Demacian woman sat on a cross beam and looked out over the water. ”Lovely day for a marooning and a good fight.” She smiled to herself and began to coil a length of rope.

"Eydis! Viens ici!"

Eydis looked down immediately at the sound of Maxime’s voice. “Aye!”

The lithe woman scaled the ropes down to the deck, landing gently and lightly beside Maxime. Her eyes looked at Pavati for a moment before Eydis looked back at Maxime. “What can I do for you?”

The other woman looked frightened. ”No, not frightened but very, very unsure.” Eydis couldn’t help but note that unlike other times the drunk’s wife, if one would dare inflict such a title on the poor woman, was wearing a dress and not men’s oversized clothes. Eydis found herself smiling at the woman’s backbone.

"Ah, Eydis, bien. Our new sailing master desires clothing that befits her station. Until the captain sets course would you be so kind as to assist her alterations?" Max looked sympathetically at Pavati's injured arm.

Eydis looked at Pavati. “Ah. I see.” She nodded. “Of course, I am decent with a needle and thread. We can make what you have work until we dock and you can purchase some proper fitting articles.” She offered the woman a smile.

Pavati watched the two sailors discuss her need for clothing. They were being friendly but Pavati gritted her teeth, fearing they did so out of pity.

”Only until I can use my arm.” Her tone was mildly standoffish.

Eydis’ eyebrows raised as the woman spoke. “Of course I am sure Maxime wouldn’t have asked me to help if you were not restricted as you are.” She looked to Maxime for help.

"Madame, no need to rush your healing. It is a ship. On the ship we are all helpful, or the ship, she finds herself lost or sunk, oui? We mean no insult to your ability nor do we expect repayment. We are crewmates. We do for each other what family does." Maxime continued his friendly smile.

Eydis nodded slowly, hoping that woman would understand. Pavati stood and simply stared at the pair. She did not understand.

Eydis looked at Maxime, her face mirroring the confusion in Pavati’s. “We help when it is needed. I will help you now and maybe at some point I will need your help.”

“Like a trade. I can understand that. Yes.” Pavati was still confused. They talked about no repayment and family. She wanted to laugh that no family she had known had been like that.

Eydis’ eyes fell on the splint. She worried her lower lip. “Sort of like a trade but no expectation of return is there. Come, we will talk more in your cabin. You can show me what needs mending.”

Eydis was young but she was smart enough to know that this was not a conversation for the open dock and all prying ears. She turned to Maxime. “I will see to it.”

Max nodded at them both, "We will meet soon for the knife lesson."

Eydis raised and eyebrow and nodded appreciatively at Pavati. “Oh he is a good teacher, you are smart to learn from him.” She stepped closer to the native woman. “Show me?”

Pavati looked at Maxime. She nodded meekly. There was no arguing with him and he was right, she needed to know so that she could be a part of the crew and not a liability to Gareth or anyone.

Pavati turned and carefully made her way to her cabin with Eydis. She was happy she had taken the time to clean and organize it, to make it her own. “This is my cabin.”

Eydis picked up the hint of pride in the woman’s voice as she closed the door and blocked out the rest of the crew. It made Eydis smile.

The two women talked, clothes were looked at and discussion about how to tailor them led to a preliminary “get to know you” conversation. Pavati was hesitant to share but Eydis didn’t push.

By the time they exited, wishing to be present when the verdict was passed, both women felt that they would work well together. Pavati felt comfortable, though she did not share a great deal with the young woman it was simply nice to have someone talk to her as a person. She found it new and different but pleasant. She would learn.

Eydis climbed back into the ropes, giving Pavati a nod as she did so. The native woman chanced a polite smile as she watched her climb the ropes in an entirely impossible nimble fashion.

Pavait stood once again by Zaal and looked for Shaafir. She had seen him earlier and wished to finally thank him for the splint. At the same time, she tried to ready herself for John’s reappearance and sentencing. Would he yell at her, lash out in a vain attempt to take her down one last time with him? What if the crew decided not to do anything but allow him to remain aboard?

Pavati’s throat went dry. Gareth’s word was law Maxime had said. Everything she had seen and heard, despite what little it was, of his crew spoke of people who shared his character. They couldn’t possibly let someone like John stay. She only hoped it wasn’t her own anger and desire to see him gone clouding her perception of the situation.

Up in the ropes, Eydis sat and pondered the strange native woman who had found herself now among the crew and not just a man's property. It would be hard for her but Eydis hoped she would get used to it and vowed to do what she could to help. She did not like the fear that seemed ever present in the woman's eyes.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher
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Gareth watched Henry as he summed up the decision of the crew. He nodded slightly then stood, “Thank you Mr. Smart. This is a very satisfactory outcome of an unsatisfying situation.”

He stepped around his desk and allowed Henry to step out of his quarters first, following behind. As he exited the crew paused. There was a definite feel of anticipation in the air. This was their first challenge as a crew and most were very interested, either to get it over with, or to determine how their captain would put closure on it. Gareth stepped into a position where the majority of the ship could clearly see and hear him.

“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.”

*

The trip to the island was smooth and calm. The day brought clear skies, a wind that was not difficult to catch, and a bright, warm sun. Many of the crew were ‘cured’ of their hangovers quickly with the honest work and generous water supplies. Gareth spent time walking the stations and chatting with the crewmembers as he passed. With nothing to command while a calm course was followed, he took the time to just be available to anyone who wanted to talk.

Finally, just less than two hours after setting course, the island came into view. It was a small island as the edges could clearly be seen almost three quarters the way around it. There was evidence of wildlife, clean water and leafy shelter from the trees. This was not a clear death trap that John was to be left at. However, if he were to survive until the next ship came to him he would have to work harder than he’d ever worked. Gareth was satisfied. If he were to be sending a man to a clear death on a sand pit of an island what was the point of marooning. It would look like he was just being too cowardly to order the deed himself. This is what Gareth wanted. Give the man one last chance to redeem himself by having to want to live a hard working life. If John decided not to, then he had only himself to blame.

Gareth ordered a rowboat to be loaded with a day’s supply of water and rations. Edusrt gave the man a pistol, powder and a bullet. Which was the custom in case John decided to take the coward’s way out himself.

Gareth recruited three marines, one to row, and two to watch John, as an escort to the island. Then he had John brought up from the brig, put in the boat and lowered to the water with his escort.

“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.”

With that Gareth nodded sharply to the marine rowing the boat and watched impassively as it began its trip toward the beach. Ten minutes later the boat gently ran up onto the white, sandy beach and John was shoved roughly off by his escorts and stumbled in the surf. His supplies and weapon were tossed some way away from him and the boat began its trip back. The crew watched as John laid in the surf for a time before he slowly raised himself to his feet. He shook his fist futilely at the ship and stumbled over to his supplies. He gathered them up and wandered into the brush at the edge of the beach. Which was the last the crew saw of him as the rowboat was raised back into position.

Gareth turned his back on the island, “Now, we have a pirate hideout to raid. Prepare yourselves. Helmsman, set course.”

15 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Petro Aksakov Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Leland

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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.

15 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Edusrt van der Zaal Character Portrait: Pavati Character Portrait: Catalina Austerlitz Character Portrait: Shaafir Malik "Finch" Character Portrait: Eydis Lara Armstrong Character Portrait: Jillian Farglow Character Portrait: Henry Smart Character Portrait: Petro Aksakov Character Portrait: Kaitsu Hoin Character Portrait: Gareth Fletcher Character Portrait: Jemsen Austerlitz Character Portrait: Leland

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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.

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