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Evangeline Casper

The Stowaway

0 · 576 views · located in Merrinia

a character in “The Lost Treasure of Arimathea”, as played by thenotsoinnocent

Description

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Pirate Alias || T.B.A.
Age: Twenty-Two
Sexuality: Questioning
Faceclaim: Jessica Parker Kennedy
hexcode: #F54747








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O U T S I D E || ----------------------------------

H E I G H T || 5'2"

W E I G H T || 113 lbs

E Y E S || Hazel

H A I R || Black

O D D I T I E S || Three tiny, round, and brown beauty marks horizontally across the middle of her left wrist.

A P P E A R A N C E ||
Evangeline’s appearance is normally feminine. She has always worn dresses. The dresses always show her womanly figure. Her striking hazel eyes tend to pop out as she wears black eyeliner. Her eyes are striking, but they hold a deep sadness in them. On her right ring finger, she wears a gold ring. Along with her dresses, she wears short black boots with three-inch heels. Her black wavy hair frames her face often. It currently stops a couple of inches below her breasts. She does put her hair up at times, but she always leaves a couple of locks loose. Even though Evangeline may look all soft, but she isn’t. Years of hard work have given her a slender muscular build and callused hands. Currently, Eva has been wearing a light blue dress she created from the best materials. Under the skirts of her dress, she has a boarding ax attached to each thigh.




--------------------------| | I N S I D E
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L I K E S || swimming sewing rainbows exploring tattoos stories birds stars lace pirates affection playing with hair cuddling pillows fairy tales baths butterflies books full moon pretty eyes advice helping

D I S L I K E S || nightmares sleeping alone seeing dead animals jealously pain laziness crying vomit sickness arguements touching spiderwebs controlling people doing nothing abuse blood rudeness threats criticism being woken up feeling cold being ignored judgmental people

Q U I R K S ||
-Always cold
-Daydreams
-Forgives easily
-Playing with hair

F E A R S ||
-Darkness
-Heights
-Being on her own

S T R E N G T H S ||
-- Seamstress: Evangeline can do amazing things with a needle, thread, and some cloth. Her earliest memory is of her sewing. She learned all her skills from her mother. Sewing has come in very handy for Evangeline over the years. It has put money in her pocket, allowed her to help her friends, and let her create beautiful things.
-- Resilient: Surprisingly, Evangeline is amazingly resilient. It seems as if it is deeply rooted into her core. It may be what drives her optimistic nature. The young woman can withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions. Evangeline has dealt with enough death, struggle, and lost combined for this to be known.
-- Swimming: Swimming – After an incident where Valentina threw Evangeline into a lake, she learned to swim. Valentina taught her as they didn’t need Evangeline drowning one day. Evangeline worked hard to learn to swim well. In a few years, she was great at swimming. Evangeline swam in rivers, lakes, and deep into the ocean.

W E A K N E S S E S ||
-- Resting: Trying to get Evangeline to rest is like trying to take a feisty kitten a bath. Evangeline has always had to work, so she doesn’t know how to rest. She only ends up resting if she can’t open her eyes, has little to no energy to move, and or is forced into bed with a cuddle buddy.
-- Sacrificial: If Evangeline has made room for you in her heart, she would sacrifice herself for you. She’d do anything to protect you and keep you from harm’s way. The people in her heart are those she would kill for, even if it meant killing herself. Evangeline is loyal until the end.
-- Friendly: Some may see Evangeline as over friendly, but she wouldn’t think so. She enjoys being affection and warm towards others. Evangeline wouldn’t think twice about hugging or holding a stranger. She would even give them a peck on the cheek. She is just a cheerful person. At times Evangeline will even be playful if she feels comfortable enough. At times she just seems to be filled to the brim with enthusiasm and kindness.






D E E PXD O W N | |--------------------
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| Optimistic - Industrious - Helpful - Polite|

Evangeline inherited her optimistic nature from her father. She is hopeful and confident in the future. Her positive outlook on life is why she allows herself to be daring when it comes to adventures. Evangeline knows there are negatives in life, but she decides to not pay them any mind. She isn’t one to focus on negative things. Since she avoids negativity, she tries to make others see the positives. She enjoys making someone smile or keeping a smile on their face.

She is compassionate, and she doesn’t like others doing unwell. Evangeline wants to make sure those around her are okay. She just can’t help it when she is concerned for others. It is rather easy for her to sympathize with others who may be going though something. Her compassion is what allows Evangeline to forgive so easily. Even though she forgives and will be kind to those who wrong her, she doesn’t forget. She will be less trusting and wary towards them.

Since Evangeline was young, she was industrious. She was inspired to work hard because her parents led by example. Evangeline enjoys working and always takes care to do a good job. When Evangeline isn’t working, she is likely somewhere being helpful. She is always ready to give help, asked or not. Evangeline likes to be useful because it makes her happy.

“Always be polite,” said her mother when she was a child. Despite her travels with Valentina and living in the brothel, she is still polite. If she isn’t sober and or being playful, Evangeline tries to make sure her behavior is respectful and considerate of others. When others are impolite, it does rub her the wrong way. When it comes to inappropriate or adult things, Evangeline gets bashful. She’ll blush and want to hide. If she is comfortable enough with someone, she may have a comeback for them.




---------------------------------------- | | H I S T O R Y
Image Image ImageEvangeline Casper was born Victoria Casper’s twin. The only difference between them were Evangeline’s beauty marks. They developed more differences as they grew older. Evangeline was the good daughter while her twin was the rebel. The girls had been born into a hard-working family. Their mother was a seamstress. Their father took on many odd jobs. One of his more consistent jobs was working for a blacksmith, Edward. He worked for Edward during busy times. Evangeline often helped her father with his jobs. She helped her mother with her work as she had a talent for sewing.

Her father filled his children’s minds with personal stories and fairy tales. Evangeline’s favorite stories were those that involved pirates. The stories and fairy tales stopped when her father died. He had gotten hurt on a job. A few days later, he couldn’t even get out of bed. He had a gotten a terrible fever and nasty infection. Death took him in only a week. His death caused Evangeline to busy herself. She helped Edward. He was desperate for help because her father’s death happened during a busy time. Evangeline worked day and night. If she wasn’t helping Edward, she was helping her mom with her work. It was only a few months later when her mother died by a terrible sickness. Once the twins buried their mother, Victoria disappeared.

She looked for her sister everywhere. Looking for Victoria is how she met Valentina De la Torre. The two women traveled together for two years. They would have traveled together forever if they hadn’t return to where they originally met. When they returned, someone had mistaken Evangeline for Victoria. This is how Evangeline discovered her twin was alive. Valentina and Evangeline parted ways. It didn’t take long to find Victoria. Victoria was working in a popular brothel.

It wasn’t hard for Evangeline to find work in town again. Edward hired her. His business had grown and he needed a pair of permanent second hands. Evangeline even got jobs from the brothel since she visited Victoria daily. She usually made and fixed dresses for the girls there. The Madam gave her odd jobs as well. The odd jobs were mostly cleaning and fixing things around the brothel. It was only a short time after when Victoria told her she was pregnant.

Victoria gave birth to twins, one boy and one girl. The birth took a toll on Victoria’s body. The bleeding didn’t stop, even after she died. The doctor came too late. The twins were healthy, beautiful, and alive though. She left the babies with the doctor while she helped move Victoria. When Evangeline returned, the doctor just finished removing a pillow from atop one of the twins. The other twin was already lifeless. Evangeline went cold. She retreated into a deep and dark place within herself. It only took her a second to slash out at the back of his knees with her axes. She didn’t kill him, not yet anyways. She turned him onto his back and asked why.

“Because their mother was a whore,” he whispered. This was all Evangeline needed to hear before she slit the man’s throat and watched him die.

So begins...

Evangeline Casper's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Jack Bennett Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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H e l l f i r e | | M i d a s

C a p t a i n | | P r i s o n e r

#e6b800 | | #B00000






XXXXCaptain Meghan Cunningham stood amongst the noble people of Astorium in the largest sitting room of Lord Chamberlin's estate, a glass of wine gripped in her hand. While she couldn't deny she looked gorgeous in her attire, she also felt ridiculous. It was hard to move her arms and even harder to breathe at times. Rosia had to lace her up tightly to get Meg the fashionable thin waist, and it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Her First was somewhere in the house, being her eyes and ears. Meanwhile she was stuck here, eyes on the man who owned the very thing they were here for-- the updated map of Merrinia. They needed this map in order to find the keys to the lost treasure of Captain Corso. And they need it to find Arimathea, the garden of Eden. None of these places are expressly marked on the map. Especially Arimathea. But it would get them close enough.

It had to.

Meg shifted her hips beneath her skirts so the dagger she borrowed from Vale, her navigator, wouldn't jab her in the thigh. She made a mental note to purchase one for herself the next time they were at port. While she preferred her twin pistols or her cutlass, they aren’t subtle enough to conceal on her person. Not well anyway. Meg needed this to go off without a hitch. She didn’t need the Land King’s navy sailing after them once they left. And she would like to return here at some point in the future. Besides… she was only here to borrow the map.

For now, she was buying time. As she sipped at the wine in her glass—an expensive brand that still tasted like dirt to her—her thoughts strayed to the rest of her crew.

James, the former Captain of the ship was in her brig. She buried down the feelings of guilt deep down as she thought of the mutiny. He refused the journey, the search for Corso’s treasure, and the majority of the crew’s wishes. She couldn’t let it continue. Not if she wanted to find that treasure. Not if she wanted to make her parents’ deaths mean something. Rudy, their youngest by far, was keeping watch on the ship along with Tessa—her master Rigger and eyes and ears on the ship, Vale, Jack—the gunner, Bill—her third, Philip—her helmsman, and Sunni—the surgeon.

Somewhere just outside the estate was Vera—their cook and tonight’s distraction—who was awaiting the signal for her entrance. Meg had to admit, when Vera walked out in her getup… her heart beat a little faster. The woman’s past made her the perfect person to serve as the distraction for the night. Meg did feel a little guilty about this as well. Vera was a person after all and having her play this part was… not the best, but they had no other choice.

Her finger tips brushed the chain of the necklace she stole from the Lord and Lady’s bedchamber. Not only will it aid in their distraction, but it will serve as the signal. It was such a simple thing, a necklace of diamonds and pearls hardly bigger than her pinky fingernail, but it was definitely an expensive piece. Although, this specific necklace was chosen because it seemed to be the least worn. It was buried under a pile of jewelry. All Meg had to do was loop her pinky around the end and gently pull it away.

All she needed now was the go from Rosia and their plan would be underway. Even if it was the last thing she'd ever do, she was going to get that map and find the treasure.




XXXX Mutinied Captain James Porter sighed loudly as he laid on the wooden floor of his prison cell. Straw crinkled beneath him as he shifted, staying far away from the corner where a chamber pot was chained to the wall. With the waves on the high seas, he couldn’t be entirely certain it was clean over there. Then again, this whole cell was more than likely no better than that chamber pot, but James decided to ignore this thought and stick to keeping from the corner.

He still couldn’t entirely believe he was in this particular position. His crew turned on him… over greed. He sighed again at the thought. It wasn’t entirely greed. He had denied them adventure, he denied them mystery… and greed. James knew he was unorthodox as a pirate captain and that most on his crew didn’t mind. It seemed that his refusal to go on Meg’s wild goose chase was the last straw with them. And here he was, in the brig when not even a day prior he was asleep in his quarters, dreaming of the wind on his face and sailing towards the horizon.

When he woke to the nightmare that was the mutiny, he was shocked, angry, hurt, and most importantly… relieved that no one had been killed. If his family didn't think him a fine captain, then fine. Let Meg squander her winning for a while… They’ll be begging for him back. His stomach growled loudly and by the light leaking through the side of the ship, he knew it would be about dinner time. Vera was more than likely cooking something up in the kitchen for the crew. He wondered if he’d even be allowed to eat. Meg wasn’t heartless, but he couldn’t be certain of her treatment considering where he’s found himself. Maybe she was keeping him alive for his luck.

Or perhaps… his luck had run out.

Although, now that he thought about it… the ship was unusually quiet. He expected a party. Drinking, food, merriment on their victory of taking down Captain Midas. However, there was a noticeable silence. He knew they had docked somewhere, but that was the extent of his knowledge. Maybe he could get Bill to drink with him. Or Phillip. Maybe Rudy? He wished someone would bring him a drink. He needed one after today. And food preferably.

Whenever he closed his eyes, he saw the mutiny.

He was asleep in his quarters, dozing as was previously mentioned, when there was a commotion on deck. He didn’t think it was an invading party since no one had sounded for battle stations. There was shouting and the metallic clanging of swords. However, the commotion was missing the cries of pain that came with a boarding. He crew was never one to give up easily. Well… not noticeably anyway. So he pulled on his breeches and a simple shirt along with his boots and his cutlass before heading out the door. Right as he emerged, Meg was there, her wild red hair blowing around her face in the breeze, shining in the morning son like a fire. Hellfire.

”I’ve come to relieve you Captain,” she said, fierceness in her tone, but an apology in her eyes. ”Come willingly or face the consequences of your actions.” Behind her were the few who opposed the mutiny, on their knees with pistols pointed at the backs of their heads or cutlasses at their throats. No one looked willing to be in this position, but Meg—the treasure—was worth the sacrifice. He was no fool. He knew the treasure’s worth to each member of the crew.

Especially Meg. Her parents died in search of the treasure and to her it would be for nothing if she doesn’t find the treasure. For nothing, if she couldn’t claim it for her family name. For nothing, if she made nothing of herself…

So here they were. James standing in obvious surprise, Meg with a cutlass to his throat, and his crew divided. So, he surrendered. It was better to do so than to be the cause of any harm to his crew. He didn’t believe any of them capable of hurting the others, but they were desperate to cause a mutiny… how far were they really willing to go?

With his mind caught up to the present, he closed his eyes and let out a few soft notes before continuing through the song:

Safe and sound at home again,
Let the waters roar, Jack,
Safe and sound at home again,
Let the waters roar, Jack,

Long we’ve tossed on the rolling main,
Now we’re safe ashore, Jack,
Don’t forget you’re old shipmate,
Faldee raldee raldee raldee rye-dye-doe!

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper

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Tessa
#54002a
Master Rigger
Valentina
#ca8765
Navigator
Evangeline
#f54747
Stowaway

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Instead of staying on the ship and doing nothing, Tessa and Vale decided to go get a drink together. They went to a tavern not too far from the docks. Luckily for them, tonight was one of the tavern’s slower nights. The tables that were full only had one or two people. More than just a few of the tables were empty, leaving a nice private table in the back corner for them to sit at. You could hear murmurs of conversations. The tavern was dim and only lit by candles. Each table had a lantern with a candle inside. A couple more lanterns were near the stairs and bar.

Evangeline giggled as the bar wench served her. The night was slow and the woman had decided to keep her company. The wench was telling her an entertaining story. Evangeline was glad to hear the story. She needed the distraction. She had just buried her sister and her children early that morning. She sipped her drink and smiled as she listened. She had worried the bar wench wasn’t doing her job, but she pushed the thought away. She wouldn’t think of how she had heard the door open and people settle into their seats.

Tessa and Vale had just settled into a table and were waiting to be served. Valentina sighed into her seat, the events from earlier today still fresh in her mind, as well as the guilt, but now they had a new plan. A plan that Meg, Rosia, and Vera already had covered. Leaving the rest to guard the ship. Technically, they were supposed to still be on the ship as well but who could pass up such a moment? They deserved a little breather. Vale shook the thoughts out of her head, softly before standing up, "I'll be right back," she spoke, looking at Tess before excusing herself to relieve her bladder.

After a few minutes of no one coming to take their orders, Tessa’s annoyance began to build. Evangeline let out another giggle as the wench finished her story. The story was about how a wife with her five children stormed into the tavern to drag her husband out. This caught Tessa’s ear and she saw the bar wench talking with the same woman she was talking to when her and Vale entered. This raised Tessa’s annoyance even further to the point where she took her fist and pounded on the table loudly. "Oi! Can I get some service over here?" she yelled towards the bar wench.

The two woman jumped at the yelling. Evangeline glanced back and stared at the source. Evangeline noted how the woman had lovely blue eyes. She giggled and looked back at the bar wench. The bar wench had spilled beer from the almost empty tankards she had been holding. Evangeline’s giggling stopped. "I'll calm her down while you go clean up," Evangeline said. The bar wench nodded and ran off to clean up. Evangeline stood slowly and grabbed her drink. She headed over to the woman and slid into the seat next to her. She turned her head to look at the woman. Evangeline couldn’t help herself as she stared at the woman’s lovely eyes.

"Did you know you should say please when requesting something?" Evangeline asked, her voice soft and playful. She took a sip of beer before she placed the tankard on the table. She giggled, and tried to suppress it. It was hard to do as she wasn’t exactly sober. Tessa blinked a few times as she was unsure of how to reply to that.

"Excuse me? I don't remember askin' you a thing, Girlie," Tessa said in a harsh voice. She then decided to reach over and take the other girl’s drink. She narrowed her eyes at the girl, took the drink, and then swallowed the rest of the contents in one big swig. After she had it swallowed, she slammed the tankard on the table and looked right into the girl’s eyes. "Fuck off my table."

"If you say please, I will," Evangeline replied, but then she glanced at her empty tankard. "And after you buy me a drink," she added.

"Fuck your please," Tessa spat. "And I ain't buyin' you nothin', Girlie. Now fuck off my table," she fumed.

Vale adjusted her belt as she rounded the corner. She felt ten times better with an empty bladder. To her surprise, when she looked over at her table there was someone occupying her seat. Vale began making her way over. It was when she got close did Valentina recognize who that face, sitting in her seat belonged to. It was a beautiful face after all and a very dearly missed one too. It's funny since Vale planned on coming back to look for her once the crew was made rich after this voyage. Her steps slowed until she stood in front of the table. Suddenly she didn't know what to say other than a questioning. "E-Eva?"

Her breath caught when she saw Valentina’s lovely face. Valentina, her dearest friend, was right in front of her. Her broken heart filled with happiness. A bigger smile now graced Eva’s lips. "Hi Valentina," she said in a cheerful, but shocked tone. She couldn’t think of what else to say. Evangeline slowly stood, walked over to Valentina, and tightly wrapped her arms around her. She squeezed hard. Eva pulled back a few seconds later and looked at Valentina smiling.

"How are you? What are you doing here?" she asked.

Tessa watched the girl, whose name was Eva apparently, hug Vale. If she wasn’t confused before, she sure was confused now and her face showed it. With a furrowed brow and narrowed eyes, she wasn’t sure what to make of the situation. "Can someone fill me in on what is happin' right now?" She asked, suspicion in her voice. Eva looked back at the woman with the blue eyes. She now smirked instead of smiling.

"I'll fill you in if you say please and get me that drink you owe me," she said.
"Alright, that's enough outta you, I think," Tessa said, her anger raised to a boil. In one fell swoop, she stood and tore Eva off Vale then threw the smaller girl over her shoulder to carry her out. "Where's the trash?" She added, ready to carry Eva out.

Valentina found herself hugging Eva just as hard. Even teared up a little, secretly hoping Tessa didn't see that, but thankfully Evangeline hugged her at that moment. Just before she could answer Tessa went on the defensive. God, she could just kiss her sometimes. Instead, she was stuck watching the scene unfold in front of her. "Wait," but Tessa didn't hear and if so, didn't listen. "Wait!" She almost shouted.

Tess pulled Eva over her shoulder, and Vale quickly jumped in front of her. "Tessa, please put her down."

Tessa blinked a few times, confusion still written on her face as she looked at Vale. "Why?" she asked.

Vale stepped a bit closer this time, biting her lip. "She's family." she said, looking into blue eyes.

"So please put me down," Eva added. She stayed still as she didn’t mind being carried. It didn’t look like Tessa would end up throwing her anyways. She had Vale to thank for that.

The realization hit Tessa and she felt a bit embarrassed. Though, she was still awfully annoyed at this Eva person. "Fine," she said with a sigh and dropped the smaller girl. "Will someone explain this to me now?" she added.

"So Valentina, you decided to come to the bar with blue eyes instead of coming to see me?" Eva asked as Vale helped her get back onto her feet. She smoothed her dress out before looking at Vale. She was trying to give a serious expression, but she just ended up smiling. She glanced at Tessa as she waited for an answer.

Valentina sighed in relief, at least Tessa didn’t toss her, she thought. "What? No! That's not how it is at all!" Vale quickly went on the defensive, feeling a bit shot at. "I was coming back to find you, after this big voyage," Evangeline froze for a second when Valentina mentioned a big voyage. Her heart squeezed with pain and sped up at the thought of being left alone. She had the girls at the brothel, but they weren’t family. She took a long shaky breath and crossed her arms.

"Y-your leaving a-a-again?" she asked, her voice thickening with tears. Evangeline blinked quickly to keep the tears from escaping. Her eyes went to the floor after. Evangeline didn’t think she could look at Valentina without breaking down.
Valentina couldn't help but to quietly reach out, softly gripping the end of Tessa's sleeve who she stood next to. It was instinct when she heard Evangeline's voice about to break. It hurt. "I-I...It's just one more job..." Seeing her now, Vale tried to find the words but she felt the knot in her throat instead. She honestly didn’t know if she’d survive this trip and see Eva again but Vale didn't want to let her go now, not for a second time. Evangeline felt her heart squeeze again and the fear started to creep up on her. The thought of being on her own terrified her. She let out a sharp laugh that sounded more like a sob. Her body now shook ever so lightly.

"Don't leave," she said, her voice sounding harsh as she had to force the words out. Evangeline took another breath before she quickly glanced up at Vale. "Please," she whispered, pleading.

Valentina’s heart finally finished breaking right then and there. She went from gripping Tessa’s sleeve to holding onto the tips of her fingers, tears brimming and threatening to spill over. She felt herself giving in, she wanted to give in. Vale slowly went to nod her head when Tessa spoke up. "Well, she can't stay here. I ne-I mean, we need her," she blurted out. Evangeline took a sharp breath and turned away slightly.

"Okay," she whispered. She stared at the floor as she tried not to break down there and then. She took a deep breath before she began to walk towards the exit. She felt the hot tears begin to run down her flushed cheeks. "Wh-What if she comes along!?" she accidentally shouted. She thought about it hard between the silence that filled her ears at one point. I mean, how could it not cross her mind? It was that or she stays but… goes back to everyday thievery. She didn’t want that life for them.

"What?" Tessa asked, her voice full of confusion once again. Evangeline had stopped walking and turned around. She took a deep breath and wiped the tears away. She glanced at Tessa before her gaze went to Valentina. She gave a smile, but it was small and sad one.

"I-I can come?" she asked, her voice having a spark of hope. It was only a few seconds later and her smile grew. "I would just need to stop home first before I go," she said, meeting Valentina’s gaze. She smiled still and held out a hand for Vale to grab.

"I just live a street or so down, let's go" she added.

"Oi! Hold up there a minute, Girlie," Tessa said as she took a step forward then turned to Vale. "Ya can't be serious. They won't let her on the ship."

Vale glanced over at Eva after contemplating the risks. She then met Tessa’s eye’s once more, "What if they didn't know?" she sheepishly shrugged, trying to shake off the sad feelings.
"I can stowaway, let's go before the night is up," Eva said happily. She smiled at the two women. All the sadness was gone from her expression and voice. She grabbed Vale’s hand and looked at the other woman.

"Let's go," she said before she led them out of the tavern and to her home.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper

0.00 INK

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Tessa
#54002a
Master Rigger
Valentina
#ca8765
Navigator
Evangeline
#f54747
Stowaway

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It was only a few minutes later when they reached the brothel. It was a plain stone building. She took a deep breath. Evangeline never minded walking into the brothel, but she realized Vale would be surprised. The first time Vale had brought her to a brothel...she fainted. She stopped in front of the door and turned around slowly. She smiled sheepishly at them, mostly Vale. She parted her lips to speak, but closed them again, causing Vale to raise her brow in curiosity.

“Kitten!” yelled Juliana as she swung the door open.

“Hello Juliana, how are you?” she asked. She knew she wouldn’t get an answer. Juliana had her eyes on the women, mice, behind her.

“Who are these lovely ladies?” Juliana practically purred. Evangeline felt her cheeks start to burn. Tessa watched the interaction and upon making eye contact with this Juliana person, she gave the busty girl a small wave. Eva watched as Juliana walked passed her, put a hand on the woman’s back, and led her inside. A soft sigh escaped Eva’s lips as she followed. She looked back at Vale who was on her tail, but had her arms crossed. Eva saw Vale’s cheeks were red, but she spoke nothing. Or more like the words wouldn't form.

“You may want to save your friend from Juliana. She doesn’t waste time in getting…friendly,” Evangeline said, her face on fire now. She couldn’t believe she had to say that to Valentina. Vale opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. All she could do was shake her head a little.

“She’s her own woman.” said Vale, not even giving them a second glance. Eva watched Julian lead the woman into the main room. Eva decided if Vale wasn’t worried about her friend, she wouldn’t worry either. She headed off towards her room. Vale followed right behind, skipping a few steps as she went. Eva’s room was at the very top and at the end of a hall. Evangeline’s room was pretty simple. There was just a bed and large chest in front of the window.

“How is being a pirate?” Eva asked as she walked over to the chest. She pulled a key from between her breast and unlocked it. She knelt down as she looked for Valentina’s gift. She had made it a while ago after being under the blacksmith's wing for a while.

“Exhausting… but it’s good coin and keeps me on my toes,” Vale half laughed, gazing out of the window. Eva pulled out a small dagger from the chest and stood. She turned around to hand it to Valentina. Vale noticed the movement and turned just as Eva held it out, eyes going a little wide. Eva smiled and took a step closer to Valentina.

“Take it Valentina,” she said softly. She wondered if Valentina liked the gift. Vale let her eyes wander over the blade. It was stunning, designs she’s never seen before. Vale took it and examined it in her own hands. Pretty light and it had a nice feel in her hand. “Thank you… it’s gorgeous.” she said, looking up at Eva and giving her a big smile.”Where did you get it?” she asked, giving it a twirl between her fingers, the giddiness getting to her. Evangeline let out a small laugh and just smiled.

“I made it, I got work with a blacksmith again when I came back,” she said. Evangeline turned around to dig through the chest, but Vale cut her off by wrapping her arms around her waist. She gently squeezed blinking back the tears. “Hey,” she whispered. Evangelien tensed and took a shaky breath.

“Hi...I s-should start packing...” she whispered back, her voice giving a little. Eva continued to take slow deep breaths to keep her emotions bottled up. She didn’t want to let them get to her and make her cry.

“Where do I start..?” Vale sighed. She pushed her forehead against Eva’s back. “I-I’ve missed you,” she started. Valentina had a painful lump stuck in her throat that was making it hard to speak. “I’m not letting you go for a second time, y’know that… right?” she began again, her voice slightly cracking towards the end. Eva felt her eyes water and had to blinked quickly to keep tears at bay. The only reason she didn’t turn around was because Vale’s forehead was against her back.

“I’ve missed you too,” she said quickly so her voice wouldn’t shake. “B-but we need to hurry to somehow sneak me on your ship...” she said. She had calmed her emotions earlier and talking about how they felt would only make her cry. Eva felt like she couldn’t cry again. If she cried again, she probably wouldn’t stop.

“H-how about you go check on your friend?” she asked. She still took deep breaths. Eva felt her body slowly shake as she tried to hold herself together. Vale gave one more light squeeze, composing herself. She took in a deep breath, but let out a shaky sigh. Her question was left unanswered and though it stung, Vale pulled away and nodded.

“R-right” she stammered, sheathing her new blade. Before she left the room, Vale stopped at the door frame. She glanced back, but kept her eyes on the floor. “...I’m sorry.” she whispered, continuing her way out. Evangeline quickly turned around at the apology. She was confused. She went to Vale and wrapped her arms around her. She squeezed tightly and rested her head on Vale’s shoulder.

“I love you Valentina De la Torre. You have no reason to say sorry...I know you won’t let me go again...I plan on holding onto you until you or I die,” she paused to take a deep and shaky breath, “I-I just don’t want to cry again after yesterday.” Eva closed her eyes to push away the images of the lifeless bodies. Vale first tensed, but then relaxed back into Eva’s embrace. She listened, wiping a stray tear or two from her face and nodding. Almost on the verge of looking like a sniveling child. Vale opened her mouth to speak. She wanted to know what happened and how she could help, if she could. What made her best mate so hurt? Did she have to crack some skulls?

There was a loud knock on the door just as the moment was getting tender. It made Vale jump slightly. Without waiting for a reply, the door opened. Tessa poked her head through with a bored look written all over her face and Vale relaxed again.

“Are ya two done yet? I'm gettin’ tired of waitin’ around and at this rate the ship’ll leave without us,” she said. “Even if technically you shouldn't be on the ship,” she added in a mutter, eyes dead with annoyance as she looked at the girl that lead them there. Evangeline just smiled when Vale’s friend walked in. Seeing the stranger’s eyes made her feel better. Vale on the other hand had turned her head, making sure she wiped any stray tears left behind. Slowly Eva let go of Vale. Though, she did give her a peck on her cheek to comfort her and herself before doing so. She turned to smile at the other woman.

“I am glad you were able to escape Juliana. I’ll be done in a minute or so,” she said, a big smile on her face. Valentina gave out a little laugh, walking over to Tessa and bumping her shoulder. “She’s finished with you that fast?” she teased. “That’s no fun.” she added, with a wink. Tessa huffed a laugh as Eva quickly turned and took a pillowcase off a pillow.

“It wasn't like that,” Tessa said quietly and tried to suppress a small smile. “After you two left, she touched me hat,” Tessa paused and her faced turned into an annoyed expression. “So I tied ‘er up and gagged ‘er and had myself a drink while I waited. It was a pretty good drink too,” she sounded a bit proud about the tying up part while the part about the drink was more of an afterthought. “Are ya okay though?” she added under her breath leaning closer to Vale.

Valentina felt her cheeks heat up and she nodded quickly. “Yea, I’m fine… thank you.” she whispered back, giving her soft smile. Vale perked back up and gently grabbed Tessa’s chin grinning. “Now this I have to see,” she almost laughed, reaching up but looking at Tessa for a moment. “Permission?” Tessa couldn't hide the small amused smile that came to her face at that.

“Permission always, m’lady,” she said almost teasingly. Vale took the hat and smiled at Eva, placing it upon her own head.

Eva smiled back at Valentina before she walked over to the chest. She filled the pillowcase with two dresses, a pouch filled with coins and jewelry, eyeliner, and a small chest filled with sewing supplies. She turned around to look at the two woman.

“All ready,” she said cheerfully. She held the pillowcase over her shoulder. Eva glanced around the room one final time. This chapter of her life was closed. It was time to start a new and more cheerful one.

It wasn’t long before they neared the docks, Vale providing background music by whistling all the way there. She was feeling giddy and it showed, even though they were each carrying a sack of apples and mangos. It was a gift from the Madam of the brothel. The idea to sneak Eva on was to simply cause a distraction and have her sneak below deck.

“This idea is stupid,” Tessa said with the sack of fruit in her arms. She looked around as they walked and noticed an empty barrel. She let out a low chuckle. “Hey, why don’t we just stick ‘er in a barrel?” She said sarcastically. Vale let out a little laugh, but almost dropped her sacks of fruit. Eva’s eyes went to Tessa, glad she finally committed her name to memory.

“If the barrel has a few holes in it, then I am fine with that idea,” Eva said. A second later she slowly walked over to the barrel while Vale watched. The lid was on the side of it. Slowly she inspected the barrel. There were a few holes in it, so she wouldn’t mind getting in. Evangeline placed her pillowcase in the barrel. “Wait, you’re serious?” Vale blurted out.

“This is also a stupid idea,” Tessa commented as she watched Eva put her stuff in the barrel. Eva looked at Tessa and gave her a small smile.

“But it is your idea,” she replied. Eva thought she heard a small sound, but ignored it. Tessa rolled her eyes at this.

“I wasn’t serious!” Tessa groaned in response. Vale grinned and Eva’s smile widen as she let out a small laugh.

“She’s cute,” Eva commented as she glanced at Vale. “Ain't she?” Vale chuckled, nudging Tessa’s shoulder with her own. Eva heard movement near the lid and took a step back to get a better view of what was hiding between the lid and barrel. Her eyes filled with surprise and delight. Evangeline snatched Tessa’s hat and squatted, Vale tried to peek over her shoulder. Her hand disappeared between the lid and barrel. When her hand came back, it had a bird in it. It made a faint sound. The poor thing looked weak. Slowly Eva stood, turned the hat upside down, and placed the bird inside. She had her hands underneath the hat to provide support for the birdie.

“First off,” Tessa started. She was trying not get too loud as to not scare the bird. “I am not fucking cute,” she glared daggers at Eva. “Secondly, don’t ever touch my hat again or I will murder ya… Next time,” she paused. “Ya get a pass tonight because of that there birdie. But never fucking again. No one can touch me hat,” she glanced at Vale then muttered under her breath, “Except Vale.” This earned a soft smile from the other woman who glanced back for a moment. Eva had been distracted by the bird as Tessa spoke. She hadn’t even listened to Tessa’s words. She gently stroked the bird’s head while she looked it over. Just as Tessa stopped speaking, she walked over to her. She smiled at the woman. Eva looked at the birdie and then at Tessa.

“Isn’t it cute? Do you think it can stowaway too?” she asked. She smiled at Tessa happily. “Let me see!” said Vale, making a little o with her lips when she saw the little thing. It’s one of the cutest things she’s ever seen. “Can it?” Vale smiled up at Tessa. Eva’s eyes returned to the bird as she saw it begin to fall asleep. She loved animals. Tessa stared at Eva for a few minutes before blinking.

“You are a child. We’re smuggling a fuckin’ child aboard,” Tessa said, more to herself than the other two ladies. She almost sounded shocked. A moment later she put a hand to her face. “What did I get meself into?”

“Don’t call the birdie a child Tessa. Be nice. I think it may be sick or something,” Eva said, worry lacing her voice. Eva held the hat out for Tessa to take. “Want to hold it? I don’t think it will do well in the barrel with me.” Tessa let out a long sigh and took the hat with the bird. It took them awhile, but they finally made it to the ship.

Valentina held the hat with the birdie inside but she kept peeking inside just to make sure it was alright. The two headed below deck with a barrel and hands emptied of sacks. Tessa rolled the barrel down the stairs before setting it up right. Being in a moving barrel was not a pleasant experience for Eva, especially with the six sacks of fruit in there with her. She had to bite her lip to keep herself from making a sound. Her grip on her lip loosen when the barrel was finally still.

“Oh, ahoy, James,” Tessa said with a wave to James then boosted herself on top of the barrel. Vale was too entertained watching the bird in Tessa’s hat than where she was going. She helped as best as she could, but there were moments where she almost kissed the ground a few times. When she heard Tessa’s voice that’s when Vale looked up. “James! Look,” she walked up to the bars and squatted down. Vale tilted the hat a bit so he could see the little bird.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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XXXXAs soon as the sole of Meg's boot touched the wood of The Stardust a calming sensation moved through her body, causing her muscles to relax. The Stardust might not be Meg's ship, but she was home. Ever since she laid eyes on the navy blue masts and dark wood, she loved her. She was her ship whether James liked it or not. She stuck out her hand and ran it over the wood of the side just as Rosia crowed from behind her, "Cap'n on deck!" She smiled softly, rolling her eyes just at a tad at the formality. Nice to have a first mate, She thought. She closed her eyes a moment and when she opened them again, the nostalgic Meg was gone and was replaced by Captain Meghan Cunningham.

"Look alive ye scallywags!" She yelled to her crew. "We've returned with the updated map and will set sail within the hour! Just in case we've got Land King men on our tails!" She looked at the near-empty deck, and her eyes narrowed. Where was her crew? "First Mate!" She turned to Rosia, "Find me crew and tell them all hands on deck. I want Philip on the helm and Tessa in the rigging. Have Vera make a nice dinner for everyone including that rat down in our brig." She started towards her room and paused. She turned back towards Rosia. "Oh, and tell Sunni I'll come by in a bit. I know she gets a tad lonely when we're out on land." And she secretly wanted to see what her surgeon thought of the dress. Not that she'd ever admit it to anyone.

Instead of going to her quarters to change, she made her way towards the ship's brig to visit their prisoner.

XXXXJames's wishes for a drink and company were quickly answered. Just as his song died on his lips, he heard boots coming down the wooden steps to the brig. The man had addressed him as captain and then a filthy traitor which made his hand curl into a fist but with a deep breath, he relaxed again. It wasn't Bill's fault he was in the situation. It was his own. "Aye. A drink would be grand, Mate." He paid little mind to Bill's comment on him being free shortly. If the pirate was daft enough to free him without the order of his captain, it could very well be his head. At least, that's how traditional pirating was done. James... he'd yell about it, but in the end, he probably would do nothing. Bill was family. This crew was family. They just... needed a reminder. They'll let him out. They had to...

As Bill's boots retreated back up the stairs he yelled. "Bring me rum you bilge rat! Not grog!" More quietly he said, "The stuff tastes like... well like you're kissing a lemon. A dirty, rum soaked lemon." There was a clanging as someone brought supplies on board. James swiveled his head to get a better look and spotted Vale, the ship's navigator, and Tessa, the ship's master rigger. Then again they were pirates. There should be no shame in it. Tessa's mouth was even worse than his own. Why the two were stowing supplies he wasn't sure considering both of their duties lie on the ship's deck. Meg would want them up there. That is... unless she was already failing at being a pirate captain. He gave a small arrogant smirk which was wiped away in surprise when Vale came bounding up to him with Tessa's hat in her hand. Inside the hat was a small bird.

He rose to his knees and moved towards the bars. He stuck his hand through and reached to touch the top of the bird's head lightly. It was soft and so very small. "It looks sick..." he said softly. He raised his eyes to Vale's and said, "Does Meg know you've brought aboard a bird?" He looked back down at the winged creature and whispered, "Even still. Best you bring it to Sunni. See if she can patch the thing up." He knew their ship's surgeon was more of a people person, it was possible she'd know what was wrong with the bird.

He heard the clicking of heels coming down the stairs and he looked over in confusion. As far as he knew, no one on board wore the types of heals that would make such a racket. Except maybe Vera, but it was uncommon. When he saw the redhead of Hellfire striding towards him, decked out in finery... he laughed. "Why Meghan Cunningham! You look like a wolf in sheep's clothing!" He guffawed. "My word what an outfit!"

Meg stood on the other side of the bars of James cell, watching him laugh with an unamused expression on her face. She had come down here to give the news about the map and to inform the former captain that... if he wanted he could be captain again he just... had to take a chance for once. His luck would see them through, she knew it, but now...

"Tessa." She said sternly, command hardening her tone. "Valentina." She didn't look at them, but when she felt their attention turn to her, she continued. "To the deck." With a seething glare at James, she added, Now. Before Vale passed she stopped her and said, "Wait here," She pulled the map from her garter and handed it to her navigator.

When they were gone, she stepped towards the bars... and in one quick movement, she had James by his shirt and pulled him towards her. His face nearly met the metal and he cussed quietly. "You will not make fun of me in front of my crew again, is that understood?" She said, her words laced with anger. "Is that understood?" James just nodded, shocked at Meg's sudden mood change.

"Good." She released him. "I came to tell you that we had the map and that your position was free to be taken back, but I think I'll keep it instead." She smirked at him, her eyes burning like the hair on her head.

James glared back at her. "You won't make it a week without me. You're a quartermaster, Meghan. Not a captain. This is my ship. My crew. And I'll be damned to Davy Jones's locker if I just hand it over to the likes of you."

A sadness spread through her core, dousing the burning fires of her anger. "You were my friend you know. I didn't want this to happen... you left me no choice you were--"

"In the way? Yes. I suppose I was."

"This treasure is my birthright, James. My parents--"

"Died looking for it. Yes, so I've heard. But are you really willing to sacrifice their lives for your... suicide attempt?"

"I gave everyone a choice. No one is doing this blindly, James." She turned from his cell. "I'll have Vera bring you a meal." And with that she flounced back up the stairs. Tears prickled in her eyes. She was so frustrated with him. She blinked them away, took a deep breath, and went below decks once more to find her favorite surgeon.

"Sunni!" She called right before entering the room. "There is good news and bad news! The good new is we got the map. The bad news is I had to wear this--" She looked up as she entered and saw her helmsman and her surgeon sitting close. Philip was drunk which was just fantastic. She crossed her arms, her frustration easily racing back to her. "Am I interrupting something?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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"Heave a pawl, O heave away,
Weigh hey, roll and go,
The anchor's on board and the cable's all stored
To be rollicking randy dandy-O,"



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A.K.A. Riggknot
#54002a
Master Rigger

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Sat upon the barrel, Tessa watched as Vale went up to James to show him the bird. Though she couldn't help the small smile on her face from seeing Vale be so excited. She shook her head slightly at the former captains comment. If only ya knew what was in this barrel, the birdie would be the least of our worries, mate, She thought. She was so focused on the exchange, she hadn't noticed Meg come in dressed to her ears in that beautiful dress. At hearing the command in Meg's voice as she ordered them to go up, Tessa did as she was told. For the most part.

She carefully slipped off the barrel, but before leaving spoke under her breath as softly as she could. Don't make a fucking peep, the last thing Tessa wants is for this stupid plan to fail. Then up top she went, furrowing her eyes when Vale was stopped. She wanted her hat back but knew Vale would return it… eventually… after she has fun wearing it around.

Once upon deck, Tessa took a look around. It seemed everyone was where they needed to be. For the most part, at least. She made her way over to the ropes that were needed to be adjusted to set sail. Everyone seemed busy at work. But not busy enough to make a comment apparently.

“Ay, where's your hat?” said Rum, though Tessa didn't care who said it either. Though, she supposed they had a point. It wasn't often she went around without her hat. But it was in good hands she knew.

Fuck off, she spat as she continued walking until she made it to where she had to be. She waited until the anchor had been raised and the helmsman was at the helm. Though she wasn't surprised to see him stir the kid, probably trying to get him to help. She rolled her eyes at this then went to take care of the rigging.

Some ropes loosened here, others tightened there. Just as the sail dropped ever so slightly to just catch the gentle breeze, Tessa couldn't help the song that came to her. Lightly under her breath while she went about pulling and tying ropes she sang, Now we are ready to head for the horn, weigh hey, roll and go. Our boots and our clothes, boys, are all in the pawn to be rollickin’ randy dandy-o, she reckoned the song was quite fitting. She sang even as she pulled and tied ropes and watched as the land became further away. Soon they'd be at sea. Soon we'll be at home, she thought.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper

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XXXXJames sighed as Meg left in a huff. His heart was still racing from her outburst and his near collision into the bars. As his former friend retreated up onto the deck of his ship, he decided to take up his vigil on the floor once again.

Evangeline was silent and grew tense when she heard unfamiliar voices. She bit her bottom lip to hold back a giggle when James said Meghan looked like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Eva remembered Tessa’s “kind” departing words. Soon she felt uncomfortable as James and Meghan spoke. Eva was never one to listen into the conversations of others. She felt like she was intruding in a private moment. Since she couldn’t do anything about not listening, she decided not to feel bad about it. By the end of the conversation, she was filled with worry. What the hell was Valentina a part of? Would Vale and Tessa be sacrificed for this big voyage? Would Meghan’s “suicide attempt” kill them all? She became lost in thought for a while. Worries and doubts filled her mind. She was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard someone come down again.

“Enjoy, lad,” she heard a male voice say before she heard the man quickly depart.

James didn’t say much in reply as Bill passed off the cup of rum to James. Especially since the boatswain took off down the way and back up the stairs. He raised an eyebrow at his friend and took a swig of rum… and nearly choked. Bill hadn’t given him a tankard of rum. No. He had given him a tankard of rummed down grog. “Shite, Bill! You bilge rat! You’ll be shark bait when I get out of here!” He yelled, then, more quietly said, If I ever get out of here.”

Soft and feminine giggles escaped from the barrel for a few seconds. Evangeline couldn’t help herself. The randomness of James’s words made her giggle. The curses thrown in didn’t help either. She wondered what this Bill had done to poor James. She felt bad for James. It seemed he had his ship stolen, was trapped, and now Bill had done something not so nice to him. Evangeline kept her hands pressed against her mouth as the last of the giggles escaped. Suddenly, her cheeks became hot. She realized James likely heard her. A nervous and hopeless laugh, more like a whimper, then escaped her lips. It sunk in that she blew her cover. She stayed still and silent because she had no idea what to do. Would James call the rest of the crew down?

A soft sound came from the nearby cargo that Vale and Tessa had brought aboard. At first, James wondered if it was a mouse sniffing around their newly acquired goods. Then, he realized it wasn’t a mouse but the giggling of a girl. It wasn’t a giggle he recognized. Although, now that he thought about it, he had many women aboard his vessel. While other captains had a problem with their presence believing they were bad luck, he actually enjoyed their company. Rosia had energy. Tessa’s shanties tended to lull him to sleep when they sailed late at night. Vale was a skilled navigator. Meg was a hellion in combat. Vera was an excellent cook. Sunni was the best surgeon he had ever seen. This sound was not one he had heard from any of the girls on his ship but he had been with enough women to know the sound of a giggle when he heard one.

”’Ey! Giggling barrel.” He positioned himself so he was facing the barrel without much effort. ”Come out of there, now. Trust me it’s better if you come out now than if they make you come out.”

It took her a second or two thanks to the sacks and her pillowcase, but she slowly stood while lifting the lid off. Her cheeks felt as if they were on fire. She kept her eyes on her skirt. Evangeline didn’t, couldn’t, make eye contact yet. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She was nervous. Though, she had some hope since James hadn’t yelled for the crew. Her eyes went to the lid as she placed it on an adjacent barrel. She still didn’t make eye contact.

She had to take slow deep breaths to relax her body. The deep breathing helped her not giggle and or laugh as well. She had no idea why, but she laughed and or giggled when nervous. She smoothed her dress out. Slowly, her eyes rose to find James. Eva made eye contact for a second before glancing at her skirt again. Her cheeks felt even hotter now. She hoped she wouldn’t get Tessa and Valentina in trouble. Evangeline decided she would introduce herself.

“Hello,” she paused to make eye contact, “My name is Evangeline…but I go by Eva as well.”

James stared, perhaps a bit too long, at the stunning woman who appeared from the barrel, his cheeks heating a bit when he realized a right lady had heard his swearing. That being said, he hadn’t actually expected there to be someone inside the barrel. In fact, he honestly thought he had hallucinated it thanks to the grog given to him by Bill. Although, grog was nowhere near strong enough to give him hallucinations, but that's besides the point.

When he finally found his words he said, ”Ahoy. I’m um… Capt-er… that is… I’m James Porter. Former captain of The Stardust.” He cleared his throat. ”What brings your aboard this fine vessel this day?” He cleared his throat again and continued, ”Well besides obviously being brought on board by Vale and Tessa.”

Eva calmed as he spoke. He didn’t say anything unpleasant. He even seemed nervous, which she found cute. As her nervousness left her, she gave him a big and friendly smile. The smile reached her eyes. Her lips parted to speak, but they closed again. Evangeline enjoyed the relief that filled her. She was beyond happy he didn’t call for the crew. Eva didn’t exactly feel safe standing in the open, but it’d be rude to have a conversation while hiding in a barrel. Carefully she sat on the edge of the barrel and scooted back onto the adjacent barrel.

She slowly removed her legs from inside the barrel to not expose any flesh. Evangeline used her hands to keep the skirt close to her legs. Once her legs were free, she placed her feet on the floor. She stood and walked over to James. Eva kept a foot or so away from the bars. She gave him another smile.

“Nice to meet you James. I haven’t been able to see the ship yet, but I bet it is lovely,” she said. She tucked a loose lock of hair behind her left ear. Today she had worn her hair out. Eva made a note to braid it later. “I am here…I am here because of Valentina. She is my dearest friend and my only family now,” she said, glancing down at her feet. Her heart ache a little at the thought. When she looked back at James, her eyes held a bit of sadness.

“Why are you in a cell?” she asked, ready to change the subject.

James, still holding the tankard, took a swig of rum, forgetting it was grog, and nearly spit it out onto the floor of his cell. He muttered about Bill once more before placing the tankard on the floor and pushing it to the corner of his cell with his booted toe. He cleared his throat and ran his fingers through his hair. ”I was ah… mutinied against.” He pulled out the thong holding his hair back, shook his locks free, and--after combing his hair with his fingers--tying it back up.

His mind registered the rest of her statements and he smiled sadly, his hand meeting the wooden side of the ship. ”Aye. That she is. Always has been.” His eyes softened and brightened with pride. Then he remembered she was no longer his and lowered his hand. ”She’s in other hands now.”

”I didn’t know Vale had a land friend. As long as I had known her, she had been seafaring. That isn’t to say she doesn’t care or didn’t talk about you. I think she was trying to protect you. Being a pirate isn’t exactly the safest of professions.” His gaze moved towards the stairs. ”Speaking of, It’d be best if Meg didn’t find you. Although, The Stardust is a small ship. I’m sure it won’t take her long.” He frowned, trying to think of a way for the girl to stay out of sight. He knew that now Meg had the map and the ship was stocked… it was likely they weren’t to return to land anytime soon. That reminded him…

”Please tell me Vale told you where we were going…”

“Well, I can’t stay hidden forever. It will be okay though, I have Valentina...and maybe Tessa,” she paused as she thought she heard a sound, “…and I have no idea where we are going, bu-” she stopped short as she heard footsteps. Her eyes widened with surprise. Eva had forgotten where she was for a moment. Quickly and without thinking, she ducked behind a barrel. She glanced at James. Eva flashed him a small smile to reassure him that everything will be okay.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper

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XXXXJames heard another set of footsteps coming towards the brig. These were softer and, judging, by the smell, it was someone he was expecting. He knew he was right when he heard Vera greeting him. His eyes flashed to Eva, but found she was gone. She was probably hiding behind the barrel. Good, he thought, Stay that way. It’s not that Vera would show any animosity against the lass. More in the opposite. She’d probably see the lass as something similar to a lost puppy.

As she came closer, the smell of food filled his nostrils, his stomach letting out a loud growl in response. ”Well… It’s a better evening now that you’re here.” He said to her with a smile and noticed the disappointed look on her face. ”Why the face? Is it because of the Mutiny?” His fingers twitched in anticipation of a meal considering he hadn’t eaten since the night before. It took all his control to keep from reaching through the bars for the bowl of stew in his cook’s hands.

Of course, as Vera approached, James tossed her a kind, flattering phrase; one that wiped the foul look off her face. “Are you sweet on me, James? It’s starting to sound like you are,” She teased him as she approached the bars, her usual smile sitting comfortably across her lips once more. Once he brought up the mutiny, it took some effort to keep from grimacing. It was brutal; they had to take the ship from a man who had never truly done them any wrong. And what was she supposed to say to him now? Vera had sided with Meg. She needed this money. She helped take the ship from him. “No, no, nothing about that. Was just hoping the food tastes good,” so Vera did what she did best: acting. She couldn’t let James know how she really felt. “But I suppose I won’t know that until you taste it, hmm? Here, eat up,” As she finished speaking, Vera passed him the food and drink through the bars, hoping that would be enough to stop him from asking questions she didn’t have answers for.

James snorted at Vera. ”You? Make something that isn’t absolutely delicious as if the angels of heaven prepared it and served it to us mortals as a sign of divine mercy?” He coughed into his fist. ”As if.” He smiled at her and winked once. When she passed him the food and drink, he took them with a quick ”Thank you.” before he downed the entirety of the drink. He needed to get the taste of lemon out of his mouth. He tried to be patient enough to blow on the stew before shoving the spoon into his mouth, but he failed significantly. In fact, he burned his tongue and the roof of his mouth on the stew and let out another string of colorful--and partially made up--swear words.

Evangeline was in an uncomfortable position behind the barrel. She was squatting and the wooden end of her axes were digging into her soft flesh. Eva didn’t dare to move as she listened to the friendly conversation. Relief filled her when James finally said thank you to the woman. She assumed the woman would leave soon. Eva couldn’t stay in her current position for much longer. Just as she hoped she wouldn’t get a splinter, James let out a string of swear words. Evangeline was surprised again by James.


Soft laughter escaped her lips and she fell back onto her bottom. “James and his swearing,” she whispered under her breath. Instead of staying still this time around, she stood. She used the barrel in front of her to steady herself. Her eyes glanced over James before they found the woman. Evangeline gave her a sweet, but small and shy smile. She broke eye contact for a second to fix the skirt of her dress. When she looked up, she was still smiling.


“I’m Evangeline, or Eva if you prefer,” she paused to move around the barrel. She stood between James and the woman. Eva stood a bit to the side, so she wouldn’t block anyone’s view. Eva held her hand out to the other woman. “Who do I have the pleasure of meeting?” she asked.


Vera couldn’t help but giggle at James’ embellishing compliment, “Oh stop that, James.” She couldn’t help but linger as the man started eating. She really did want to know how her food tasted. As he began scarfing it down, she frowned and furrowed her brow. Before she could open her mouth to scold him for not waiting for it to cool, Vera heard something moving behind her.

At first, she assumed it was just Rosia or Rudy scampering about and causing trouble. Her motherly reprimanding would have continued if she hadn’t turned and faced an entirely new person. Immediately, Vera went on edge. Her knees bent, lowering her stance somewhat. The dagger hidden in the back of her boot was now in arms reach. However, this strange woman didn’t appear aggressive or hostile in any way, so Vera allowed herself to relax, but just so. She was ready to defend herself at a moment’s notice. “Hello, Evangeline…” Her uneasiness was evident in her tone. She eyed the young woman up and down. “My name is Vera. If you don’t mind me asking: what are you doing here?’ She shifted her position, taking a slow step towards the exit of the room. Vera wanted to be able to flee if need be.

Eva watched as she lowered somewhat and tensed up. She was unsure of what the woman was going to do. When the woman spoke, she relaxed. Evangeline knew the woman was uneasy, but she couldn’t fix that issue. She wrapped her arms around her waist as she listened to Vera speak. Eva gave her a nervous smile now. She was only nervous as she wasn’t sure if the woman was going to start screaming or running or both. Evangeline had noticed she took a step towards the exit. She parted her lips to speak, but closed them again. Eva realized she shouldn’t tell her exactly everything. Though, she didn’t want to lie either. Slowly, to not frighten the woman off, she used her right hand to run her fingers through her hair. She smiled at Vera as she processed her thoughts.

“It is a pleasure to meet you Vera. The food you made smells lovely…” she paused to glanced at James, but her gaze returned to Vera, “I am here because of a friend…I knew they couldn’t stay with me…so we decided I’d stowaway.” Eva tried being as honest as possible, but at the same time she didn’t want to give away too much information. She didn’t want to say Vale’s name yet. Eva knew she could not mention Tessa. Though, she hoped Tessa wouldn’t rat herself out. She knew she couldn’t keep Vale out of the mess. Eva imagined Valentina would come to her defense when she was exposed.

James was about to eat another spoonful when Eva popped up from behind the barrel. He hadn’t realized she had been making noise before now, but when he looked to Vera to gauge her response… she was on edge. She probably thought the girl was a threat. James snorted and went back to his stew. Let the two females work it out. What could he do stuck behind these bars anyway. When he heard that Eva thought the food smelled delicious, his first response was to say, ”Oh you have no idea. I don’t think anyone else could make a meal fit for kings out of what we pirates manage to scrounge together.”

Then, after spooning another bite into his mouth, he realized that she was probably hungry. He looked longingly down to his bowl before holding it out to Vera. ”Here. Hand this to her. She probably needs it more.” He sat down, bowl still being held out. ”What do you think Meg will do when she finds out the lass is here?” It wasn’t polite to speak of such things in front of the subject of conversation, but he was hungry and it made him a tad unfiltered. ”I doubt she’ll do anything too terrible right? I mean I was mutinied against, and I’m still here in one piece.”

“Eat James, I’ll be fine,”
she interrupted. She gave him a smile to reassure him and thank him for the offer. Evangeline hadn’t been hungry since the incident happened. She pushed her thoughts away, but couldn’t help the shaky breath she took next. Eva looked at Vera, her smile now slightly faded. Her heart stung a little at unwanted memories. “What is Meg like?” she asked softly, wanting a distraction. She vaguely remembered how Meg had spoken to James earlier that night.

Vera just stood by as the two of them exchanged words. Truly, she didn’t know what to make of this situation. This woman didn’t seem to harbor and ill will, but she still could have asked for a job on ship instead of just stowing away. “No, James. Eat your food. I have plenty for everyone.” This was something she would speak sternly about. She returned her wary gaze to this Eva, who was asking her about her captain. A part of her was screaming to run and get Meg, but she couldn’t help but feel for this poor girl. If James hadn’t accepted her in the past, she likely would have stowed away too. “First, she’s Captain to you,” Vera corrected her in the same motherly scold that she had sent James’ way. “Second of all, Meg isn’t cruel, but she also has rules. I’m sure she would have let you join from pure compassion alone. But I’m not entirely sure if she’ll take kindly to someone stowing away on her ship.” As time went on, Vera’s posture relaxed more and more. However, she was still ready to defend herself at a moment’s notice. “Why don’t you meet her for yourself? Might as well get it over and done with with.” Vera took more steps toward the exit, but this time, she ushered Eva along with her.

James sighed after Vera’s scolding and retracted the bowl of stew. Secretly grateful, he continued eating spoonful after spoonful of the now cooled food until little was left. In fact, the last spoonful he had stuck into his mouth… was the one he choked on when Vera suggested she meet Meg now. He whipped his head to her. ”You can’t be serious.” Then again… she had a point. If they all waited until they were in the middle of the ocean to reveal the lass… it might make Meg even more angry with them. So… ”No. Nevermind. She’s right. With Meg, things must happen now. Not later.” He sighed, feeling for the poor lass. ”Might as well follow Vera. Her presence might prove helpful.”

As the two began their leave up to the deck, James was sure to add. ”Just remember this when dealing with Meg: the lass is a hellfire.” He made sure to give his empty bowl and tankard to Vera before they left as well. ”I wish ye luck lass.” He said to Eva, his accent emerging.

Eva smiled as she listened to Vera. She took note to refer to Meg as Captain. Evangeline was relaxed and stayed relaxed as James put in his opinion. She decided to listen to them. It seemed like it would be better to meet Meghan sooner than later. Before she let Vera usher her out, she grabbed the chest and pouch from the pillowcase in the barrel. The only thing left in the barrel was the fruit and her pillowcase. Though, the pillowcase did have two dresses and makeup inside. She opened the small chest and stuffed the pouch in there. Eva closed the small chest, but it wouldn’t close completely. She tucked it under her left armpit before she followed Vera. She flashed James a smile to thank him for his advice and the luck.

“Vera, there are sacks of apples and mangos in the barrel I came in…” she said as she followed. She assumed Vera would want to know as she seemed to be the ship’s cook. Eva cleared her mind as she got ready to meet the Captain of the pirate ship.

Vera was ready to argue with James, but he seemed to realize his mistake. “Don’t worry, James. Meg can’t say no to me,” Vera was exaggerating, of course, but she just wanted to have the two of them relax. A few steps up the stairs, Eva told her about the fruit. Without hesitation, she jogged back down the stairs and went straight for the fruits. She hadn’t had mangos in a long while, and she was already planning on a what to cook. A pie perhaps? Hmmm, yes, mango rum pie. Her mouth was already watering. She had to shake her head to return to reality. No, she had to face this. Show Meg the stowaway now, make pie later.

Once the sack was slung over her shoulder, she started back up the stairs. Vera was already trying to come up with a plan, but she knew that there wouldn’t be much she could do. She would never dare challenge Meg’s final word. In that past, she’d bartered with the woman for better funds, but once Meg made up her mind and said no, Vera knew not to press her authority. Perhaps this was why they got along so well? Who knows. For now, she just needed to introduce Eva to her captain. As soon as she stepped on deck, Vera swiveled to find that head of fiery hair. It wasn’t difficult to spot Meg, standing beside Vale. With a silent nod to Eva, she stepped over to Meg.

“Captain.” First, the proper greeting. She bowed her head down for a moment, almost out of instinct, before continuing. “Pardon me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but we have… a guest on board who wishes to speak to you.” Vera then stepped to the side, gesturing to Eva to step forward. She bit her lip nervously, her doe eyes trained on her captain to see her response.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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Navigator
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Being stopped by the captain made Vale almost break out in an internal sweat. She watched Tessa take a few more steps before turning slowly but when Meg handed her the map, she breathed out a soft sigh of relief and nodded. She even did a double take heading up because Vale had to admit, the captain did look stunning in that dress. In her mind she also hoped Eva would be safe for now. Vale knew she was going to be found out sooner or later but she preferred a little later. At least long enough for her to work on the map and hopefully not be caught off guard. With it now in her possession, Vale was expected to get to work fast but the small bird she carried was taking more of her attention. Right before heading above deck, Valentina did stop at medic but she saw that Sunni was preoccupied at the moment with...Philip.

Vale didn't make herself known but she did roll her eyes at the helmsman. You have such bad timing, she thought before glancing back down at the bird. The colorful little thing had it's eyes open now but was still weak. It couldn't move much other than blink at her and Vale felt sad for the poor thing. She softly rubbed the back of it's head as she climbed above deck.

The navigator was just in time, everyone was at work getting the ship out of port. Tess was at the rigging and the anchor had just been lifted... they were finally going back out to sea. Heading towards the helm, Valentina climbed up onto the small wooden platform she had installed herself. It was sort of her own little spot and also where she built in her sundial/compass. She had been working on the contraption for years after learning a few things while traveling with her uncle. Some adjustments and teaks were needed which is why Valentina took the task of building it into the ship herself. Everything needed to be just right for it to work properly.

Vale placed the hat with the bird down on the wooden platform. She took a moment to pull off her jacket and folded it into a comfy square to lay the bird on before placing Tessa's hat on her head. Then it hit her. "water!" she blurted out under her breath, reaching for the pouch of fresh water she had laced to her belt. She shook her head as poured a little into the cap, placing it next to the bird. "Sorry lil pajarito, it has been a big day for the both of us, huh?" The colorful bird responded by sapping up the water. She sat next to it, pouring out a little more then criss-crossing her leg. Finally, Vale pulled the map out and unraveled it out in front of her. Her eyes scanned every inch of it, she was getting deep in thought when Philip and Rudy came to the helm. "Aye, Rudy." smiled Vale from where she sat, tipping Tessa's hat in his direction but gave another eye-roll towards the helmsman. "Philip." she simply said, returning her attention back to the map. Vale began tracing her finger over the parchment, figuring out which way to go best.

Her attention was taken again by the Captain herself striding right up to her. Vale looked up, greeting the captain with a nod and a grin. "Tis a beauty," she referenced the map. "We need to chart a course. Do you suggest going up and around or down and under." Valentina looked back at the map contemplating it when Rosia joined in. “Sorry Cap’n. I was b’low deck with Vera, she was takin’ me dress off.” Rosia said non-chalantly.

Rosia scanned the map they had laid out, mostly just seeing shapes as Meg traced her finger across it. Rosia pronounced the words to herself in her head, thinking back to her reading lessons with Vera. “Whenev’r we go up, it gets colder…” Rosia mumbled out loud, but mostly just to herself.

Vale acknowledged Rosia's comment giving a subtle nod to it. She traced the first path, "We can go up and over but," Vale paused for a moment looking up at Meg. "there is the possibility of running into ice and fewer ports... I don't think going north is worth it. The best is to go under." she explained, tracing out the second path going south. "We'll need to stick close enough to land to supply, but far enough away we won't be stopped." said Meg and Vale instantly agreed. "Yes, if we go under we have a few more places to port in between if anything." Vale pointed out Guicona, Snitinlos, Quinlterra, Isccumo, Serbe, Mobe and Beweyma.

When she went to look back up her eyes instantly locked with the two lasses coming up behind the captain. It was Vera and... Eva. “Captain.” Vera began. Valentina visibly gulped, she wasn't per say afraid of Meg, Vale just didn't want to go through the drama that might ensue. “Pardon me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but we have… a guest on board who wishes to speak to you.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper

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xRosia “Jack" Hienrik


Everybody in the world knows

Everybody in the world knows
Everybody in the world knows
Everybody in the world knows

I'm a little twisted, twisted

I'm a little twisted, twisted
I'm a little twisted, twisted
I'm a little twisted, twisted
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe Mate//#7C674A
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Rosia lightly skipped down the hall towards the stairs that led to the officer quarters. She had only recently moved her stuff in there after the mutiny and Meg moved into the Captain’s quarters. Luckily Rosia didn’t have much to move, she had a chest that she kept the majority of her clothes bundled up in, and then a couple barrels of miscellaneous items that she collected, her gold and treasures mixed a little bit everywhere in her stuff. Rosia didn’t really care about how she organized her stuff, to her it was organized and she knew where all her stuff was, mostly.

Rosia entered the quarters she tumbled onto her bed, quickly slipping out of the dress since it was already loosened before by Vera. After she took off the dress, she looked stared at it for a second, thinking back to Vera. She was right, it was a pretty dress, and she giggled back to thinking about how Vera squeezed her sides and how soft her hands were. Rosia was brought out of her thoughts by the waves hitting the side of the ship. “Oi. Leavin’ land ‘nd I ain’t even up top!” Rosia said to herself as she rolled off the bed to her chest and flipped it open, quickly grabbing some better clothes to wear on deck than a dress.

Quickly digging through she chest, she threw on the black short black vest that was basically her trademark and then a simple white shirt under it and dark blue pants with her boots that went almost up to her knee and sliding her Jack card into her left boot and small dagger to the side of her right boot. Rosia stood up quickly and grabbed her pistol belt as she headed towards the ship deck to where the fun was sure to be happening, and hopefully them getting to the treasure sooner rather than later. Rosia was going to check in Meg first and see if there was anything specific that needed to be tended to and then see if anyone needed help, maybe Tessa or Bill on the sails or mast.

After running up the stairs to the deck she turned and looked around, seeing everyone on the ship doing their part, giving Rosia a smile on her face. Everyone had a part of the ship, even though Rosia’s was a little looser than most, she still helped around as an extra pair of hands and being Meg’s First Mate. Rosia spotted the Captain shortly, on the helm talking with Vale and Sunni behind her, and skipped towards them, knowing she was a tad late. As she got up to the helm, Rosia buckled her pistol around her waist and adjusting it so it was behind her and out of the way, a little confused that Meg was still in her dress, but walking around to an empty side of the table they had the map laid out on. “Sorry Cap’n. I was b’low deck with Vera, she was takin’ me dress off.” Rosia said non-chalantly.

Rosia scanned the map they had laid out, mostly just seeing shapes as Meg traced her finger across it. Rosia pronounced the words to herself in her head, thinking back to her reading lessons with Vera. “Whenev’r we go up, it gets colder…” Rosia mumbled out loud, but mostly just to herself as she put her shark tooth earring into her ear. Rosia walked away for a second as Vale and Meg discussed more about the route they would take. She walked around the sundial and to the edge of the ship to lean over the railing, looking over the side, watching the waves hit the side of the ship. Rosia even thought about jumping in for a second if they weren’t already on a rush for this treasure.

“Captain.” Rosia heard Vera's voice, being a little surprised she was up on the helm. She quickly turned around and walked to the side of Meg before stopping in her tracks and seeing a woman she’s never seen before. Rosia looked at the woman, looked over the edge of the boat to see they weren’t near land anymore, looked at Vera and then back at the woman, turning her head for a second in thought. Where did t’is woman come from, and why she here? Rosia thought to herself, sliding her right hand behind her back and gripping onto her pistol, prepared for whatever could happen. Rosia trusted Vera wouldn't bring someone hostile up to the captain, but she was still confused. She was positioned so that Vale and Meg could probably see where her hand was, and Vera could more than likely assume where her hand was. But honestly, Rosia wouldn't care if anyone actually knew, including the new woman on the ship.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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M e g X| | XE v a

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H e l l f i r e | | T. B. A

C a p t a i n | | S t o w a w a y

#e6b800 | | #F54747






XXXXEvangeline stayed close to Vera as they walked. Eva crossed her arms and kept her eyes on Vera’s legs. The last thing she wanted to do was see Vale and or Tessa. She’d likely make it obvious she knew them and get them in trouble. When Vera began to speak, she listened carefully. When gestured to do so, she stepped forward to stand next to Vera. Eva only glanced at Meg’s face for a second before her eyes wandered down the woman’s dress and stayed at her feet. She noted how lovely the dress was. Eva wondered if the Captain always dressed so nice. Surprisingly, Eva wasn’t nervous. What was meant to happen would happen, and she had faith the outcome would be positive.

“Greetings Captain,” she paused to press her crossed arms closer to her chest, “My name is Evangeline, but I do go by Eva.” Eva kept her eyes on Meg’s feet. She wondered if Vale or Tessa was nearby. She knew others were near her and around the ship. Eva had to fight the urge to look around as the curious cat in her awoke. The last thing she wanted to do was seem distracted and offend Meg. Her expression stayed blank as she waited for a reply.

Meg’s gaze was on their brand new map, her mind working its way through the maze that was their journey. Talking with Vale helped, of course. She was an expert at what she did. Make no mistake. Rosia joined not soon after her own arrival, giving her own advice on their voyage. It was always appreciated and it helped to work out their options.

The three were huddled around the map when Meg heard Vera’s voice come from behind her. Judging by her cook’s tone, something was amiss on her ship. A… guest? Meg turned around, sure Vera was simply joking when she came face to face with… an unfamiliar face. Or, at least, she would have, had the girl not been a whole head shorter than her. The heeled shoes on Meg’s feet weren't helping either. Though, the girl didn’t look frightened. No… she looked curious.

Meg’s eyes narrowed a bit. Obviously, this dress was taking some of the seriousness of her position. The thing had to go. But first… She propped a leg up on the nearest railing to her, pulled the knife she borrowed from Vale from the garter strapped to her leg, and leaned against the table, cleaning the dirt from her fingernails with the tip. ”What brings you aboard my vessel, Evangeline?” She asked, purposely using her full name. Eva looked up through her eyelashes to make eye contact as she spoke.

“I would say fate has brought me aboard your lovely vessel. I saw my dearest friend for the first time in years tonight. Since they were needed here...I decided to come along. T-they are my only family left...”

Meg’s eyes narrowed a little more at the idea that someone had brought her aboard. Obviously, it was for a reason Meg… couldn’t exactly sympathize with since her family was dead or she had never known them to begin with, but… if her parents were still alive… she knew she’d want them with her, too. Still, that didn’t change the fact that they hadn’t asked permission of their captain before bringing aboard another mouth to feed. ”How did you get aboard my vessel?”

“Well, I came in a barrel. Sacks of mangos and apples are in the barrel...a gift from my prior home.”

Well… at least she didn’t come empty-handed. She thought, finishing with the cleaning of her left hand, she shifted the knife to her right hand. ”And who brought you aboard?” She didn’t really think it mattered much, but she would have to have a talk with them regardless. Otherwise, the others might start bringing on strangers willy-nilly.

“Captain, I can only tell you if you promise not to hurt them or have someone else hurt them. I won’t have them come into harm’s way because of me.”

Wrong answer, lass, she thought, her eyes turning to narrow slits. ”I don’t make promises to stowaways who tell me how to run my ship!” In a split second, she had the knife flipped, blade facing out towards Eva. ”Tell me who brought you aboard!”

“I am sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to make it seem as if I was telling you how to run your ship. I would have never done that intentionally...Also, I apologize that I came on your ship in secret. It seemed like the only way of not being separated from my friend,” she took a solid deep breath as she prepared for the worst, “But I refuse to tell you if it means harm to anyone, but me.”

Eva’s tone was serious at the end and her lips were set in a stubborn pout. She apologized, and Eva would rather die than have Vale and her friend hurt. She glanced at the blade and finally looked around as the curious cat won. If she were to die, then she may as well see what the ship looked like. Eva saw Vale and some other woman nearby. She forced herself to keep her gaze on the other woman. She didn’t want to give Vale away. She noticed the woman had her hand behind her back, but she couldn’t give it much thought. Finally, she returned her gaze to the Captain with sad eyes. At least she saw Vale once more before she died.

If it had been a member of her crew, Meg would have strung them up and left them to hang by their wrists for a few hours. Which was a tempting punishment for Philip...but Eva was not a member of her crew. The way she spoke was eloquent enough for her to know she was no slum wench. At least that wasn’t how she had begun her life. Meg sighed, the fire remaining in her eyes, but she leaned against the table once more. She’d figure it out eventually anyway. ”What are your skill sets?” She flipped the knife back around so it was no longer pointed at Eva, but it was also no longer set to cleaning her nails.

Eva let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding. She forced herself to keep her gaze on Meg. Evangeline really wanted to look at Vale, but she knew that was a bad idea. Now filled with relief and with a question she would willingly answer, she smiled at the Captain. She heard her heart pounding in her ears, but she was happy. It looked like everything would be okay. James may have said Meg was like hellfire, but fire kept people warm and safe. It could burn and cause pain, but everything could have a bad side.

“Thank you, Captain,” she paused to loosen her crossed arms; she had been tense, “I am best at sewing, and I have worked with a blacksmith for some time. I had taken a break when traveling, but I can make good weapons...I have always done odd jobs as well. The odd jobs most recently involved cleaning, running errands, and or just fixing things. Though, I am a quick learner and am always willing to learn. If you need me to do something, I’ll happily do it and do my best to do it well. Although, I don’t do well with things that involve...heights...”

Meg tried her best not to smirk at the idea of putting the lass in the ropes with Tessa.

“I can defend myself though. I don’t own any knives at the moment, but I do know my way around them. I have upgraded to boarding axes for my weapons of choice...” she added. Eva smiled to herself as she remembered why she upgraded. She pulled herself from her little memory to look at the Captain. Evangeline smiled at her with warmth in her expression. She was grateful to Meg now.

“Although, the question I should ask is, what kind of person do you need most on your ship Captain?” she asked. She knew she likely just rambled, but at least she answered the Captain.

Meg smiled smugly, taking to flipping the knife in her hand now. ”That’s the thing… we don’t really need anyone else on this ship.” Not entirely true. They could always use the hands if there was room and right now there technically was. However, those they added would need to have a place. ” However, I could find a place for you if you’re willing to work. There is no room for useless individuals on my vessel. If you have no use, I’ve no use for you. Savvy?”

“I am always willing to work Captain.”

Meg thought for a moment. Her skill sets were wide and largely… only useful as an assistant. She had one already in Rosia. Vera could probably use the help and Rosia could probably use an underling as well. Right now, they needed the ship underway which was more or less a success considering there was wind in their sails and the land was shrinking in the distance. They would soon have their heading as well.

”If you’re to stay on my ship, you will work under Rosia,” She nodded to her first mate who currently had one hand on her pistol. Meg tried not to roll her eyes. ”And Vera, whom you’ve already met. I’m sure they could use your help. If you’re going to be aboard my vessel you’re going to work. Hard. I want no complaints and you will obey my orders or you’ll be keelhauled. Savvy?”

“I’ll be happy to help in any way I can,” she replied. She glanced at the woman who she assumed was Rosia. Meg had nodded at her. Evangeline wondered if the woman had her hand on a weapon. I guess a stranger on a ship could be seen as a danger. After the thought, she glanced at Vera and flashed her a smile before her eyes went back to Meg.

“Anything else Captain?”

Meg watched the newcomer a moment. And then another. Hoping the girl would squirm even a little. Then she flashed a smile, spun the dagger around, and said, ”Welcome aboard neophyte.” Then she stabbed it into the wood of the table beside the map and began to walk towards her quarters. ”Vale! Set a course! If Philip is still drunk, take the helm!” She waved her hand in the air. ”Rosia! With me!”

She walked by Rudy and Philip just as they were walking by. ”Our new crew member. Treat her nice now, lad.” She said as she ruffled the powder monkey’s hair. Then she continued to her quarters.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper

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xxxxxPYON SUN-AH
dialogue colour; #fa8072
plague || the surgeon


Meg had a way of telling stories, one that made Sunni smile, no matter how else she was feeling. Meg had a talent for making Sunni smile anyway, for making her feel wanted, important. She knew she was important on the ship. And, well, for now, Sunni had to ignore the butterflies that she felt every time Meg looked at her with that smirk, with those dangerous eyes. What she wanted was not important. She wasn't about to ruin the ship's dynamic. She wasn't about to ruin their friendship. She had Meg in her life, and that was what was important. She had somewhere where she was valued as a doctor and a person, and that was important.

But when Meg held out her hand, Sunni took it, lacing her fingers through Meg's, and followed her through the decks of the ship. In those moments, Sunni's imagination got the better of her. The thought of running anywhere with Meg like this, anywhere people could see. Of a soft kiss, a shared joke, and of more. So much more. But then they reached the deck and Meg stepped away once they reached the deck. Sunni swallowed and raised her chin a little, folding her arms as she watched the activity on the ship. Captain Hellfire was needed. Not Meg.

The ship was full of activity. It brought back a little of her smile as she watched the activity, and watched as their ship started to pull out of the bay. Meg said she was going to talk to Vale, and Sunni followed. Most of the terms would probably go above her head, but anything for a few more minutes around their captain.

Vera's voice made Sunni raise an eyebrow, partially because of her presence, but more so because of her words. A stowaway. She folded her arms and made the decision to watch, not interfere. She sincerely hoped her skills as a doctor wouldn't be needed. She doubted it would. But still, she watched.

At one point, Sunni started questioning her duties on the ship. Not her loyalties. But as a doctor, she was expected to aid all, no matter who. Would that include someone her captain had declared an enemy? If Meg injured this girl, how would she react at Sunni helping her? She internally gritted her teeth. She'd just have to do her best to stop that from happening. She didn't want to cross Meg under any circumstances. But sometimes it needed to be done.

Thankfully, something about the girl seemed to impress Meg. Sunni did her best to suppress the burning jealousy in her stomach. She watched her captain head back towards her quarters, and simply looked at their newcomer. "Welcome on board. Sun-Ah, the surgeon on this ship. People call me Sunni. Or Plague. Don't annoy me and we'll be fine," Sunni said, barely managing to keep the edge out of her voice. "You need a hand in the kitchens, Vera?" She asked genuinely, turning to her friend.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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xRosia “Jack" Hienrik


Everybody in the world knows

Everybody in the world knows
Everybody in the world knows
Everybody in the world knows

I'm a little twisted, twisted

I'm a little twisted, twisted
I'm a little twisted, twisted
I'm a little twisted, twisted
Image
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe Mate//#7C674A
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Rosia stood and watched the conversation between Meg and this stowaway happen, she thought about commenting something at first, but could tell Meg wouldn’t have wanted to be interrupted right now. So Rosia just stood aside and waiting and took mental notes, waiting to see what the situation would turn into. Though if it was Rosia’s choice, they might bust out the plank for a little bit of fun.

During most of the conversation, there wasn’t much going on. Rosia heard what the Stowaway called herself, Evangeline/Eva, but Rosia quickly dismissed that. She wasn’t one for actual names, as seen around the ship when she calls everyone by their alias and not really caring about what their name was, like with Nameless. But Rosia did need to know everyone’s names since some people still used them when talking about others.

One thing did catch Rosia’s attention and get her a little excited. Meg had asked a question about who brought Eva onboard, and giving an answer that Meg didn’t exactly like. When Meg turned the blade to Eva and raised her voice, Rosia’s heart skipped a beat with excitement, her grip on her pistol tightening. Rosia didn’t exactly want Meg to stab this girl, or be forced to draw her pistol, but it would be a little bit excitement, though she was also a little disappointed when Meg leaned back and the situation didn’t escalate.

Towards the end of the conversation the hostility died down, and Rosia realized there wouldn’t be a need for much violence. She was surprised when Meg said the stowaway would work under Rosia and Vera, depending on what was needed. Rosia subconsciously bit her bottom lip when Meg said the stowaway would work with Vera, maybe a little jealousy, or maybe just upset there wouldn’t be a walking of the plank.

Rosia was snapped back to reality when Meg called her name and told her to follow. Rosia let go of her pistol for a second and turned towards Vale. “If ye need me, I’ll be ‘round, especially if Nameless needs me on t’e wheel. Just yell.” She said towards Vale and skipped along to catch up with Meg as she walked towards her quarters. As she walked past the stowaway, her pistol would be revealed to be behind her back, but she wasn’t too worried. Also, when Rosia walked past Vera, she put her hand on Rosia’s arm and told her to be careful, Rosia replied with a nod and a smile, getting a warm feeling inside before she followed the captain into her quarters.

When Rosia entered the captain quarters behind Meg, she closed the door behind her and quickly grabbed a small crate stood upon it. it would help her be at an easier height to assist Meg in taking her dress, since she is taller than her. “Stowaway huh? Wonderin’ who brought her aboard…” Rosia said towards Meg.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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>Four Days Later<
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XXXXOnce they left the island of Hartford, Meg had requested that Vale set a course for the smaller islands off the coast of Snitinlos. These small islands were really part of the Guicona territory, but they were so far from the mainland that they remained empty. Well... empty of people. The islands were used as storage for the Land king's men as they sailed from island to island. They were also used by pirates. James's crew had been multiple times to stock up when they expected to be on a long journey across the sea. Or, like in this specific instance, they were being chased and they needed supplies fast.

The island typically contained alcohols, nonperishables, and barrels upon barrels of fresh water. Meg knew water would be the most important. You can go for days without food but not very long without water. And while they'd be surrounded by water on their journey, Meg knew that the ocean wasn't a water source. So, they were there for the water, some of the nonperishables, and whatever fruit, veggies, and meat they could find. Sometimes they found a few barrels of goods that were fruit and vegetables based, but they were only there when the king's men had dropped them off to be back for them shortly.

As she stood on forecastle, salty sea breezes blowing through her hair, Meg took a deep, relaxing breath. She so badly wanted to dive into the sea and swim for an hour instead of lug supplies to and from the ship. They had reached the island now and Meg decided she'd split the crew into two groups. Half would stay on the ship and keep a lookout for enemies and the other half would go on land to haul off goods. She wanted Rosia with her on land. As the first mate, she was technically Meg's second in command due to lack of a quartermaster. She wanted Tessa on the ship to keep an eye on the ship for her. While Bill was the boatswain, she wasn't sure she could trust him just yet. He was the one opposed to the mutiny. Vale would be good to have on land in case they came across any trouble. Bill and Philip she wanted on land with her. Both so she could keep an eye on them and so they could do some heavy lifting. She had a difficult time deciding whether or not to bring Jules. Primarily because he was excellent for heavy lifting, but if trouble arrived on the seas he would need to ready the crew that remained there. So Jules would have to stay. Rudy will be staying too. Meg wanted him up in the crow's nest to keep watch. They really needed someone devoted to lookout so Rudy could help Jules more easily. Vera and Eva will need to stay as well.

Meg felt guilty about having to leave Vera behind, but she wasn't sure Eva was trusted enough on land and they needed people watching the ship. She had enough people joining her on land. She'd have to look for something special to bring back for Vera. Maybe a sack of sugar if they had it.

As Eva came to mind, Meg realized she still hadn't figured out who had brought the girl on board. However... she was spending a good amount of time with Tessa. Meg's stomach squeezed a little at the possibility of her friend doing such a thing without even telling her after the fact. She would have to talk to her before they left.

Which reminded her... she needed to inform James of their leaving. Not to request permission or even because she was in the habit of informing her prisoners of her whereabouts. James was different. James had been a friend. And... maybe she could convince him that things were going to be worth it. As she made her way down to the bring, she decided that she'd give orders when she returned to the deck.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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XXXXEva smiled as she saw Tessa. She had unintentionally been hanging around Tessa more than she should have. She had been avoiding Vale like the plague. Evangeline didn’t want to get her dearest friend hurt by Meg. Since Tessa was with Vale when they met, she decided to stick to her. Eva felt like she could trust the blue eyed woman. It hadn’t clicked for her that if she hung around Tessa, people would think she brought her on the ship. Tessa’s back was to Eva, so it was easy for Eva to walk right up behind her. She went on tippy toes and stroked Mango’s, the bird they had found, head with a finger. He was sitting comfortably on Tessa’s hat. The little fella, who they assumed was a fella, seemed to be doing better.

“Hello Mango, is Tessa being nice to you?” she asked. Tessa jumped hearing the voice behind her. She was getting ready to punch whoever it was but stopped short seeing it was Eva and scolded her.

“Fuck do you want now?” Tessa said, the scold on her face not easing up. Evangeline flashed Tessa a smile.The woman did amused her.

“I just want to spend time with Mango. You seem to be hoarding him,” she said playfully. Tessa turned to start walking away, looking at some nearby ropes.

“It isn’t my fault little birdie won’t get off my damn hat,” Tessa said as she walked.

“Well...can I have your hat then? I’ll give it back to you once I get him on my shoulder or something,” she replied. Eva walked alongside Tessa to keep the conversation going.

“Fuck no. You cannot touch me hat. Fuck off,” Tessa said, not sounding as angry as she would when speaking to others. Eva placed a hand on Tessa’s shoulder to try to get her to stop walking. “Please?” she asked.

“Hmmm,” Tessa stopped for a moment and looked at her. “Fuck your please.”

“If you said please when we met at the tavern, you wouldn’t owe me a drink,” she replied, only risking the words as no one was nearby. Eva got on her tippy toes again. Carefully, but quickly, she lifted Tessa’s hat off her head. “I am going to check on James. I don’t think he has seen Mango since I got here,” she added before she headed down to the brig. As she walked, she placed Mango on her shoulder.

Rosia had just woken up from a small nap upon the crowsnest when she heard some talk below her. As she rolled over and peaked her head over the edge she watched as Tessa and the stowaway interacted. Tessa seemed to have taking a liking to the girl. She giggled to herself when she heard Tessa curse at the lady for asking to touch her hat. But when she heard the stowaway talk about a tavern, Rosia stopped giggling and was confused, The ship hadn’t docked for days, how would they gone to a tavern toge- Rosia interrupted her own thoughts with a gasp, realizing it was Tessa who had brought the stowaway onboard.

Tessa followed after Eva, trying her damndest to get her hat back. As she followed, she muttered curses under her breath. Though they were directed at Eva, she wasn’t expecting the girl to actually listen to a word she was saying. “Ya don’t need to grab someone’s hat like that. Just take the fuckin’ birdie, don’t need my whole fuckin’ hat.” Eva stopped in front of bars that kept James a prisoner. She looked away from him to look at Tessa.

“I said I would give it back once I got him off the hat, but you refused to give me the hat,” she replied, matter of factly. Her gaze returned to James. Tessa’s hat was held between her hands. She smiled at James. “How are you are you today James? I brought Mango down to see you.”

“Ahoy there, James,” Tessa said with a small wave as she tried to grab her hat. Eva turned slightly, so Tessa couldn’t grab her hat. Mango was on her shoulder, but she didn’t want to give the hat back yet..

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James had been in the brig for four days. Well five if you count the day before they actually left port. He had been visited a couple times by the crew and by Eva. Apparently Meg hadn’t chewed her up and spit her out. In fact, it seems she had made her a member of the crew. It surprised him, but he couldn’t deny that he was glad. He rubbed at the stubble forming on his chin and continued his song, ”Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows… me sorrow.”

He heard voices and footsteps coming down the stairs and into the brig. The first person to make their appearance was Eva, a familiar hat in her hands and an orange and green bird on her shoulder who was looking much better than when he last saw him. A smile formed on his face, but it quickly turned to one of distress when he saw the scowling woman stalking up behind Eva. Oh Tessa was angry.

Eva greeted him first. He was about to respond when Tessa interrupted with a greeting of her own. He gave a strained smile, feeling the tension in the air. James had known Tessa long enough to know two things: Don’t make her angry and never, ever touch the hat. Unless you were Vale. ”’Ello Eva. Tessa. What brings you to me quarters on this fine…” He glanced to the side of the ship where a small bit of light was peaking through. ”Day?”

By the time Rosia roped her way down from the crowsnest, Tessa had already followed Eva downstairs, Rosia quickly followed after them below deck towards the brig. As she caught up to them, she overheard Tessa and Eva talking with James. Rosia had only come down here when she followed and helped Vera bring James food. “Oi! Riggknot ye turncoat! It was you that brought the stowaway onto the ship.” Rosia said, announcing her presence to the others as she came down the stairs. “Captain Hellfire won’t be like’n this!” Hearing the familiar voice, Tessa knew exactly who it was. She rolled her eyes and turned towards the voice.

“Oi now! Does it really fuckin’ matter anymore?” As she spoke, Tessa made her way over. At the back of her mind she got the thought that she was lucky to always carry a spare rope around with her. “Look at ‘er! She’s a fuckin’ kitten, for christ sake!” She kept moving forward until she was a foot or so in front of her. “Does it really look like the girlie’s any harm?”

Rosia took a quick glance at Eva, who smiled and gave a small wave to Rosia, before looking back up at Tessa right in front of her. “Nay, but ye went behind the Cap’n’s back.” Tessa nodded at this.

“Alright, if that’s how ya’r thinkin’,” Tessa said then cracked her knuckles. What proceeded was something that you’d have to see to believe it. Tessa seemed to pull what seemed to be an endless rope out of nowhere. “Ey, whatcha doin’ with th-” The rope went through the air it what seemed like endless directions. There was cursing. There was kicking. There was a near escape then back into the rope hurricane that was Tessa, a mere rope, and her hands. “Tessa! Stop that right now!” Eva scolded, crossing her arms under her chest. Tessa actually listened to this, but is was more because she was done. She stood up and Rosia seemed to fall a few centimeters onto the ground, now tied up completely with her arms bound behind her back, her legs bound, and a gag that seems to be a spare handkerchief. “Aye, I think that may be good enough,” Tessa said showing that she may be a bit proud of herself.

James sat and stared wide eyed at the events unfolding before him. He raised an eyebrow at Rosia’s accusation. So they didn’t know that it wasn’t only Tessa, but Vale as well. The fact that they had to guess meant Eva hadn’t told Meg. Interesting. When Tessa pulled out the rope, he honestly thought it was for Eva. I mean… she had touched the hat. He was thrown for a loop when instead she began to tie up Rosia. ”What are ye doin?” He asked them, more surprise in his voice than concern. It was the most bizzare thing to James.

That’s when Meg made her way down into the brig. She stopped short at what she saw. Her first mate tied up. Tessa, the only one who could’ve tied up Rosia, standing beside her. Eva standing off to the side, Tessa’s hat in her hand an… is that a bird on her shoulder? She thought she had heard chirping while visiting Sunni the past couple of days… It appears Eva wasn’t the only stowaway.

And James just sat there and watched. Watched her rigger tie her first mate… shit. ”What the bloody hell is going on!?” She demanded, eyes simmering. ”Me first mate is tied up. Me rigger the culprit and…” Then she remembered why she wanted to talk to Tessa earlier. ”Tessa Locke. Were you the one to bring aboard the stowaway?” Her eyes narrowed. Her plan had been to pull her aside and speak to her privately but the scene before her… and with James watching… She’d have to punish her friend or risk the crew questioning her leadership.

Hearing her name - her full name - Tessa knew then that she had fucked up. She let out a long low sigh and turned to face her captain. “Aye that’s the question, isn’t it?”
She sighed again, and looked over at Eva then rolled her eyes. “Aye, this is a fuckin mess,” She mumbled, putting a hand to her forehead and sighing again. “I guess there be no more reason to keep it a secret nor lie.The short answer to that, Captain, is yes. Yes, I did bring the girlie aboard,” Tessa admitted. Then added under her breath, “Even though I didn’t want to.” Eva very slowly, silently, walked towards Tessa as she spoke. Once she finished speaking, she took a step to the side to stand in front of Tessa. Evangeline moved the hand with the hat behind her back to give it to Tessa. Her expression was blank as she stared at Meg.

James whistled in the cell beside them. ”Ye fucked up.” Meg’s glare turned on him and he stepped away from the bars. She turned her attention back to the women before her. ”I’m listening.” She took note of the fact that Eva now stood between them. The girl was going to get herself killed one day doin’ that. Tessa sighed once again. She took her hat, placed it on her head, and walked around Eva until she came face to face with Meg.

“The long answer,” Tessa started. “I was at a whorehouse and met this lass. The lass told me she had.. No family left. As you know.. I don’t have any family. But I found one here on this ship. I figured ’oi, this young lass could use some help.’ So.. I helped. Stuffed her in a barrel and here we are now.” She paused a moment for it to sink in as she hoped nothing about her gave away this this was only half the truth. “I’m sorry I hadn’t told you from the start, Captain. But I knew where we were going and that we didn’t need anyone new,” She added, then stood and waited for a reply. Eva just smiled as Tessa spoke. She gave the woman a quick and tight hug from behind once she finished speaking. Evangeline was grateful and now in debt to Tessa.Though, Tessa still owed her that drink.

Meg sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, the skin tight around her eyes. ”If you had told me sooner, it would’ve been fine.” She looked up at Tessa, their blue eyes meeting. ”But you went behind me back and you hid her.” She motioned down at Rosia, still tied up. ”Now you go and do this?” She sighed, her shoulders rising with command, but slowly as if they were pushing up against an invisible weight. ”One hour from the mast.” She said simply. Tessa had been the one to string ‘em up so many a time. She knew what the punishment was without Meg needing to explain.

She kneeled beside her first mate, pulled the knife from her boot Meg knew she kept there, and cut her loose from the ropes. There was no untying a rope Riggknot had tied. ”I was planning on leaving you in charge of the ship. I’ll have to leave Vera to that.” She returned the knife to her first mate, handle out with one hand and helped her up with the next.

Rosia wiggled out of the ropes and stood up with the help of Meg, and putting her knife back in her boot, nodding her head and thanking her captain. Rosia looked over at Tessa. “Ye still a turncoat...” Rosia said with a slight smirk, she wasn’t one to hold grudges, plus it would entertain her to see Tessa hanging from the mast. Meg shot her a warning look before walking back towards the steps and up to the deck to give orders.

”All hands to the deck!” She yelled as loudly as she could, her voice edged with anger. They would know she meant business. Once her crew assembled, she began. ”We’re going onto the island for supplies. I will be going ashore with Rosia, Vale, Sunni, Bill, and Philip. Jules, Rudy, and Eva will stay on the ship. Vera will be left in charge. And Tessa.” Meg paused. Upset at the words that were about to leave her mouth. ”Tessa is to hang by her ankles from the mast while we are gone.” While she didn’t normally explain her orders, she felt this one needed an explanation. ”While I don’t punish me crew for small indiscretions such as bringing aboard a new crew member, Tessa did so behind me back and was found tying up the first mate below deck. Because of her actions, she must undergo this punishment. Alone.”

She pointed to the horizon. ”We meet back here when the sun is three hands high off the horizon. Dismissed.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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J U L I A NX| | XD R A G O N

| Master Gunner |
| #B02E04 |
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It had been a long four days. There was tension among the crew members, not violent tension, but tension nonetheless. Jules tried to stay out of it as much as possible, and instead woke up early every morning, did the usual morning gun rounds with the gunners, and stayed on deck, usually with a cigar, until midday. Then they did the rounds again, and Jules supervised his crew, especially little Rudy, to ensure everything was done professionally and quickly.

On the second day, Jules finally noticed the new young woman on the ship, somehow not noticing her at dinner the night before. He asked her questions about herself, and she called him Mama Bear teasingly. She was a polite girl, vaguely secretive, but weren’t they all. Jules hadn’t seen James all that much. He’d delivered food once or twice, and the two had made some effort to talk to one another, but it was odd. Jules supported both Meg and James, each for different reasons, and he wasn’t quite sure how to express that to either person.

On the fourth day, he heard the call of land ho! from the deck, and looked out at the approaching island. He adjusted the black band around his arm. Two months, five days, and thirteen hours. He had no idea how long he would keep count for, but the guilt still ate at the back of his mind and he took a drag from the cigar in his hand. It was, at least, a sunny day, that made the guilt feel a little less intrusive. Steps sounded coming up from the brig, and Hellfire made her way purposefully on deck.

”Cap’n on deck,” Jules muttered under his breath, and put out his cigar between his calloused fingers and sticking it in his chest pocket.

”All hands to the deck! We’re going onto the island for supplies. I will be going ashore with Rosia, Vale, Sunni, Bill, and Philip. Jules, Rudy, and Eva will stay on the ship. Vera will be left in charge. And Tessa.” Meg paused. ”Tessa is to hang by her ankles from the mast while we are gone. While I don’t punish me crew for small indiscretions such as bringing aboard a new crew member, Tessa did so behind me back and was found tying up the first mate below deck. Because of her actions, she must undergo this punishment. Alone. We meet back here when the sun is three hands high off the horizon. Dismissed.”

Julian raised an eyebrow and turned to Riggknot, eyeing her hatless form. That story was a bit unlike her, but Jules brushed it off and made eye contact with Eva, who was holding the little bird that the crew had taken a liking to, and Riggknot’s hat. Interesting. He gestured his head towards the usual place of punishment.

”Been awhile since we’ve had to string anyone up, ey?” he moved up behind Riggknot after Meg was off and nudged her with his elbow. ”Shame its gotta be you. But don’t worry, I’ll do the tyin’ and I won’t do it as tight as you do, I’m not as skilled as you anyhow, none o' us are.”

As much as Jules wanted to stretch his land legs, he understood that it was important for the Master Gunner to stay on deck in case something were to happen or an attack were to occur. He’d much rather a quiet day anyway, not sure that he could handle the business of trade and crew's rambunctious nature at the moment. He made his way over to the mast to start preparing the usual tie-up.

Passing Bill on his way, he turned to his friend and flipped him three silver. ”Oy, pick me up some tobacco and leaves, I’m runnin’ low.” Bill knew what he liked. He’d tobacco habit a few years ago, after the militia, where most of the other men smoked. He had never invested in a pipe, instead using leaves to wrap makeshift cigars, something odd for someone who worked around gunpowder so often. Of course, he never lit one below deck , and only ever smoked on a clear day, over the gunwale above the water, to avoid any danger.

When he reach the yardarm, he reached up and began the tie, and then turned back the Hellfire, now prepping her little departure crew.

” ’ow long is this t' be for, cap?” Hopefully not too long, Jules wasn’t a punishment sort of mood. Sometimes, especially when Riggknot wasn’t the one being strung up, this whole process could be rather fun. But if most of the crew would be off-ship, and he had to do the tying, it wasn’t as nice of a process. He could only hope this wouldn’t be too long a punishment, Eva was a nice girl anyway, not that this mattered to Riggknot's participation in bringing her aboard, but Hellfire seemed to like her enough to keep her. He looked around at the rest of the faces of the crew, wondering which of the other members could have been an accomplice in the endeavor. Perhaps there was more to do today than Jules had originally planned. That was good, he supposed, despite his reluctance for punishment. It would keep his mind off Armand. An interesting day had begun.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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Four long days. The stranger aboard the ship, or Eva as she was called, spent her days with Tessa, or talking with James in the brig. Each and every time Rudy saw her, he made a point to huff and look away. He'd spent his hours either helping Vera in the kitchen, or talking to Jules, Bill, or Rosia when things were calm. Mostly though, Rudy had played his games whenever his cleaning duties were resolved. Well, mostly resolved. Cleaning a ship from top to bottom was hard, especially with naught but a scrub-brush. Phillip hadn't even let Rudy steer the ship since that first launching from the ports. Something or other about the importance of keepin track of the waves and the stars. Mostly, he was met with drunken banter and excuses that seemed as shakey as a landowner's sea legs. On the good nights, he slept above deck, but on the rougher ones, it was within the battery. The bitter, smell of gunpowder and cannon polish, mixed with the latent brass, wood, and sea of the world around him became his comfort smells. The most eventful thing to happen, from Rudy's perspective at least, was his attempt to swindle some of the more potent drinks from the ship's stores.

It was only when they had approached thier next destination did the monotony change. Jules, the rest of the gunner crew, and the whole ship seemed to come to life in and of itself. Hustle and bustle, commands being barked from the top to the bottom, each and every available hand bringing the crew to come to rest just beyond thier target. Again, Rudy was left with the very important task of lookout. What exactly he was to lookout for had been left unclear, as there hadn't been any sign of King's men for quite some time. At first he was thinking to lookout for strangers, but the last time they found one, they'd recruited her. And so, Rudy sat in the crow's nest, a beautiful brass and copper spyglass resting in his hands. He'd been scanning the island shores and culverts for any sign of... anything but pretty much found what he'd expected to see. Dusty sandbanks, tropical trees and half-marshes of submerged jungle. It was a beautiful untamed locale. If only those bastard teachers could see him now. Who needs to read books when you got views like this?

Finally he turned his attention down towards the ship. Vera was down there somewhere. He knew Meg had wanted her aboard, keeping an eye on the new girl. Rudy wasn't sure why it mattered someone kept an eye on her or not, the girl had that air of lightness, dreaminess, of far-fetched dreams. The kind of girl who could be thrown anywhere, crack a smile and reach towards her skybound dreams. Rudy knew her kind well. Back on the mainland, amid the endless readings from scripture and the time spent cleaning the nooks and crannies of the church, a single other girl always seemed to drift in and out. The nuns had said she was homeless, and that it was only her faith in the Almighty that kept a smile on her face, food in her stomach, and coin in her hand. Rudy had always suspected thievery or even that her dumb smiles got pity from seabound men, and in their infinite shortsightedness, gave chunks of their wages to help keep her aloft. At least, that's what the other owl-faced acolyte kept saying. So in the end, it didn't matter who kept on eye on her, she’d manage to find trouble one way or the other. Almost as if on cue, Meg burst out from the lower decks of the ship. She seemed angry. If Rudy knew anything from living on this ship, it was that Hellfire earned her name. She was steaming. Announcements were made, but only the most prominent was heard.

“Tessa is to hang by her ankles from the mast while we are gone.”

Rudy was surprised. He'd been waiting for the upstart, but not for Tessa to be involved. She was strong, firm, quiet, and grouchy for sure, but also didn't seem like the kind who would take the bait often left by those like Eva’s kind. He sighed. He needed to let them cool down first, before he stepped down to figure out what was going on. He pulled out his grubby, misshapen cards. The 8th of spades’ corner was completely torn now, but Rudy shuffled them as good as he could anyway, and set up a game of Patience. Halfway through, the Captain disembarked. Rudy didn't bother looking up. The sound of ropes and knots being toyed with pinged a long discordant tune, as if the strings of a massive instrument had been plucked. It was only when Rudy reached again for that 8 of Spades did a sharp, throaty Kaw interrupt his train of thought.

Rudy snapped to attention. A large, black-beaked, bird sat at the edge of the nest, watching Rudy with a single glossy, midnight eye and the remaining crew with the other. It was a Raven. A bird of vile connotations sent from the pits of the underworld to plague the world of the living with terror and misfortune. It was a creature of infinite bad luck, and a premonition of terrible things to come. A living bad omen. Still, Rudy watched the creature. There's no way it was here for them, right? No nobody else could see the bird, But that would mean… This bird is for me..

A chill ran down Rudy's spine. He looked for something to toss at the bird, and dug through his pockets when he didn't find anything. Finally his fingers grabbed something hard and smooth. In one fluid motion he pulled out a dark brassy something and threw it straight at the fiendish bird. The brass rivet scrap sailed off the edge of the nest, and the raven took to the sky with another menacing Kaw. Rudy couldn't bring himself to move for a few seconds. He needed a minute to calm and collect himself. Finally, looking around the edge of the nest for any sign of Meg, he swung his legs over onto the ladder and began his descent. He needed to be near people now, damned if he was disobeying the Captain's orders, everyone else was doing it, why shouldn't he?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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Tessa followed Meg up to the dock. Though she knew the punishment and she was more than willing to take it, she wasn’t at all happy about it. And she wasn’t happy about what she had to do right now. Eva, she started under her breath and leaned closer to the girl as she took her hat off her head. “Take me hat to Vale,” she paused a moment and said even more softly, please, Then handed the hat to the smaller girl then walked out on deck.

Vera had spent the majority of the sailing day cooking; she used the meat scraps from the past few days to make some sausages. It was a grueling, slow, and messy task, so once she had set the completed meat-links to the side, she decided to take some time to herself. On the deck, she took in the sun, only to fall asleep under its warmth. As much as she needed it, the sleep was a fitful, uncomfortable one. Vera would have thanked Meg personally from rousing her if she hadn’t been too busy beginning to bark orders at her crew. She couldn’t help but scowl as she heard of Tessa’s wrongdoing. Weren’t Tessa and Rosia friends? At least, that’s what Vera thought. Ah, well. Sometimes scraps happen...

As Meg spoke, Tessa listened. Her usual scowl was on her face and she wasn’t looking nowhere in particular. As the final orders were given and Jules came up to get this over with. She stopped herself from saying something along the lines of ’I coulda tied meself up, ya’know’ thinking it’d sound too much like a joke. She followed Jules, ready to be hanged by her souls.

“Aye love,” Jules grinned, knowing Tessa didn’t particularly enjoy his nickname for just about everyone on board. “Here we go then.” He grabbed the ropes and began to complete the complicated knot that would tie Tessa up just high enough so he could get her down again, which was relatively high because of his size. It took him a moment, much longer than it would have the famed Riggknot herself, but he tied it nonetheless, then took a step back and bowed her towards the knot. “After you, madam.”

Tessa nodded as she mentally prepared herself to be upside down for an extended period of time. She stepped forward to the knot, taking a quick once over look at it to ensure she won’t just fall. Then into the knot she stepped, one foot at a time.

Julian shook his head with laughter, as if he couldn’t believe he was actually doing this, then pulled down on the opposite rope, making sure Tessa’s head didn’t hit the deck. The rope pulled her up into the air over Jules head, and he watched her sway back and forth with the movement of the ship. “Doin’ alright up there?” He asked, as her face was now level with his, though turned upside down.

Tessa watched the world - or more like the ship - go from being right side up to upside down. She was a bit disoriented at first, but didn’t pay it much mind as everything slowly came to a gentle stray. “As alright as I’d ever be in this position,” she started then stared at Jules for a moment. “Ya know, you look a bit like a bearded wench from this angle.”

“You git,” he nudged her gently, and she swayed more. “Ah, ya look pretty much tha’ same from this angle.” He turned away to find if Vera was standing anywhere near them to see her reaction to the whole endeavor.

The whole situation made Vera uncomfortable. She didn’t enjoy the barbaric nature of these punishments. Of course, Meg had her reasons clearly. It often works, but it just as often doesn’t. Seeing Tessa hanging there caused her stomach to twist into knots. She approached Jules, unable to understand the almost gleeful look on his face. “Aye, leave her be, Jules,” She scolded him, albeit half-heartedly. The absolute beast of a man would likely do as he pleases, but she hoped the title of “in charge” would help persuade him. “She’s already hanging. Don’t need to double the punishment by having you bat at her like a kitten.”

Jules jumped to attention, hand to his head in a salute. “Aye aye Madam captain in charge.” He then went at ease, smiling down at Vera, who had a concerned look on her face. He patted her on the shoulder good-naturedly. “Seriously love, though she may deserve it sometimes, I don’t like it as much as you do, jus’ haven’ some fun.” He turned back to the woman hanging at his height. “Now you jus’ let me know if ya start feelin’ queasy, ya hear? Rudy won’t wanna have to swab th’ deck all over again.” He turned back to Vera to see if she needed anything from him other than the usual arms checks.

Even though she knew he was teasing her, Vera couldn’t help but pout. She wasn’t put in charge very often, and it was something she quite enjoyed. “Quit that!” She huffed, landing a light slap on his arm. “It’s no fun being punished, even with your charm and wit sprinkled about.” Vera flashed her own grin, standing up a bit straighter. Unfortunately, as much as she can try, she would never be at eye level with Jules and his immense stature. “Don’t you have something you should be doing? Make yourself useful,” She continued with her chiding tone, almost like a mother speaking to her son.

Jules huffed and pouted childishly down at her, crossing his arms. “Yes mum, I mean ma’am.” he replied to her chastising tone, then waved a hearty goodbye at both Tessa and Vera and made his way over to join the gunner crew, currently playing cards on the starboard side of the deck. He sat down among them, making a few of them jump, and waved at Rum to deal him a hand, simultaneously pulling out his cigar and lighting it with a match that he promptly threw overboard so as not to catch the entire damn ship on fire. He would play until it was time to order the crew to get off their lazy arses and get to work, all the while keeping an eye on Tessa to make sure she was still alive and kicking.

Vera had to bite her tongue to stop another sharp remark directed at Jules. She couldn’t help but let out a sigh, one of both relief and stress, as he wandered off the rally his own little crew. Vera was now able to return all of her attention to Tessa, who was hanging several inches higher than the top of her head. She paused, unsure of what to say. Eventually, a soft, “Sorry…” slipped out, buying her time to think of what she actually wanted to say. “I’ll be around. So will Jules. If you need anything, just shout, alright?”

When Tessa heard the soft word of sorry come from Vera, she tilted her head up - well more like downwards to look at her face. When she finished speaking, Tessa blinked at her a few times. “Oi now,” she started. “No need to be sorry. To be perfectly honest, this is quite...” she paused trying to think of the right word. Relaxing, she tried to shrug.

Vera couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “It must be, not having to run around and work.” She agreed, allowing a small but genuine smile to show. “Like what I’ve got to do now.” The smile faded as quickly as it appeared. As much as Vera was grateful to be on the ship, nobody enjoyed the manual labor. Ah, well, it could be worse. “I’ve got to clean the storeroom. I’ll be back to check on you in a bit.” With that, Vera turned and walked to the stairs leading to the storage.

In the blink of an eye, thirty minutes had passed. Vera’s pale orange dress was dusted with dirt and grime now. She had spent all of that time gathering together any rotten perishable foods. It was a grueling, gross task that had to be done often to keep their supplies free of additional germs and vermin. The crew on land would be back soon to refill their stocks, and Vera wasn’t even half done. With a groan, she hoisted up a bucket of grime and carried it up on deck. She promptly tossed its contents overboard where they belonged. Before diving back into her task, Vera cast a glance at Tessa, who, shockingly, hadn’t moved from her hanged position. She approached, both wanting to check on the woman and a break from her task.

While tied upside down from the mast, Tessa had a lot to think about. Mainly how she got into this situation and placing all blame on one in particular person who shall not be named. And as the minutes continued on and blood continued rushing to her head, this made Tessa a bit more that talkative. Oi, it’ll be fine! Oi, she won’t get caught! Fuckin’ knew this was gonna happen, hadn’t I! Oh, but was me own fault, weren’t it? Fuckin’ barrel. A barrel! Lass don’t know how to take a joke, ay?” She let out a long sound that was somewhere between a sigh and a growl. “I fuckin’ hate everythin’ now, don’t I,” she added in a dead paned tone then closed her eyes to just hang there and breathe.

Vera could hear Tessa cursing to herself before she even approached. Upon hearing about the barrel, she realized the woman was talking about sneaking Eva onto the ship. Curious. She hadn’t pegged Tessa as the one. Regardless, she walked over, mucky bucket still in hand. “Tessa.” She spoke her name, hoping to catch her attention. Vera then hesitated. An idea popped into her head. It was a stupid one, but she hated seeing her friend suffer like this. It would upset Meg, but it would also get the storeroom cleaned faster. “I know Me-... I know Captain isn’t back yet, but I need your help. I’m not going to get this mess cleaned up in time. I need to cut you down.”

Tessa looked in the direction her name came from and watched Vera as best she could. Her eyes widened however at Vera’s statement. “Are ya sure you wanna be doin that, Vera?” Tessa paused a moment and looked to the deck below her then back to Vera. “Actually.. I’d mighty appreciate it.”

Vera hesitated. “I’m not entirely sure, but I’m going to do it anyways,” She then nodded, as if the reassure herself, while moving towards the knot that Jules had tied. It was slightly over her eye level, which isn’t surprising considering who had tied it. Vera wasn’t great with knots or ropes, so it took a few moments of observing to figure out what she needed to pull. Upon working it, it came undone. Now, Vera isn’t as frail as she seemed, but Tessa also wasn’t as light as she seemed, so once the knot was undone the rope jerked upward. If it wasn’t for her quick instincts, she would have missed grabbing the rope. The momentum pulled her a few inches off her feet, but she slid back down slowly. After letting out a stressed breath, she slowly lowered Tessa from the mast. “That could have gone terribly,” Vera commented, unable to keep the smile from growing on her face.

“Right, I could’ve fell on my head,” Tessa said as she was lowered. Once she was on the ground, she sat up and looped the ropes off of her fairly easily. It wasn’t until she stood up however that she felt the effects of being vertically inverted.

Jules noticed the interaction between the two women from across the deck, and made no move to stop Vera from taking down the tied up rigger, who, after being untied, looked a bit unstable on her feet. No, he didn’t mind at all, in fact, he agreed with Vera’s decision. He turned back to the card game at hand, smiling to himself at the mercy embedded in Vera’s bones. He agreed, allies were made to help, not hang.

Vera let out a nervous laugh before speaking, “Yeah, that wouldn’t ‘ave been good.” But as Tessa stood up, Vera prepared herself, knowing what would come next. She lowered her stance, increasing her balance, and held her arms out to help steady Tess. “Easy, careful.” She spoke softly.

At that, Tessa lost balance and went to wrap her arms around the closest thing. Which was Vera. She ended up more or less hugging Vera. “Tis’ like bein’ drunk without the good taste an’ feelin,” Tessa complained.

Tessa’s loss of balance was expected, so once she fell upon Vera, Vera held fast. One hand rested on the taller woman’s waist, while the other gripped under her arm to keep her from collapsing. “Easy now,” She repeated, though the kindness in her voice didn’t change, “Give it a minute. You’ll get your bearings soon. Just breathe.”

After a few minutes and some steady breathing later, Tessa slowly stood on her own trying to make sure she was steady enough. After a few more moments, she gave a quick nod and looked to Vera. “Thank you,” She started then took a quick look around deck before she looked back to Vera. “So, boss, what’ll you have me doing again?”

The pout from earlier returned. “Oi, I’m put in charge for the mere hour and you all decide to tease me about it. Perhaps I should have left you tied up there,” Vera crossed her arms and glared at Tess, though the glare was more akin to the fierceness of a kitty. It wasn’t long before her gaze softened. “... I didn’t mean that.” She mumbled, glaring down at the ground. It was then that she saw her bucket and was reminded of her job. “Oh yes! The storage room! It’s a mess. I swear, I send Rudy down there to get one thing and it’s a disaster soon after.” She picked up her bucket again and started her way towards the stairs. “Fruits and vegetables fall to the ground and rot, mold starts to spread, you get the idea. Just need to make sure our food is stored in a clean place. I wanted to get it done before the others return with the new stock but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Hence…” She then gestured to Tessa. “That and…” Vera bit into her plump bottom lip: a nervous habit. “I couldn’t stand to see you like that.” She looked away from Tessa, hoping she wouldn’t notice her pained expression accompanied by a certain tightness in her chest.

A small amused smile made its way onto Tessa’s face at the last bit Vera had said. “Oi now, don’t feel bad,” Tessa started as she made her way over. “I am immensely grateful to you lettin me down,” she gave a small bow with that amused look on her face growing slightly before standing and heading to the stairs. “Alright, let’s get to cleaning, Honorary Captain Vera,” she said as she walked.

“You’re welcome,” The comment was rather sharp, implying that Vera didn’t want to speak on the subject matter much more. Once they wandered their way down to the storage room, it was obvious which side of the space was clean and what was dirty. In the middle of the room was a broom, mop, another bucket of fresh water to clean with, and some rags. “Now, instead of hanging, your punishment will be to clean this retched place with me before the others get back. A truly equal punishment, no?” She smirked, placing her trash bucket down. “Now get to work, you lazy sack of bones.” The tease was made in jest, apparent by the light laugh that followed.

At the ’orders’, Tessa did what she was told and began cleaning. Vera worked alongside her, scrubbing mold and tossing the dirty remain in the bucket. The only solace she had was in knowing that she could take a nice bath after this. But until then, she was stuck here, cleaning with Tessa, anticipating what punishment may throw at her. “Hey, Tessa…” Vera finally broke the silence. Her words were cautious; she didn’t want to upset Tess or make an enemy of anyone else. “When Meg… When the Captain announced your punishment, she said you tied up Rosie. What was that about?”

With a sigh, Tessa dreaded needing to try to explain without revealing that she twisted the truth. Though she wondered if Vera could be trusted. Then a thought came to her. Of course Vera can be trusted, you dolt! She let out another sigh, this one a bit more relieved than the previous one, and paused her cleaning to turn to Vera. “It was because I know how she is, Vera.. though, yes, it may have made things worse. For me,” She paused a moment, unsure of how to go about this and decided to present a question of her own. She took a step forward, leaned on her broom, and locked eyes with Vera. “Vera, do ya know how Eva got aboard?”

Vera couldn’t stop her curt chuckle as soon a Tessa spoke of Rosia. She as well very much did know how the young woman could be. However, upon being asked about Eva, Vera grew much more curious. “I have no idea, genuinely. I just happened to be giving James his dinner when she stumbled out from behind a barrel.” Vera was being truthful; she really had no idea where Eva came from.

At hearing about how Vera found Eva, Tessa put her hand to her face in disappointment. Fuckin’ idoit, she mumbled then let out a sigh and looked back to Vera. “I want ya to hear me out on this and know that I was pulled into this mess. And the barrel was a fuckin joke that someone thought I was being serious about,” She started. “You’ll need’ta ask Vale about that but they’re like family. And, in short, Vale wasn’t allowed to stay so the kit-fuck! So Eva had to come. An’ we put ‘er in a barrel.. An’ carried ‘er on,” Tessa more or less mumbled the last bit as fast as she could. “An’ now listen, don’t tell Meg about Vale.. I may have twisted the story a tad to where she wasn’t there,” She added then stopped and waited for a reaction.

Eager for details, Vera leaned forward. Her eyes widened over time, but once Tessa stopped speaking, she forced her face to return to a normal expression. “My. That’s… quite the tale.” She hesitated, not quite sure of what to say. “Well.” She sighed, “I trust Vale. If she brought Eva aboard, she must really care about her. And the lass must have been in a shit place. It takes a lot for someone to board a ship, not knowing if they’ll ever return.” For a moment, her gaze seemed to unfocus as she looked off, somewhere past Tessa. She blinked once, snapping out of it only to stare back down at the rag in her hand. “I’m guess Rosie found out? Not sure why you’d try to truss her up. It wouldn’t have lasted very long.” She continued to work while speaking, not once looking up now.

“Hadn’t thought about that,” Tessa said softly as she looked out over the room. It just occurred to her that Eva had dropped everything to board a ship just because Vale was on it. Then when Vera spoke about Rosia, she scoffed as she resumed cleaning. “More like accused me. She may have been partly right, but she only figured me. And I knew it wouldn’t last long,” she paused a moment as she thought about saying something else then decided to stop herself. She hoped that wasn’t too obvious.

Vera stopped her scrubbing to tilt her head up, allowing her to make eye contact with Tessa from where she was crouched on the ground. “That it?” She let out a short laugh, “That was your plan?” She cast her a playful smile before going back to cleaning. “Not a very good one, love.”

Tessa rolled her eyes at this and continued cleaning. She did her best to avoid looking at Vera as she spoke. “No, that wasn’t the plan at’all. The plan was that if I was going to get caught, seeing Rosia I surly was, then I’d make the punishment as hard as possible to take any suspicion off Vale,” she paused but only for a second. “Or anyone else that might have some suspicion. If I could take full blame, I would. Just so we don’t need to worry about this shit plan anymore,” When she finished speaking she just continued cleaning as if nothing happened.

Hearing the words coming out of Tessa’s mouth made Vera pause. Having her explain this true act of kindness… Vera’s chest swelled with warmth. A faint but natural and subconscious smile had spread her lips. It laced her tone with a much more happy, upbeat sound, “I’ll be damned, Tess. Didn’t know you were so soft on Vale.” Vera teased, glancing up from her work to see how the woman would react. “It’s over and done with now. And likely for the best. We’ve got Eva and board and as long as she provides useful, Captain won’t have an issue.” Speaking of this made her think about the time she had just joined. She was weaker then, more fragile, both physically and mentally. Although now she wasn’t exactly the picture of health, she does feel stronger. It may just be that she now has a real place where she can call home, or maybe it was the people who empowered her.

If there's one thing Tessa isn't used to it's being teased. Heat rushed to her face and she turned to Vera with a soft scowl. “I ain’ soft!” she yelled.

Tessa gave Vera the exact reaction she had been looking for. She giggled before responding, “Sure you aren’t, love. Whatever you saaay…” She trailed off before busying herself with her cleaning.

Conversation between the two lulled to a silence. It wasn’t tense or uncomfortable. The two just worked quietly, almost comforted by each other’s presence. It wasn’t too long before Vera stood up and did a once over of the entire room. It wasn’t spotless, but it was considerably cleaner than it had been before. More clean meant less having to throw out ruined food. She wiped the sweat from her brow with her wrist because her hands were covered in grime. “Alright, Tess. I think that’s enough. Let’s dump this waste out and call it. The others should be back soon.” She picked up one of the buckets full of nasty water and made her way to the stairs.

“Aye,” Tessa nodded at what Vera said. She found herself feeling a bit proud at their work. Cleaning wasn’t much in Tessa’s eyes, but it sure was a hell of a lot easier than taking care of all of the rigging. Then again, she did like and take pride in her ropes and knots as well. With Vera leading the way, Tessa grabbed another of the dirty water buckets and followed.

Even though the two had been below deck for less than an hour, Vera welcomed the warm sun’s rays as she stepped on deck. With a pleased hum, she shut her eyes and tilted her head back, absorbing that lovely warmth. However, it was a short lived pleasure as she had to open her eyes and finish up her job. With a sigh, she tossed the murky water off the edge of the ship. Only after looking up from the clear ocean water did she see the crew’s boats approaching the ship once more.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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xRosia “Jack" Hienrik


Everybody in the world knows

Everybody in the world knows
Everybody in the world knows
Everybody in the world knows

I'm a little twisted, twisted

I'm a little twisted, twisted
I'm a little twisted, twisted
I'm a little twisted, twisted
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe Mate//#7C674A
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Rosia followed her captain upstairs and stood off to her captain’s side as she gave out everyone’s orders. Rosia gave Vera a slight smile when Meg said she would be in charge, a little surprised but still happy for her. It also made sense to have Jules back on the ship in case another set of sails came into view and wasn’t exactly friendly, and little Rudy could be a help to Jules or Vera around the ship to prep for the rest of the journey to the lost treasure. Rosia gave one last look and nod to her crew mates staying on the ship before climbing down the side and into the stiffs to get to shore.

When they arrived on shore, Meg gave some follow-up instructions and warning them to take too much or next time they come here there might not be anything at all. Their first trip here, James made Rosia put back a couple of barrels of supplies because he knew they would’ve noticed if they took too much, and Rosia not really getting at first that they can’t just take everything. Rosia watched as every split up into groups. Meg walked off with Sunni following her, Bill and Nameless went in one direction rambling to each other as they got a couple barrels, so Rosia decided to go with Vale to get some of Vera’s supplies. It made sense why Meg didn’t give the list to Rosia, it wasn’t exactly a secret that Rosia couldn’t read so giving her a grocery list of items wouldn’t be beneficial.

“Oi Tempest, what the list say for Vera? What we need to scavengin’?” Rosia asked as the two women walked a little ways looking for some food supplies and whatever else the list would say that Vera needed. Rosia skipped ahead of Vale a couple times, stopping and waiting for her to catch up with her walking speed. “Aye, can you believin’ it though? Riggknot beddin’ the stowaway before being seduce to sneak her on? Wonder if ye won’t be the only one allowed to hold ‘er hat.” Rosia said spinning around and giving Vale a light smirk with her last comment. She knew Vale and Tessa were close and wouldn’t pass up a chance to tease either one, plus Vale was less likely to throw something at Rosia than Tessa.

As the two women talked they finally found some barrels that seemed to be marked with letters and symbols, Rosia finding an empty barrel and started loading supplies from other barrels into it for them to take. After finding some of the items Vale had listed off to find, Rosia started being nosy and looking through a couple crates before finding a bottle of a golden color. She held it up out of the crate to get some light on it and attempt to read it, but the only word she was able to decipher was one of the first words Rosia had requested Vera to teach her, rum. “Ey! Found some sort of golden rum!” Rosia said as she ran over to Vale, handing the bottle over to her. A couple seconds passed by as she read what Rosia couldn’t, revealing not only was it rum, but some quality Spanish rum. Both girls were a more than happy about their discovery and pinched the bottle away for later before finishing up and started heading back towards the ship, Rosia carefully rolling a barrel.

The hike back to the ship seemed a lot longer than the walk to the supplies, though that was probably because now they were coming back with more than they arrived with. Rosia rolled the barrel the row boat she had arrived on and heaved it into it, almost tumbling herself over. As she got in the boat with Vale, they floated behind their Captain’s boat and looked towards the Stardust, Rosia quickly noticing something was. “Why isn’t Riggknot hangin’?” Rosia asked out loud, confused but also worried. Looking towards Meg, and seeing she wasn’t happy. As the group reached the ship, Rosia quickly climbed out of the boat up and behind Hellfire to see what was going on and what Hellfire was about to do. Whatever was about to happen, Rosia guessed it wouldn’t be too good…

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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Evangeline X
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T.B.A.
Stowaway
#F54747
Once Tessa had taken her hat, Eva laced her fingers behind her back. She stayed still when Tessa went face to face with Meg. Her heart sped up as she grew nervous for Tessa. As she listened to Tessa’s “long answer”, she was grateful the woman didn’t give Vale away. The story was simple, and Eva reran it in her head. She knew the details of the short story could become important later. When Meg replied, Eva wondered if they should just tell her the truth. Would Vale get in more trouble if Meg found out later? Maybe it wouldn’t matter later when, if, Meg found out. She pushed her thoughts away. Evangeline just watched as Meg helped Rosia from her predicament. She was glad to see that Rosia was okay after her tussle with Tessa.

Evangeline listened to Tessa as they followed Meg up to the dock. She couldn’t help the huge grin that graced her lips when Tessa said please. She wondered for a second if she could teach Tessa manners. Before she gave the idea anymore thought, she simply nodded in reply to Tessa. Once they were on the deck, Eva found Vale and gave her the hat. She quickly left Vale’s side once she gave her the hat. Eva knew she couldn’t explain what happened to Vale at that moment. Vale questioning her would likely have caused suspicion from Rosia and or Meg as well. She didn’t need Vale to get in trouble. Evangeline stroked Mango’s little head as she listened to Meg speak. She had wanted to go on the island, but knew she’d be more of a help on the ship. Eva didn’t plan on going against Meg’s orders either.

All the blood seemed to have left Eva’s face, hands, and feet when Meg described Tessa’s punishment. Eva felt herself go cold. She couldn’t help, but fear for Tessa’s safety. Her own fear of heights made the fear worst. Evangeline pushed away the memory of what happened to Victoria when they were little girls. It was easy to do so as Meg came up to her then. Evangeline listened and knew she would be staying. James had mentioned Meg was on a suicide mission. I’ll be heading for death with Vale and Tessa. If I can save one of their lives on this journey, then staying will be worth it.

As she thought, she watched Mama Jules deal out Tessa’s punishment. A chill ran down her back and her stomach tightened into a hard knot. She couldn’t watch Tessa just hang there. She’d be too tempted to take her down, and she knew that’d piss Meg off. She stroked Mango’s head once more as she went off to find Sharktooth. The woman had mentioned she wanted to catch some fish once they were docked. When Sharktooth decided they caught enough fish, they stopped working. Eva wiped the sweat from her face. She took in a deep breath as she took in the salty scent of the ocean. The scent was pleasant to her. As she looked around the ship, she spotted Tessa. Evangeline smiled. She was glad her punishment was over. Her gaze then went to blue ocean as she saw the crew’s boats approaching.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker

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V a l e | | Navigator
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XXXXThe past four days have gone rather smooth, too smooth if you asked Vale. After discovering Eva onboard Meg let the lass stay which surprised Valentina but also gave her a sense of relief and a slightly different outlook towards Hellfire. There was no telling what would have happened if her captain actually tried something that day and Vale wouldn’t want to kill her other family. When Meg took her knife out the navigator's hand was already set on the hilt of her blade. She even almost got up when Rosia placed her hand on her pistol, they wouldn’t have known what hit em since Vale was behind all of them but she was glad she waited and let things play out.

Now she was sitting in her usual spot by the helm plotting a course, though she was basically done, looking over a copy of the map she made just in case. It wasn’t as colorful and was still in its rough stages, if you ask Vale. Then there was Eva who Vale felt was avoiding her. Smart on Eva’s part but Vale’s noticed her bothering Tessa a good bit which made her feel left out, especially since they took mango, her only source of company. At the same time Vale is still just glad to have her alive and well.

Valentina snapped out of her thoughts once the captain called out to her crew. She stood and grabbed her jacket, tucking the papers inside it and slipping it over her shoulders, leaving the front open. Vale made her way over, hand resting idly on the hilt of her blade. She was already becoming attached, especially since it was given to her by Evangeline. Upon hearing her name be announced along with the people who were going on land, Valentina felt relieved that she could go do something rather than stare at her maps and charts all day wondering when Hellfire was going to catch her off guard with the whole sneaking the stowaway onto the ship thing.

That relief didn’t last long as the next things to leave her mouth were "Tessa is to hang by her ankles from the mast while we are gone.” It made Vale's stomach sink, did the captain find out about what they did? And If so why was Tess the only one being punished? She listened as Hellfire explained the charges. Guilt filled her as well as exaspiration for Tessa. It was stupid of her to not only take full responsibility for Vale's decision... but also for tying the first mate up. Vale made a mental note to apologize to Rosia when she saw her next. Hellfire went on to explain the reason for their stopping: a supply run on the island. Vale turned to return to her mapmaking, but stopped short when Meg requested she join her on land.

Before they boarded the long boats, Vale looked towards where Tessa stood stoicly in preparation for her punishment. She nearly jumped out of her skin when Eva came up with Mango and Tessa's hat. Vale smiled, gave the bird a pet, and thanked Eva before her friend, her sister, wandered off through the crouded deck. She waved the hat towards Tessa signalling she hat recieved it and would take care of it, but Tessa's attention was diverted. Vale ignored her feelings of guilt for now. It would distract from the task at hand and... she'd have to remember to talk to Tess later.

Once they arrived to the island, they set off towards the bunkers. Meg pressed a list of goods into her hand, apology written in her eyes. Vale simply nodded in response. Nameless and Bill went to work moving the larger things while Vale filled a sack with the things Vera had requested of them. Rosia was helping as well. She had brought over a bottle filled with golden rum, and Vale rubbed the dirt from the label so she could see properly. Grinning she replied, "Aye, but not just any rum. The finest Spanish Rum gold can buy." She smiled at her. "Good find. Lets keep it away from Bill. He'd drink the whole thing before anyone else."

As the sun began to make a descent, they began to finish up their supply run. Meg and Sunni appeared not to long after. Vale smirked. If she didn't know any better she would've thought they had gone off on a little shore fun. But Meg and Sunni were too insecure for that. Meaning, they didn't want to damage their friendship. The thought brought Tessa to mind and she gazed towards the ship. I'm coming, Tess. She thought. As they headed towards the boats, Vale felt the sand give a little beneath her feet and a creak rang through the air.

Curious, she dusted off some of the sand and found there to be another bunker. This one appeared untouched. Grinning, she lifted the lid, from a first glance, she noticed medical supplies. Herbs, bandages, pale alcohols for cleaning. Her grin faded, and she dropped the lid with a thud, as something pierced into her side. After a short search she found the culprit to be... a dart? Thing must've been booby trapped. She thought. She called out to Meg and Sunni about the medical supplies and then made her way to the boat.

As she walked, her steps started feeling heavier. Vale chalked it up to being exhausted from helping Bill and Nameless move goods. Once they were on the boat, however, her head started swimming. She couldn't possibly be seasick. She spent her whole life on a boat. Then she heard Rosia say, “Why isn’t Riggknot hangin’?” Vale looked up. There was, in fact, not Tessa hanging from the mast. Vera must've let her drop early. She smiled weakly at the thought. Worry had dulled the joy. Hellfire might turn her blazing gaze on Vera next. Vale loved her captain, but the woman was terrifying when she was angry.

She had just barely made it to the deck, her head was spinning and her arms felt no more rigid than the rope they used. "Capt'n..." She slurred, "Somethings--" And then Vale collapsed on the deck.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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XXXXMeg's smile was soft a first. Guilt at Sunni's having to stay in medbay so often while they were on land dulled the edges. She claimed their find would be worth it which made Meg feel just a little bit better. A flush crawled up her face as Sunni mentioned liking to look at beautiful things, with her gaze trained on Meg. She handed her one of the flowers she had picked and Meg brought it up to her nose to sniff it. It didn't have much of a smell, but it was beautiful. Meg's first instinct was to tuck it behind her own ear, but the red would probably get lost in the red of her hair. So instead, she reached out, brushing Sunni's hair back from her ear and sliding the stem of the poppy behind it. Her pulse raced, her heart beating so loudly that even with the birds singing, she was sure Sunni could hear it. Being here, surrounded by life and sounds, the sunlight streaming through the treetops like a spotlight on her friend. On the girl who undoubtedly held her heart. If only Meg had the guts to tell her. Her fingers paused on Sunni's cheek, her hand cupping her face. It took everything in her not to close the space between them and kiss her.

She forced herself to pull her hand away and made her way out towards the others. "We should check on the others. Have to make sure Bill isn't drinking all the rum and Rosia isn't stuffing her pockets." It was largely a joke. She knew that Rosia would never go against her orders, but the thought of the woman with pockets full of different things she found only because they were things to take... made her smile a little. "How's the find?" She asked no one in particular. When she saw they had pretty much finished, guilt hit Meg between her shoulder blades. She hadn't been there to help them like a captain should. Like a quartermaster would have. Instead, she was picking flowers with her surgeon in the middle of an island jungle. She had responsibilities to her crew. She had to remind herself not to stray from them again.

As they made their way towards the boats, Vale had called out to them about a medical supply bunker. Despite her warnings to herself, she turned and grinned at Sunni. "Lets see what they have." The bunker was full of different medical supplies. Enough that they could take a quarter and it would probably still go unnoticed. However, Meg instructed Sunni to take what she needed. If something was too big or there was too much, Meg carried it for her. Once on the boats, Meg was full of pride. They had a good amount of supplies. Enough water to last them a good while. Medical supplies. Food. Each other... she thought, glancing at Sunni again. Meg warred internally with herself, debating whether or not she should finally tell her. Maybe it would help Meg stay in the right mindset when Sunni rejected her. The thought hurt. And the if Sunni rejected her, filled her with a buzz of nerves.

She was pulled from her thoughts as Rosia commented on Tessa no longer hanging. Meg looked up with a start. She was right. There was no Tessa hanging from the mast. Anger coursed through Meg as she wondered if Vera had even honored the punishment, to begin with. Meg was the first one on board, her fiery gaze searching for Vera. Once they landed on Tess, hatless and working hard in the sunlight and Vera working beside her. All the of the anger left her. Instead, she was left with a feeling of... emptiness. What good was a captain without respect from her crew? What good was a friend if she couldn't trust them? Instead of confronting them, she turned to make her way towards her quarters. She needed to be alone for a moment.

That's when she heard the thud. She turned, thinking Bill or Philip had dropped something. Panic and worry filled her at the sight of the unconscious Valentina on her deck. "Vale..." She whispered at first as the panic set in. "Vale!" She yelled, running to her navigator's side. The woman was pale, her breathing slow, and her skin was clammy. "Sunni! Tell me something! Anything." She touched Vale's face. Softly at first and then decided to see if one good smack would rouse her. She groaned but remained unresponsive. "Don't you die on me." She whispered so quietly that only Sunni would hear her. She thought back to the island. What could have happened? Was Vale sick before and just hadn't mentioned it? No... no she had been fine... right?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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PYON SUN-AH
dialogue colour; #FA8072
plague || the surgeon


Their moment alone, among the trees and the flowers and the sunlight, with Meg's hand on her cheek, made Sunni feel light-headed and breathless. It felt surreal, like a dream. There was a moment when Sunni was nearly leaning in to kiss Meg- and then reality returned as Meg moved her hand away and said they should check on the others. She stayed quiet as Meg checked on the others- but seeing the medical bunker they found made her break into a grin and made her good mood return. Taking as much as she deemed they could get away with, she carried it back to the boat with Meg's help.

Their discovery that Tess was no longer hanging changed the atmosphere. It suddenly felt like the hours before a storm, where everybody knows it's coming and nothing can be done. Meg would surely be furious, and a force to contend with. Juggling what she could, she started making her way down to the medbay, anxious to get away from the confrontation. But a thud, a sickening sound that Sunni instinctively knew wasn't just their precious stolen goods, made her turn, already running. Vale had collapsed, and Sunni's gut was telling her this wasn't good. She reached their navigator at the same time as Meg. "No-" she tried before Meg slapped her, before shaking her head. "Did she eat or drink anything on the island?" She asked, almost ordered, at those who had been around her. Meg's comment did nothing to settle Sunni's feeling of unease.

"Somebody, help me get her down to the medbay!" She yelled, already thinking. Vale had been apparently fine a few minutes ago, so this had to be fast onset. A weak pulse and weak breathing wasn't good. Then she remembered a conversation she'd overhead what felt like a long time ago, when she'd still been serving ale to rowdy sailors. The land king's men had made a rare stop off at the tavern, and had been boasting about all the ways they were going to catch and kill pirates. Traps. Nets and tripwires and...

Poison. She swore to herself in her native language, trying her best not to alert Meg. Trusting somebody would carry Vale down after her, Sunni all but sprinted down the steps down to the medbay, where she started opening books and searching through pages and passages. If she knew exactly what the poison was, she could cure it. But the symptoms were so generic, and so dangerous. Even Sunni felt unsure, and that wasn't good.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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RiggknotX| | XMaster Rigger
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#54002a

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With the dirty water poured overboard and sight of the boats coming back to the crew, Tessa was preparing herself for a word. She knew perfectly well that Meg - The Captain - would not be happy seeing her down from hanging already. That and she really hoped that Meg wouldn't need to punish Vera now too. Maybe I can convince her that I had talked Vera into letting me down? No no, somethin' tells me Vera wouldn't like that. Maybe we should just be honest..? Tessa tried working out how the confrontation will go in her head. She felt that either way, whether she honest or not, it's going to be trouble.

With Meg and all coming back aboard, she was surprised when she saw Meg turn the other way. Was she not going to confront them? Part of Tessa felt guilty about that. But that left her when she saw Vale come aboard. Tessa's eyes narrowed as she watched her. Something wasn't right. And not a full moment later, Vale dropped. Without a second thought, Tessa made her way across the deck hurriedly. She got there just in time to see Meg give her a good smack across the face. If it had been at any other time, if it had been anyone else, and if it hadn't been a clearly unconscious Vale, Tessa would have slapped back, maybe even go as far to beat said abuser unconscious with the words of "No one's allowed to touch her." But this was different.

With wide eyes and everyone gathering around like they were, Tessa just watched unsure of what to do, hoping Sunni would bring some ease. But hearing her yell for someone to help her take down to med bay however, Tessa got even more scared. Then Bill stepped up to carry Vale without a word and, though Tessa was grateful, she let out a soft mutter of "Please don't drop her," then she followed closely behind them as they made their way down. She hoped - no, she prayed that Sunni would be able to do something, anything to help Vale. But she couldn't help but think the worse. What'll happen if I lose her? She thought. No, no, I can't. I won't. This kept going back and forth in her mind as she walked, or ran, behind Bill with Vale in his arms. "You need to be okay," She said quietly looking at Vale just as they made it to med bay.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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M e g
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A few Days Later
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XXXX"Just. Fucking. Brilliant," Meg muttered under her breath as another wave bashed into the side of the ship. Her hands were already cramping from holding on to the helm so tightly. The salt water and force of the waves weren't helping. She gritted her teeth as she locked her stance in an attempt to be immovable. She had relieved Philip not too long ago. Can't have one man at the helm at a time like this. Too long and he could weaken and lose control. It was best to take shifts. It would've been better to have her navigator on deck but since the island... Meg shook her head and thoughts flew into the sea of her mind. She couldn't think about Vale now. She couldn't allow the guilt to gnaw at her bones.

Her crew needed her.

The storm had been raging only a short while, but it was one of the strongest--if not the strongest-- storms Meg had ever sailed in. "Bill! Make sure every man has a lifeline!" She called out to her Boatswain. "I don't want to lose a single crew member to the sea!" She grunted under the weight of the wheel and suddenly regretted her decision to take over. "Philip!" She called out to her crew, hoping he wasn't far and that the wind wouldn't cover her shout. "Either take the wheel back or find someone who can!" She wasn't about to voice her regret. "Julian! Stow the guns!" She tried to make a tally of her crew based on what she could see, but a wave slapping into the side of the ship sent salt water stinging into her eyes and she resisted the urge to rub them with her hands. After all, they were a little preoccupied.

She knew that Sunni was in the med bay working on a way to fix Vale. She hoped her rigger was out--already tied to the ship-- and finishing up on the masts before the winds tore 'em in two. Bill was on deck, she could hear him giving orders to the [NPC] crew. Philip had been relieved of his position temporarily, though Meg did wish he'd take it back. She wasn't sure where Vera was but prayed she was safe. Same went for her first mate, wherever she was hiding. She hoped little Rudy had been the first to be tied to the ship since he was so small. Her heart suddenly ached for her crew. If only she could lock 'em up like James so she knew where they were and that they were safe instead of this chaos.

James... the poor sod was still down in the brig. Meg ignored her wonderings--not for the first time, mind you--if their bad luck the past few days had been due to the fact that Midas was below decks as a prisoner and not above them and free. Which also brought to mind little Eva who had taken to following Vera around the ship. Meg still couldn't believe that Tessa hadn't told her about the stowaway and she also couldn't believe that Vera would disobey her orders like that. A bit of her hellish flame went out. No one was taking her seriously. Maybe she wasn't going to be the captain she thought she could be.

Without respect, how could she keep a ship in order and a crew from falling apart?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meghan Cunningham Character Portrait: Tessa Locke Character Portrait: Rosia Hienrik Character Portrait: William Morgan III Character Portrait: Pyon Sun-Ah Character Portrait: Timothy Rundell Character Portrait: Valentina De la Torre Character Portrait: James Porter Character Portrait: Callie Avis Character Portrait: Evangeline Casper Character Portrait: Philip Walker Character Portrait: Julian Bailey

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J U L I A NX| | XD R A G O N

| Master Gunner |
| #B02E04 |
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The winds grew more violent around him as the Dragon tried his best to keep a firm control on the ship. He wasn’t as skilled as Nameless in the ways of maneuvering, nor was he an expert navigator, but he was strong, and had a sense of where they were going from before the storm hit. Water splashed up onto the deck and he leaned on the helm to push into the wind in order to continue heading in the right direction. He wished the storm hit at a more opportune time. After days on the boat with uncertain knowledge about Vale and their destination, everyone seemed more on edge than usual. Julian didn’t blame them, it was normal to become agitated after days of uncertainty, he had certainly been there before, but now was not the time for anger or hesitation.

Of course, the weather waits for no man, and there was nothing much he could do. From below him on deck, the crew was still bustling about, and others had gone below “WAVE! BRACE Y-" came a shout from below, and Julian could do nothing but try and steady the ship as a giant wave crashed onto the deck. He wasn’t worried, the crew was tied off, or at least he wasn’t worried until he watched Bill get torn off the side of the deck into the churning ocean beside the ship.

”Man overboard! Man overboard!” cried Mead, panicking on deck.

”Bill ya fucken fool!” Julian searched around wildly for someone to take over the helm while still holding on. ”Ale! ALE! C’mon lad take over this steering!” Anyone who know the ship well could do it, and he handed off the helm to the first crewperson who arrived. Jules sprinted down onto the deck and grabbed a rope to secure around his waist. He grabbed Rum by the shoulder and dragged him over to the edge, searching down into the water for the body of the boatswain.

"There!” Shouted Rum, pointing into the water, and Jules followed his arm to see the left side of Bill tossing around in the ocean.

”Right then,” Jules gripped Rum’s arm again, keeping his sight on Bill to ensure he didn’t lose the man in the waves. ”Hold onto the end o’ this rope, and tie off too, ta make sure ya don’t get washed away. You keep yer eyes on me, and when I start wavin’, you help me pull that bastard back up here.” Rum nodded and the two men prepared themselves, ensuring the knots were tight and that Rum had a good grip on the rope. The preparation took maybe half a minute, and already Bill was rapidly drifting away from the boat. ”Here we go then!” He dove off the boat and felt the rope pull after him.

It was cold. Julian considered himself to be a decent swimmer, he wouldn’t have joined a sailing crew if he wasn’t at least decent. But these waters were treacherous, and the sea shifted him to and fro, towards and away from his goal of grabbing Bill and hoisting him onboard. He swam as hard as he could, but with the rocking boat and churning water. By the time he reached Bill, he was panting with effort and his limbs had gone numb. Bill was unconscious and his lips were blue, and Julian pulled him by the arm to his chest and tugged on the rope, waving with a numb arm up to Rum, who he hoped was still watching from the deck, which he could barely see in the wind and rain. He tried to shout but found he couldn’t after the intense lung work he had to do to make it far enough out, and he instead panted louder.

For a moment, he thought that maybe this was the last moment he would ever have, surrounded by the violent and bitter mistress that is the sea. He clenched Bill with one arm and tried to use the other to swim closer to the boat, moving away from them and pulling the rope taut around his midsection. This was it.

A tug came from the other end of the rope. Rum, with a rush of strength, was pulling them back up. Julian scrambled to find footing on the side of the ship, and the two men managed to heave the extra weight back on deck, tying Bill off immediately so he wouldn’t be thrown over again. Julian lay beside him and spit out water.

”Well done Rum, well done. Go get someone to help, wouldya?” he wheezed, before lying his cheek on the damp deck and passing out cold.