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Seafaring Adventures

Date: 05-15-12
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 1

Finding Regan

For all the bustle and commotion along the port city of Kildare, one man traveled the docks with the assurance that could only come from years of this type of activity. He managed to weave his way around the jostling crowds busy with their daily routines, his survey scanning and searching the ships docked within the slips. He hadn't noticed The Dream while they made port, but that didn't mean he intended to miss the lovely lady's presence amongst all the other vessels bobbing in quiet repose. Ah, and there She was! As sleek and tempting as the Captain that controlled her. With his gaze still on The Dream, he reached out to the first sailor that passed, catching him by the upper arm. "The Dream's Captain, Callihan, have you seen her?"

"Aye, sir." The sailor stopped and pointed up to the rigging of the dream. And there was Regan, dressed in a linen shirt of blue ducked into black britches. She was speaking to one of her sailors, pointing out something that had caught her eye. The man answer and the Captain laughed, then clapped a hand to the man's shoulder. Of course the words wouldn't be heard, but she seemed satisfied with his answer and slid down a rope, down to the deck. It seemed the Dream was being prepared for travel.

Nick of time then it would seem. And didn't it always work out that way. Perfect timing made for a plethora of delightful encounters. Marcus saluted the man s a means of thanks and took off in a trot toward The Dream. At the planks, he stopped with a grin and called up. "Hoy! Dream! Permission if you would be so kind!"

She knew that voice and it wasn't one she expected here in Kildare. Regan moved over to the dock of the gangplank and grinned down at him. "Permission granted, and it's good to see you, Captain DeHaven." The crew just grinned at one another and went about their business. She managed to stay where she was as he came up those boards. "This is a surprise, and a delightful one at that." She held out her hand. "What business brings you to Kildare?" She gave him an impish look. "Or is it, pleasure?"

He took up the offered hand, a light squeeze before he shook it for appearance's sake. "I've come in search of you, Captain. And since we both know I never go in search of pleasure, that it most times finds me when the time is right, that leaves only business which brings me to Kildare. But then..." A soft wink followed that possible addition. "All intoxicating thoughts aside, Regan." The use of her name implied the serious nature of his 'business'. "I've had a discussion with Westmoreland...and it centered mainly around ... you." A motion of head indicated the direction of her cabin. "Would you mind?"

She smiled as she released his hand, then nodded at his words. She knew his nature, knew hers. "Westmoreland." If she paled slightly under tanned skin, would Marcus notice? "Please." She turned on a heel and headed for the door of her cabin. "Max!" She called out to the cabin boy who had been helping tie down some crates. "Make sure we're not disturbed!" From the expression on their Captain's face, the crew knew this wasn't just a casual, friendly visit. Something was happening. Opening the door of the cabin, she stepped inside, holding the door open until Marcus was inside. Max took a seat near the door but not so close he'd be accused of listening.

Marcus followed, nodding off to some of the crew he knew as he passed. When he was inside, and since he was familiar with Regan's ship from before, he made himself at home, and poured them both a drink. They would need it. She...would need it. "Seems the old fellow thinks we know each other rather well, the bastard." He held out the drink for her.

Regan took the drink then motioned toward the table and chairs. Had things been different she might have laughed when Marcus called Blackbeard old fellow. She pushed aside some rolled up maps, then sat. "We do know one another better then most in some ways." She took a drink then shook her head. "But given our association with other captains as well, and that neither of our crews are prone to gossip, I can't imagine where he got that information." And she couldn't help the smile. "Not that it matters." There were always rumors, always whispers. "Sorry. Go on, please."

Marcus' response of humor was no more than a rumbled sound deep in his chest. "You're right, that doesn't matter, but he 'suggested' I should participate in aiding his 'endeavors' where you are concerned." He brought up his drink, his gaze on her as he tipped it toward his lips. "No doubt you can guess a good part of my response."

"He .... " Regan's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open, but then she laughed. "I can imagine it, yes. What did he offer if you did aid him?" She lowered the glass, shaking her head. "And I'm not sure why he's still looking for me after all this time. No, that's a lie. I'm sure why." She stood and began to pace. "Where did this happen, Marcus? Africa?"

Marcus tilted his head, studying the Callihan Captain while she spoke. He drank, and listened, until she started pacing. "His offer had to do with my longevity, Regan, or lack thereof. And we both know why...which is probably not far off from the reason I sought you out to tell you." To that he gave a lazy shrug. It was what it was. "And, aye, he found me. Came looking..for me. In order to find you. And as we parted company, Callihan, I'm pretty damn sure he knew where my next voyage would take me."

She stopped and sat against the table in front of him. "And where did this take place, DeHaven." Regan leaned forward, closer. "In the Caribbean... in Africa?" She didn't give him a chance to answer as she stood again. This time the Captain didn't pace this time but moved over to the windows that made the rear cabin wall. "Dammit. I am not going to be made a prisoner by my fears of Westmoreland or the Trinity." And she was not mentioning this to anyone in her family and have them worrying all the more over her.

She leaned in toward him, his gaze dipped then lifted to her eyes. "That matters? The where of it?" He stood as she shoved up from her lean to move to the window. He came to stand beside her, but turned and leaned so that he was facing the room and not out of the window. Crossing his arms at his chest, his legs at the ankles he spoke "Either way you'll be a prisoner. So which is the lesser of the two evils, Regan?" He rolled the back of his head on the wood behind him, looking at her. "Hell, I know you're not going to tuck tail and hide out. As much as I would prefer it, I'm not delusional. Where he was just sniffing after you before, Captain, he is full on the scent now and howling at the breeze. There are many out here that will cover your stern but just as many that would sell you out to the bastard to save their hides. God, Regan. Please. Just be careful. More so than ever." He used the back of his shoulders to push himself up and started walking toward the door.

She sighed and then smiled but looked at him. "Only because I was thinking I could avoid the where. But... that's impossible And believe me, as far as Westmoreland is concerned, hell, all of them, I always am cautious. That won't change." She turned as he started for the door. "Marcus? Will you not stay awhile?" It had been too long since their last meeting and she knew he likely had taken time from other business to come and find her. But the question was out and she waited for his answer.

He paused, his head dipping as he drew in a deep breath. Slowly he turned to look back to her. There was no other business for him in Kildare. She...was his business. Everything else that he put on hold, didn't matter right now. Eyes narrowed briefly and the nod that followed was thoughtful. "Dammit, Captain, I thought you would never ask." He reached behind him and shut the door, and Max would hear the latch fall into place.

Date: 05-16-12
Poster: Justin Darwin
Post # 2


Samuel emerged from the cargo hold with a list in hand. The First Mate hadn't expected to find anything wrong since the shipment came from Bovee Shipping, and they rarely made a mistake. He handed the list off to the Steward, Jordan, and went over it quickly before heading for the gangplank to thank the dockworkers. Bovee would receive their payment once the cargo was delivered, and the crew of the Dream would be paid after that. He looked around for a moment, then leaned against a crate. Some of the crew had headed off for shore leave, with a few staying behind to watch over things. The first mate was dressed all in black from his shirt down to well polished boots. He brushed some lint from his shirt then looked up at the Dream and smiled. She was a beautiful lady among many.

Justin was one that lingered a short while until all was in order. One never knew when they'd run into pirates especially carting cargo like this. He had cleaned up, blond hair smoothed back, white shirt and black pants made a striking contrast much to his liking. He headed off the ship and noticed Sam leaning up against a crate. Atypical of him as he grinned, steps altered so he headed his way. "Just going to lean there all night?"

He started, then grinned and shook his head. "Nah, just waiting to see where you were heading off the ship tonight." He looked over the port and motioned toward the city. "Never knew when we'll be back here, so I figured a night or three of shore leave would do us some good. Captain said she'd hop a ride with one of her brothers, or another ship when she's done with the family business." He pushed up from his lean and started down the gangplank after giving Jordan a wave. "So, where should we head?" He knew of a place or two but he wasn't sure which was which.

"Once the cargo is loaded?" It would take three days then? He was not complaining. "So you waited for me.." oh yes, he was grinning as he slapped a hand against Sam's shoulder. "Well then, the night is not getting any younger. I hear a few bottles calling my name." Where they headed didn't matter to him for he'd make the best of it no matter where his feet landed.

It wouldn't take quite that long but he had permission to keep the Dream in port until everyone had their fill of R & R. Some of them were ready to head out now but they'd wait patiently for the younger members. "Well, let's see, the Blue Marlin is near but we'd have to behave there." He grinned again. "What about Sparky's tonight?" Not a bad place, decent drinks and food, and usually a game or two. Fights were usually kept to a minumum or they were encouraged to go outside.

"Aye, I hear it is a guid place to set about for the night." And they could always make the Tour as some called it. A hand was up to rub at his chin a moment before falling away. "I wonder what the Captain has in store if she is making sure we've gotten our fill of R and R.." the Captain usually kept them guessing at times. Then again he didn't mind, didn't mind being one of her crew.

"Bridgetown for sure." He stepped aside to avoid a stumbling drunk then continued. "The cargo will be unloaded there, handed over to one of the Captains she knows. She's been looking over maps of the Atlantic shore of South American but she hasn't said why yet." He gave a slight shrug and laughed. "All I know, is she told me to make sure we have a good supply of spyglasses for watching the waters around us. Seems pirate activity is on the rise since the English and Spanish are at it again." Always one of the sea-going countries or another seemed to be involved in battle.

He gave a nod as they walked, listening intently and automatically side stepping the drunk who was precariously headed for the pier. He'd probably fall in and have the guards on patrol fish him out. The thought had him grin. The one would wake up safely in a cell which would keep him from getting into any real trouble or dead. "We can guess why, long as we can avoid those Pirates.." last thing they needed. "You would think she'd avoid the area knowing that." But then, their Captain liked to dare the devil as many of them did.

"If she tried to avoid any pirates, we'd never go sailing outside Heathfield waters. If you mean the Trinity, well, last they were heard of, they were in Africa." He grinned at Justin as they came up to the tavern. "Besides, with me on the wheel, and you manning the guns, we should be able to outrun Davy Jones himself." He crossed himself before pulling open the door. No point in taking chances where luck was concerned. And just as he did, a man came near flying out the door and landed in a puddle. "Looks lively in here tonight."

"Well then, that's a horse of a different color.." pirates of the norm were fine to engage in battle if it came down to that. They ended up with a lot of contraband cargo they got to pick and choose what to get rid of, what to keep. In such battles the bounty was shared. Once more he not only side stepped but went flat up against the side of the door as the one went flying by. Perhaps his boot helped the launch through the air. Hard to tell it was so quick, except for maybe the grin plastered on his face. "Aye, guid night to be out." Or in as they proceeded within.

It was crowded but no more then most nights. Not as bad as on Fridays though. He laughed as he followed Justin inside, lifting a hand to a few he knew here and there as well as some of their crew. "What'll you be having tonight, Justin? First round is on me." And probably several more if he lost count. "Find us a table and I'll get the drinks." Perfect night for enjoying themselves.

"Ale with whiskey for a chaser." Something they usually drank until the whiskey was gone and it was all ale from there on out. He too greeted ones he knew and some he knew to see. As Sam headed for the bar, he averted his path to a table that ones were just leaving, grabbing it before anyone else could and certainly a few had started in that direction. He swiped the debris to one side to make it easier for the barmaid, if there was one tonight. Ah, yes, two in fact but they were overwhelmed at the moment. He made sure his seat was clean before settling down and back. The night had begun.

It didn't take long for Sam to speak to the tender, obtain the drinks and head for the table where Justin was seated. He moved easily enough through the crowd, around a table, then another before he set the tray on the table. "Hmmm if I ever decided to become a landlubber I can serve drinks." He checked the chair and brushed it off before sitting. Two tankards, two shot glasses and a bottle of good whiskey.

"Aye?" Brows lifting with the emerging smirk, "and get your arse pinched enough you couldn't sit well at all.." like they did on the females when any could get away with it. He rubbed his hands together as the tray was set, sitting up as the front legs of his chair touched down. "Now this is a guid start." They might even order some food so they could drink more!

"Who would pinch me?" Samuel started laughing at the thought. "I mean, I know there are men who would, but nothing like it's done to the lasses." And that was where that discussion ended. "Aye, it is." He picked up a mug and took a drink of the ale. "Perfect."

Who would pinch him? Other men... but Justin wasn't about to say it, hell, if he couldn't figure it out. "Never know until you try," like Sam was going to give up his career and become a waiter. Now was some time for some serious drinking as he picked up the mug to half drain then chase it with the shot of whiskey.

That was what Sam said but he really wasn't worried about it. Not here and not now, knowing it would never happen. He'd die an old sailor, maybe not on a ship, but at the least, living near the docks where he could spin tales with the best of them. He watched Justin, and followed suit. As long as the drink was good as well as the company, Samuel was content to stay right where he was.

He caught hold of the barmaid, the pretty one, as she happened by and ordered them up some bread, meats and cheeses so they would not end up like a few they passed on the way getting here. A coin and a smile and she was very willing and would come back with extras for the coins.. and that smile Justin usually won them over with.

Justin could be a charmer and it was fun to watch him work his magic on a lass. Especially when it got them extra attention, like here at Sparky's. He glanced around while they waited for the food and took note of a couple who seemed somewhat out of place. All the talk about pirates always made him wary though he doubted those men were outlaws. They just were shifty-looking and probably misunderstood. A thought that had him grinning and taking a drink to hide it!

There was only one lass that has been a challenge for him and he dreamed of the day or more like night of spending it with her up close and very personal. But then, he was sure most of the crew had the same pipe dream. He noticed where Sam noticed but with a quick glance than draw any attention to himself. They were probably misunderstood correctly in his estimate! "I hope we do some treasure finding," which he knew the Captain had with her brothers. "Maybe her brothers will come along." If that got the Captain more willing.

"It's possible. They hang around the islands too." He leaned back in his chair. "Hopefully Captain DeHaven or those other captains won't be sending her to Africa again." He hadn't minded that journey, but it had gotten a little hairy a couple of times. Still, they made good money and that was never a bad thing.

"Aye, I din care for that kind of heat," not mentioning the snakes. There were not only too many snakes but most were poisonous. Making the money made up for it all as he started in on the food now that it was set down, overstuffed thick slides of homemade bread with thin slices of meat and cheese.

Not to mention the Dream had saved not only Sam's life, but those of the men with him. It wasn't a memory he wanted to keep though and usually pushed it aside. "No, it's brutal." He helped himself to some of the food as well. Two men were arguing in a corner over cards and one of the serving girls... no wait, that was a customer... was chewing out a male. Maybe her husband. A couple of sailors from a ship that had ported in the morning were singing a sea shanty that had a few other laughing and joining in. Sparky's had been a good place to start their night.

Justin started humming in unison with the others even from that distance. Sure enough others started in too that drowned out the ones arguing. The tender was over to put an end to it, having the one leave the place. Hopefully that was the end of it or a good fight would break out. Hmmm, maybe the one would come back!

Never knew! It could happen. Samuel didn't bother humming. He was too busy stuffing his face. He felt a prickly feeling though on the back of his neck and glanced around. No reason for it. The shifty-eyed men had left when the arguing began so it wasn't them. Ah well, he was starting to feel mellow and put it out of his mind. Just a bit of anticipation maybe. He was looking forward to being out to sea again. "Did you hear about the Quinn Captain and the undersea vessel? The dockhands were talking about it."

He too was stuffing his face but managed to hum in between bites. Finally sated, for now, he'd probably continue picking, he sat back. "Aye, who hasn't heard about it. He got his whole cargo too I hear, lock, stock and barrel and a rich investment not lost to the sea. Shame about his ship but he's alive and with an even more grand vessel to sail the seas." There was a slight frown but it didn't last as he started up his drinking again.

"Aye, it was a bit of luck that." Though they knew he had lost many from his crew. "Would you be willing to go under the sea in such a vessel?" He smiled at the thought. "Seeing what's under there, right up to other wrecks." Now wouldn't that be something. "Maybe even see ol' Neptune himself." There was a hint of laughter when he added that.

He scratched along his jaw but the barmaid pass, giving him a wink and a certain kind of smile. Derailed his thoughts for a moment before back as his hand lowered to encompass the mug again. "Aye, I would. I've seen the sights above, and I would not mind seeing the sights below without having to die to get there." As in drown along the way. "It would be a great way to plunder other ships that the Sea claimed." And thoughts of treasure was back on his mind.

"You've got gold fever, don't you?" He watched Justin over the rim of his glass, dark green eyes holding a glint. He had seen it before, though Justin didn't have it as bad as some. Likely a few others on the ship had it on their
minds as well. He did himself at times.

"Aye, one day I'll have enough to set meself up as a gentleman and have the pick of women for me wife. Settle down and have a family." But more than likely the sea would call him back or he'd start running a cargo business himself.

"Sounds like a good goal." He shifted on his chair, one arm draped over the back. He took another long drink and watched as another group of men came in. "Have you met a likely lass yet?" He turned back to his friend. "We haven't been in port long enough."

"Aye, but she's out of reach." Not adding anything else or certainly any suspicion would be affirmed. He gave a shrug of his shoulders, "at least I'll not accept anything less than the best," or remain single the rest of his life. But a wealthy businessman with enough looks rarely remained single the rest of his life, if he took that path. That IF also included getting wealthy!

"Really?" He blinked then gave his friend a half-smile. "You're selling yourself short, Justin. Give it time and see what happens." He shrugged slightly. "It'll hit you before you know it." He looked toward the group that had been singing. A couple of the men were doing a jig to the song and a man with a lute had joined in.

"And the moon is blue.. and the sea is red and the sky yellow.." he started laughing as he lifted his drink. "To the future and who knows what it holds. Miracles happen." The Quinn captain they talked about earlier was a good example there.

"To the futures and yes, to the miracles it might bring." He lifted his drink as well and downed most of it. "Shall we move on?" It seemed Sparky's might be too quiet tonight and there were no games they could get into.

He grabbed up a stuffed slice of bread and the rest of the whiskey, "aye, time tae move.." as it wasn't good to sit in one place for too long anyway. He grinned and in passing the barmaid spared a few low words that had her blushing and smiling at the same time.

Samuel left some coins behind for the lass, then he stood. Chuckling, he passed both Justin and the serving maid and headed outdoors. A cigarillo was lit while he waited for Justin and he watched the busy street. A good night indeed!

Oh, Justin wasn't that long as he was near on Sam's tail. A cigarillo would be enjoyed along the way to the next tavern or bar stop they made. They might visit them all if they lasted.


Date: 05-21-12
Poster: Lorcan O'Domhnaill
Post # 3

Ideas to put into Action

It was said that the Sea Wolf never slept. Of course that was an exaggeration but the sound of a hammer could be heard in the adjacent area of the tavern part of Hollow Woods Inn and Mercantile. The tavern had quite a few customers having a good ole time drinking, carousing with the few women that came and some singing a lot of sailor songs.

Dorian had been on his usual prowl though the docks and outlying areas of the city. It wasn't anything like the places he had gone before they came to Heathfield, and with good reason. A different type of people all around. He came into the tavern and paused to study the ones there, then headed through the room to learn the secret of the hammering. No slipping in and out of shadows here. He didn't want to scare any of the patrons.

"I wondered when you might show," said as he hammered in another shelf. In the new addition, part was going to be a dining area to open up the bar more and part was going to be an expansion of their gift shop. He finally descended from the ladder, with a hop down the last few rungs than taking them. He had the graceful flow of limb the wolf had and would remind one of such that ever took the time to study Lorcan. "How was the wandering this night?" Knowing full well Dorian needed that release off on his own. "Have yea seem me sister about," grinning already as he was across the way to set aside the hammer and few remaining nails.

"Aye, it's before midnight, isn't it? Bit early for me." Dorian smiled then shrugged. "Usual. Fight or two, talk of smuggling but just talk. Not much else in these lands." His smile grew wider and he looked away and upward for a few brief seconds. "Only for a minute, maybe two before she was off, and running. Not sure what she's up to." Likely doing some training.

Long as he had seen her for he had not since early this morning. Then again he was here most of the day in the hope of completing this project before the summer set in. Right in time for the high point of business. "I hear that the Quinn Captain is going to buy one of those undersea modules from the Alterians." Giving a nod as he had been impressed watching that day.

"Seems to be the biggest piece of information around. I know the day the Captain and his brother tested the thing out, just about everyone on the docks claimed to have seem them." He shrugged then crossed his arms over his chest. "Then again, when one lives in a quiet land, one tends to get caught up in the least bit of excitement." He study Lorcan a moment. "You planning to talk him into letting you have a ride?" He wouldn't be surprised.

"Aye.." which had him laughing as a hand came in a brief comrade's grip of his shoulder. "Might consider getting one myself it is as good as the tales spreading of what the underworld sea is like. It would be great for finding some treasure and such is the idea for the Devil's fork." Which had never been explored under the sea wise. Certainly there would be sunken ships from that once pirate's cove.

They'd be more likely to get it there then buried somewhere. He chuckled, then looked thoughtful. "Aye, there is that. I'm not sure who'd go with you." Dorian would and Lorcan likely knew it. "Marsali might. Molly would. Mac probably. Maybe Gawain and Danny. Solitaire likely not. Not so sure about Avalon or the other lasses." It still amazed him how their 'family' had grown.

"Yea don't?" With Lorcan looking at him that way! "I'll be selling tickets..." which had him chuckling. "I've the money to invest even if it means them building another. I've the ships that can support it.." obviously he had made up his mind and it was set. An adventure for them all as much as he liked the Mercantile and Inn, they needed this.

Ramses had seemed to disappear but that was unlikely. Dorian knew that one would probably pop up again, unless he were truly dead. But there had not been rumors on that either. He laughed out right. "Tickets would be a good way to go. Likely earn every penny back that you paid out." Dorian was well passed just being restless. His excursions were becoming longer and farther away.

"A hundred fold in just a year." How he was figuring it. There were rumors and stories of the battles that were waged in that area. "So, shall we go have a drink and seek and audience with the Alterians in the next few days?"

"A drink sounds like a grand idea." That smile had never left Dorian's face, and it grew wider with mention of a drink. "How do you get in touch with them? Think it? Write a missive?" He didn't know much about the Alterians. "Knock on their door and say good morning? Or good eve." He uncrossed his arms, and stuck his hands into his pockets.

"They have a place," which had him pause in quick thought as he started into the adjacent room where the noise grew louder, "Genesis Manor." Giving a firm nod as that was the right place. "I hear the place itself is worth the time and visit." He was nodding to those within as they passed to a table that was always reserved for them. The one barmaid was quickly over with the usual, tankards of ale and whiskey to follow.

"I knew they had a place." Dorian shrugged slightly. "Didn't know the name. Ah, then you'll be traveling there." He placed a hand over his heart and gave a slight bow. "And I'm always willing to lend a hand when you go a-visiting, though you might want to take one of the lasses. They're prettier." He thanked the barmaid as he sat, then looked at Lorcan. "We haven't been sailing for a while."

"I think you and I will get along with them just fine." Giving the barmaid a smile which had her blushing that he noticed her then back to Dorian. "I'm expecting you to go. Mack.. " which had him chuckle to even think of reactions there.

"No doubt." He watched the lass then looked back. "Mack to the Alterians or down to look around the bottom of the sea floor?" He paused to take a drink of the ale. "Should be interesting in both cases!"

Which had him laughing before he was taking a long cold drink of the ale. Once set and the swipe from the back of his hand over his mouth, he spoke up again. "Exactly what I'm thinking." He was quick to follow the ale with a shot of whiskey.

One never knew how a person would react. "I wonder how long they'll take to make it." Just a casual thought before he looked slowly around the common room. "Anything else of interest I should know about?" Best way to know when to listen for something important.

"I think if I get all the materials they need, it wont take long at all." His mind wandered on such thoughts as sailing the sea again in search of treasure. Lots of treasure. And so the evening continued on that note.


Date: 05-25-12
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 4

Preparing to Sail

It was a warm clear night at the docks. Late evening and yet it was as busy as it had been all day. A fog horn in the distance sounded for the heat caused the mists to rise from the gently rolling waves. The taverns were full and every so often one would hear the whistles of the guards that patrolled. Occasional shouts as some sailors were still busy at work. Such a crew belonged to the Anaconda II. They were loading crates into her belly as Segan went over the list with his lieutenant commander Barnes on deck. Lieutenant Shaffer was making sure all kept moving and even lending a hand.

Ciaran had been spending time at his usual haunts, doing a little gambling, a little flirting and a lot of drinking. Seemed to be his favorite pastime lately. He didn't go home until late, if at all. Mornings were spent taking care of chores, if he did go home, or at the warehouse all day going over notes, ledgers and any other necessities with his brother, or watching the fighters. And then the routine began again. He wasn't so drunk that he didn't know the Anaconda II. He perched against a piling, squinting one eye as he watched the crew. Seemed Segan was about to head out to sea soon.

He caught sight of his cousin doing a lean-to and surely he'd had a few. Now that all was set in order, he could use a break and join Ciaran in a drink. He barely got off the ship when accosted by one of the dockside doxies. She was one of the prettier ones, or at least had not lost her looks yet. Certainly she was tempting but if he went there then there would be more looking for the same. It was one thing in a foreign port but in your hometown it would not be wise. Something to put a blot on the Quinn family's reputation. Discreet wasn't something that flourished at the docks if one got a feather in their cap. He was nice to her regardless and gave her a few coins. Still, he was having a little difficult time putting her off as she seemed persistent.

Ciaran was watching it all with a slight smile. He crossed his arms over his chest, ankle crossed over the other, the toe of his boot resting on the boards of the dock. Some of the lasses around could be persistent and this lass was definitely one. A few others were watching but no one seemed to take any real interest, except for Ciaran himself. Finally he pushed up from his lean and started toward Segan and the woman.

He was shaking his head in slow motion when next the lass' arms were up around his neck and her lips sealing over his. That was until, with a firm grip on either of her shoulders, he peeled her away. Anger was rising for a few reasons but he kept his cool regardless. It was the look in his eyes that set her straight and she gave up the game especially seeing another headed towards them. She practically ran away with the coins still clutched tightly in her hand. It was her futile look from him to another that had him turn on a booted heel. "Ciaran," the anger disappeared and was replaced with a grin. "Have you a drop of the pure on you?" He could use some at this point. His men had been watching and he would be teased later on, probably once they were out to sea.

He watched the lass go with a slight frown. He knew most of the doxies about but this one didn't seem familiar. An inward shrug and he turned to grin at his cousin. "Aye, I always keep me flask filled for any emergency that might present itself." The flask was pulled from a pocket and offered over to the Captain. "Enjoy." He could get it refilled again.

Perhaps she was new and didn't know the unspoken code of their kind in this port. She would learn if she stayed or find life very difficult by others of her profession. "Ever seen her?" He hadn't either with a quick look over his shoulder but she was already out of sight. His frown mirrored Ciaran's a moment before dismissed from his thoughts. He took up the flask as he didn't have his on him at the moment. It was followed by a good healthy drink, then capped and handed back. His throat burned but it was a good burn.

"No, not one I've seen here before. Lass might have someone pushing her for coins." He rubbed at the back of his neck, then looked at Segan. "Took off quick enough once you gave her that captain's look of yours." He grinned and shrugged slightly. "Heading out to sea soon? Got time for a drink?"

"Aye, got me a mission," which had him look from side to side making sure no one was near enough to hear him. "Going to deliver some goods for Bovee too." Which was a good cover for the other. "I made quite a bit on the goods I was able to salvage from the sea's bottom and I bought me the sea bubble too." Which if he looked closely he could see it rigged up on the starboard.

"Ah, that makes sense. You'll be gone for a while then?" He nodded his head toward the business area of the docks. "Got time for a drink or three?" He wouldn't ask questions about the mission. But he might about the goods. Where you be headin' with those goods?" A normal question to ask.

"Aye, that I do, wont be leaving until tomorrow morning." He started in that direction as he would share with his cousin. "In dragging up me goods we found a box amongst them that had not been on me ship." Here his words lowered. "It contained a few maps and seems like there is indication of a few places that treasure might be found. Some of the notes are in ancient symbols so first I find the witch doctor my lieutenant knows of that might be able to help. For a price I am sure. We wrote down the markings on plain paper, certainly not going to show her the real maps."

"Heading for Africa then?" He scratch at the stubble on his chin and grinned. "So it's a mission for yourself and not one for the Crown. I'm sure if there's treasure, you'll be making whatever you spend back. You say your farewells to your family yet?" Ciaran wouldn't keep Segan out too late if Segan still had family to deal with. He headed for Sparky's since it was closer to where the Anaconda II was docked.

"First we will be heading for the Coral sea, Lifou." Which was an island where this witch doctor could be found. "Aye, although I'm not going to alarm them. Just another cargo run." Mary Quinn would be throwing fits otherwise and he didn't want her to worry any more than she would anyway.

"Ah, the Pacific then. You'll be traveling a while." He motioned for Segan to go into the tavern first. Someone had propped open the door, leaving the patrons to wander in and out at will. He waved at the tender and held up two fingers. Tankards of ale, with whiskey chasers. The tavern was crowded as usual but the crowd seemed to be on their semi-best behavior.

He noticed the slightly swinging sign of the Sparky's that creaked with each slow motion. "The trip will take as long as it does." Which may seem an elusive answer but it was the only answer a Captain could give on such a mission. They could get to the witch doctor only to find the map was nothing more than certain stops or where a man had his women in each port. There were other markings that indicated pirate ships from what he, Barnes, Shaffer and MacCoy could figure out when they sat, drinking and wondering over the find. Segan ducked in and spoke no more upon the matter directly. He learned long ago about ears. Once inside he headed for a section of the bar that had cleared, claiming two seats there.

It was a true enough answer too. One that Ciaran understood, though neither he nor his brothers were sailing men. Ciaran paid for the first round of drinks, and possible more from the coin he placed on the bar. He took a drink of the ale, then looked at Segan again. "I guess I'll have to be keeping an eye on Conor for you." Though it would likely be the opposite if they went out drinking and gaming. "It should be interesting with that bubble along." Segan would be able to go deep into the ocean with the sea-thing-a-ma-bob.

"Aye, you do that," keeping an eye on Conor. That gained a chuckle as if saying good luck. Who knew what treasures laid ahead for him to find in record time. Less risk to his men as it could withstand sharks and the like. They had some kind of sonar that drove them away when needed. "What are your plans for the summer?" Finally taking a long drink of the ale that was delivered and then poured them some shots from the bottle of Tullamore Dew.

"Same as always. Doing what needs to be done around the manor, working for Liam, gambling, drinking." He grinned over the rim of the tankard and shrugged. "All the usual fun things. Liam's going to be expanding things, so I'll be helping him with that. Visiting the kin." He shrugged with a laugh. Very little had changed since their arrival in Heathfield. It was kind of nice. Kind of.

"Sounds like a good summer to me. Hopefully I'll be back in time to enjoy some of it here. Go have a few drinks, gamble, carouse along with you." Which had him chuckle as he lifted his mug. "To the better things in life that keep us from boredom's grip."

"And may it keep the restlessness away." He added, almost as if he were praying for that to happen. He, Liam and Evan had wandered for so long, Ciaran wasn't sure he could handle staying put for too long. Guess he'd see. "And I hope you make it back in time as well. If not, we'll do the same in the fall." And winter, and spring, and next summer again.

"I will be back before winter, that much I can tell you. If I stay away too long it will wear on my grandmother and probably my brothers would start thinking about finding me and dragging me back." Which had him chuckle again before taking another drink. Thoughtful. "I almost got married and planned to stay around more, no long adventures.." which he trailed off with a slight shake of his head, "wasn't to be," but he discovered it was in him to settle down at some point, have a family, continue with his profession but modify it to fit.

"That would be interesting, and probably the only way to get Conor on a ship." He laughed then shook his head. "That's too bad, Segan but I'm sure things worked out for the best, or will." He looked down at his drink. "I've had a crush or two, or did when I was a lad, but I think I use all me luck on cards. Women... I'd probably marry a lass that would be like Fiona. And I'd be spending too much time away from home." He shook his head at the thought. "She's a good woman, but she has this idea of how things should be and that's the end of it."

"You want someone to keep you organized?" Which had him laughing again. "I think if the right woman came along you'd settle down. I know I would. Been one here and there I considered but was looking in the wrong places so far." He gave a rolling shrug of his shoulders. This adventure would be good for him in many ways. Major and minor ones. "Well, I should be getting back to me ship." It was getting late and the talk was getting him down some.

"Aye, it is at that." He downed the last of his drink and stood, stretching. "I think I'll head back to the warehouse and sleep there tonight. Head out to the manor in the morning and see what Evan needs help with." He put a hand on Segan's shoulder. "You stay safe, Capt'n Quinn. We'll be watchin' the horizon for your return. All of us." He stepped back then. "I'll walk you back to the ship before I head off."

He was up from his stool leaving a tip for the drinks they had as well buying a round or two. "I'll have to come by the warehouse and see what renovations you've made when I get back." Which he was heading out the door with his cousin. "I plan to be back in one piece and quite richer for the effort."

A black cat runs out in front of Segan, chasing after a wharf rat. Between his legs it darted without looking up, hungered eyes fixed on the rodent as it ran chasing after it into the dark!

"You know you'll be more then welcome. Hell, Liam may offer to go a round or two with you." He grinned, side-stepping a drunken couple who were arguing as they headed for the door. Ciar had the bottle of whiskey in his hand.

A captain could dance as he shot up straight when something went between his feet. "Hell!" He never did like the wharf rats. They'd eat anything including humans which he'd seen on abandoned ships with their dead. Cats were no better in chasing after the diseased rodents. He landed in a half squat position for balance then was up again. "I'd like to go a round with Liam, I hear he is good."

Beware! Beware! Nevermore .. though rat instead of raven. A long screech and back came the black cat. Long fast strides had it first run around Ciaran, then dart between Segan's legs again. Hot on the cats tail, was two wharf rats with that look of hunger in their eyes.

Ciaran stopped in his tracks, laughing as Segan did a jump to avoid being tripped up. "Well, you're light on your feet, apparently so you should give him a good workout." It would be interesting to see which cousin lasted the longest. Oh hell! He sidestepped the rats, watching them chase the poor cat. "Wonder if it'll make it." Ugh.

"Seems we best get on our way before we run into an army of them!" Laughing at this point as he was out and away from the maddening rodents as well the feline and heading for the Anaconda II.


Date: 06-24-12
Poster: Rosaleen Lynch
Post # 5

Gaining a Crew

The day was sweltering hot but that was par for this island known as Madagascar. In spite of the heat many were about the port and dock area. Goods being loaded, deals being made and ships coming in and out of the port. It was here that Rosa landed her feet in need of a crew. She had a few men but she would need a lot more. A makeshift desk outside one of the favored taverns was set up with a ledger ready for anyone who qualified to put their mark. Most could not write but she would memorize their mark if they made the grade. Depending on the position depended on the qualifications needed. She was getting the bulk of workers, grunts, qualifications included they have most of their teeth, a strong back and solid constitution. Anything else, such as being a thief, was at their own risk. Laws were dictated by her as she saw fit. She was known to have ones tossed overboard for thieving, others giving the lash for not following orders for their first offense, there was no second to live through. Presently she was having the one male take a turn as she examined his physique then prodded the muscles of his arms. He passed and so made his mark. Silus, an older man with a patch over one eye, stood at her side but said little other than if she looked his way, she would know what he thought.

Reinn hated the heat, and cursed his luck again as he made his way toward the tavern where he had been spending his days for the past two weeks. He had signed aboard a ship in Tortuga and found the captain to be a wastrel, the crew lazy and the cargo not worth what the buyer had paid. He jumped ship as soon as they hit shore, and that shore was in Madagascar. There was only one way he'd get off this gods' forsaken island and that was to find another ship. As he rounded a building, he saw a line, a desk and behind that desk a rather intriguing sight. Now he didn't care if the captain was male or female, as long as they knew what they were about. So, after a moment's thought, he stepped up to the end of the line. He had left the furs off but still wore leather armor that left his arms bare except for leather cuffs. Tattoos marked his neck, arms and back, though that one couldn't be seen. The most noticeable at the moment was an Odin's cross tattooed on the inner part of his right arm.

She was a sight, dark hair was pinned up and eyes just as dark. Lips that were made for loving, curled at the edges. The vest tight over the poet's shirt that showed enough of feminine soft mounds. The cutlass at her side was the threat that there was no unwanted touching. The worn handle showed it was put to good use a lot. Pants were cinched at the waist and the legs a bit looser for easier maneuvering as well cooler. The boots made of a light weight leather that were well tooled, the overall color was a dark green and the shirt of cream. She sported a good tan so was not so bothered by the sun's rays but certainly took care being out in such too long like anyone else of these lands. A few more went by and Silus even growled at one that was only in line to flirt with the pretty captain. Some left when they discovered she was the Captain, a female, of the well made Serpentine docked not far from where she stood, one booted foot propped against the seat of the chair when not examining the applicants. Soon that line melted into the blond haired Norseman as she eyed him with appraisal. "Yea bae a long way from 'ome lad." Her foot coming down from its propped position as she checked out his physique. "W'at position would yea bae sign'in up fer?"

"Aye, I am at that." He was Norse but his accent was a mix, and most prominent was British. "Both homes. Whatever is needed. I've served as rigger, a gunner, a first mate." He gave a shrug of shoulders. Reinn was muscular but not bulky. Quick and sure footed with an athlete's build rather then a brute. He gave Silus a look then smiled back at the Captain. "And aye, I'm tellin' truth." He had no need to lie, now did he?

She had her brutes already who were in the bar celebrating their new assignment and getting to know the others they would be sailing with. "And w'cih o' t'ese would yea be preferr'in?" All the while she was moving around him, a squeeze to his upper arm, a lift of his hair to see if it was infested, a checking of his teeth as he spoke and lastly a grope to his buttock then a slap as the muscle was taut there too. "Yea handle a sword well?" Almost a statement, "and dae yea 'andle ot'ers as well?" Asking on his people skills. Silus gave no reaction to the man's look his way nor did Rosa as she plied him with questions.

"If I have a choice, I ... " He paused to give her a look over his shoulder before he laughed. "You know, some men might take offense to that. First Mate." Decision made, whether the man with her held that position or not. "Mind tellin' me what exactly your lookin' for when you grope a man or are you just seein' if they like it?"

"I bae begg'in yea differ t'ere, most men love it. Not sure w'ere yea grew up." Being he looked Nordic yet he sounded English. "O' yea bae one o' t'ose proper Englishmen," which she suffered a look with her nose in the air as she rounded him back to stand in front of him again. "Iffin yea 'ave a tig't ass yea bae 'olding yea own. How dae yea handle problems arising betwix two males opposing eac' ot'er?" She propped a booted foot on the chair again as she fixed the leggings in.

"True, there are some but others ...." He left that trail off, laughed and held out his arms. "Do I look proper? Me mother was English, me father from Denmark." He crossed his arms as he considered her question. "Depends on the situation. Sometimes you have to let them fight it out, makin' sure they don't kill one another, unless it's something that can be solved except by death. Otherwise, I'd have them separated, find out what's going and decide their punishment from there." He paused a moment. "Only seen it come to death blows once."

"And yea would bae able to enforce t'e laws o' t'e sea?" Which were a general set of laws and tweaked by individual captain. Some changed them completely but most stuck to a code of sorts. "W'at else mig't yea add fer mae tae consider giv'in yea souch a position or close?" Which she glanced to Silus and knew what was written in the brief eye contact back.

"Aye, I would. I deal with people well enough. Most seem to get along with me, but I won't be puttin' up with nonsense. They'll follow your rules or suffer the consequences, even if I have to take whip in hand myself. I can set my hand to the wheel if need be. I can read and write, and navigate by the stars or by instinct." He gave the Captain a half grin. "And I need to get off this island before I go mad."

"Well t'en w'at bae yea name? I'm Rosa and addressed as Captain ot'erwise." She held out her hand to give it a shake. "And yea can s'ow mae yea skill start'in now." Which she closed the ledger indicating to the others that had lined up behind him, "tomorrow bae anot'er day." Which she would get a few more before they set sail. Once she had enough for a crew, then they would load the goods. She indicated the tavern right behind them, "time fer a drink and gett'in tae know eac' ot'er." Silus actually moved to get the door for her and the new recruit.

He took her hand and gave it a firm shake but not overly so. Wasn't the place to be gallant. "Reinn Yngarson, or in the way of my father's people, Reinn, son of Yngar." Either worked. He didn't give the nickname yet. Wasn't sure if Rosa would care for such. "Pleasure to meet you, Cap'n." He glanced over his shoulder, then followed her to the door. He gave Silus a nod of thanks, even if the door was being held for the Captain more then for him.

The place was dark and smelled as only sailors could have a place smell. Stale cigars, ale, body odor, ale, oil, bad breath, ale and more ale. It was not the cleanest place, The Rusty Nail, but it was far better a place than most along the piers. She caught sight of the ten she hired on today and directed them over there. "T'is bae Reinn and he bae t'e first mate so mind 'im well and not 'ave it come tae mae." A smile was quick to follow, "drink up men." Which she grabbed one of the tankards to lift up then took a long draw from it.

Ah, the smell of one of his favorite places. Reinn nodded at one or two he knew vaguely from his stay here, then studied the ten Rosa had called over. He nodded at them, studying each before grabbing one of the tankards. The ale wasn't as bad as some of the places he'd been and he didn't have to choke it down. He lifted his tankard after taking a drink. "To your health, Cap'n!"

"Iffin yea bae 'ungry, t'eir food bae passable. I've mae a guid cook." Saying it as being one of the more important finds for her crew. It could be disastrous otherwise if her crew got sick with any kind of intestinal bacteria. She would drink to her health, "and tae a guid work'in crew," dedicated to her and each other, Otherwise they would be weeded out. At least a few knew each other, came off of some other ship that had sunk. She didn't consider herself a pirate but a privateer.

"Had a good meal earlier." Reinn answered with an easy smile. He had been staying at a tavern that had a decent cook because he didn't want to miss out on a good ship from sickness. Of course, he liked the spicier food of the island and it was rare he fell ill so in that he was lucky. He started talking to a few of the men, just to get an idea of whom he was dealing with. And he watched Rosa, though discreetly. He had heard tales about female captains but this was the first he had served under one. It should prove to be interesting indeed.


Date: 06-28-12
Poster: Rosaleen Lynch
Post # 6

Setting Sail

Rosa had pretty much gotten her crew together and her ship, the Serpentine, ready. She still needed a good carpenter - surgeon and so decided to head to Jamaica on her way to Barbados. She knew a man there that would be perfect if she could convince him. If he had not signed up with another crew in the meantime. She doubted it but she had her ways of convincing. The day was perfect to set sail, a belly full of goods that would be dropped off in Key West, Florida first. Although they should survive without one for now, the surgeon in her opinion was the most important crew member, for they kept them all alive. What good was a dead captain succumbed to some tropical nasty? She was up on deck waiting on her First mate to report. Pants of black, vest and a white blouse would be her usual wear, boots of course and a hat at times.

Reinn had seen to his quarters, then to the cargo and finally to the rest of the crew. Everything was in order as he headed up onto deck. The crew the captain had picked was a good one, and he doubted they'd have any trouble. He headed for Rosa as soon as he emerged, long stride carrying him quickly to her side. "Everything is in order, Capt'n. And the men settled. The cargo is secured." He handed her the manifest, then stepped back, looking up at the sails. They were filled with wind, and if they held, they'd make good time.

"Any with hangovers?" She was going over the list of goods they were transporting, "all has been accounted for?" Or the ones loading would be in big trouble. She had a fair way of paying them but if someone slacked and cost them money out of laziness, drunkenness or the like, then it got docked from their pay. More than once, then they were left behind. The sails were new as much on the ship was. Time and travel would change that. "Hear any talk along the piers before we set sail," talk being anything noteworthy like storms, trading and pirates.

"If any do have hangovers, they're hidin' it well." He nodded again, and pointed to the manifest. "I marked each off after I found the crate. And he gave a shake of his head to her question. "Some. Summer storms are expected to be about average, though there might be a few more hurricanes then usual." He didn't know how that could be known, didn't ask. "Word is the pirates that were plaguing the Spanish seemed to have moved out of the waters. But they could be laying low. Beyond that, nothing special."

"Did ye investigate if any aboard know anything on first aid if needed?" She could wing some if necessary but another would be more appropriate. She was hoping he got some results there until she got hold of MacAvery.

"Aye, young Pierce over there, mopping the deck, said his pa was a doctor. Learned some from him before he died and they got kicked out o' their house to pay his debts." He looked around and nodded toward an older sailor. "That's Stew. Said he knows some too, though he's no sawbones." It would give them some to work with. "Most o' the men can at least dress a wound."

"Good, see if he knows anything about carpentry too. If he works out, I'll have him as an assistant to MacAvery." Then muttering under her breath, "once I can find and convince the cur." The muttering ceased as she continued. "Everyone is content then? What of you, need anything?" And didn't she appraise him with a glance up and down with a wicked smile to follow. Hard to tell if she was just leading him into a verbal trap or not.

He nodded then looked down at the lovely woman. He wouldn't forget she was the Captain but she was all woman too. "Aye, they are, I'm content, also. Though," he paused to meet her eyes once she looked back, "if you like what you see, I'm sure we can figure somethin' out." He could very well be teasing, or be sincere in his offer.

She patted him on the chest as she drew up closer, he towered over her but that didn't make her feel 'small' in that sense. The smile swept as easy as the breeze that was carrying them across the Atlantic Ocean, "a good answer," giving him a wink as certainly he had a nice face to look upon, let along his physique. "How many days did Hines say it will take for us to get there? The food supply should be at least two weeks more than the course suggests." Which she was sure he knew.

He grinned at her then became serious again. Reinn did not take his duties lightly. "Depends on the wind. He's estimating near a month if we run into trouble. Less time if the winds hold true, and we manage to keep to our route without storm, pirates or no wind at all." A becalmed ship would bring the biggest threat of boredom. If it went on too long, they could run out of food and fresh water.

She was nodding as he spoke, taking it all in. "That is about what I figured," so the food situation was good and they could always fish for their food or stop at some remote island. One never knew what adventure would happen then. There was also a partial map she had and she knew MacAvery had the missing part. That was where her convincing would come from although he too was one good looking, yet rugged, man. It was at that point shouts rang out as one found an enormous school of dolphins following them. Not just the one or two but hundreds showed up. Well, as much as the one could count. She was over to the starboard to watch for herself. "I hope this is a good omen."

Again, Reinn nodded, then turned to watch the dolphins. "Aye, it is, Captain. And we've got a whole herd of them followin' us." He joined her for a moment, then looked up at the helmsman. He was keeping the ship steady, though he too was grinning at the sight. "And all the crew knows it." They might start calling her their lucky lady if things kept going in that vein.

"Keep in touch with the one in the crow's nest, what was his name again?" She would probably end up giving them nicknames to remember them by. "Shorty?" The lad was the shortest of them all, might not even be as tall as she was.

"Aye, Shorty." He chuckled as he looked upward. Being short was an advantage up there. The way the thing swayed in the wind made it a punishment for some of the men. "Real name is James I think but probably been called Shorty since he reached his full height." Maybe even when he was a lad. That sailor noticed the First Mate looking upward and waved.

"Aye, something like that but Shorty is easier to remember," which had her chuckle under her breath. It was good the crew took the schools of dolphins as a good omen than not. Otherwise their luck would plummet for the overall feel. That was what she discovered over the course of years sailing with such men. If they thought they were cursed, then it was like they brought it down upon themselves. "I'll be in my cabin going over a few things." Those maps she had gotten and if she felt they were genuine, she might be sharing for then they could go treasure hunting. Everyone got an equal share.

He laughed again then nodded. "Very well, Capt'n. I'll let you know if anythin' comes up, or changes." He headed up to the aft deck, more then likely to relieve the man at the wheel for a bit of grub and drink. It was good to be back at sea again.


Date: 07-13-12
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 7

Aboard The Dream

Regan Callihan, Captain of the Neptune's Dream, stood on the forward deck of her ship and watched as the bow of the ship sliced through the waves. A moment later, she was standing on the bowsprit, one hand curled around a rope to help her keep balance. It was not just an act of daring, but a way for her to see that the bow was in top condition. Satisfied, she used the rope in her hand to swing back onto the main deck.

"Mister Davidson! Keep our Lady steady and on course." She called up to Samuel on the aft deck. "I'm going into me cabin to write in the log and look over the charts again. Mister Hlaeaear, join me, please. Max! See to tea, and find out if Cookie made any of those cakes I like. And informality is the order of the day." She grinned up at Samuel who saluted with a chuckle. "Dumisa!" She gave one final order, this to the dark-skinned Quartermaster. "The aft deck needs a round with holystone and mop. There are some uneven spots and I'll not have me crew dancin' about with splinters in their feet." She headed into her cabin and went over to the table where charts and maps of South America were laid out. A few moments later, Aearion came into the cabin. The Elf joined Regan where she was already studying the maps. He knew what her question would be before she asked.

"As near as I can tell, Captain, the island we seek could be hidden anywhere between the places Quenna mentioned." He looked up at her and smiled. "All we can depend on is that the Dream's luck holds and that the pendant shows us the way."

Regan nodded, drawing the orchid shaped pendant from beneath her shirt. She looked up as Max came in with tea and a covered dish then looked down at the pendant again. Every member of the crew had seen it so she didn't bother to hide it from the cabin boy. "She said it would once we move passed Trinidad. I've never been to the seas in that area." Regan ran a finger over the petal that hid the bloodstone, then allowed the pendant fall against her shirt. Max uncovered the cakes then poured the tea for the Captain and Navigator. "Go ahead and steal a cake for yourself, Max, and one for Johnny. Then you can join him in the crow's nest." Though most men hated the swaying next, the two brothers were in their element up there. "Aye, Cap'n." Max grinned, grabbed two of the cakes and darted out of the cabin, just as Samuel came in.

Samuel danced around the cabin boy as he darted out passed and shook his head. Lad had enough energy to fill the sails. "Jordan's taking a turn at the wheel, Captain." The First Mate smiled as he joined the two. The Steward didn't always work on the captain's books or correspondence. Samuel poured himself a cup of tea.

"Good. Keep him busy." She picked up one of the small cakes and took a bite, chewed then spoke. "None of the maps we found have anything that would give a clue to the island we're looking for. Not even the ones from Aearion's homeland. You ever sail that area?"

"No. There was no reason for us to go into Spanish territory. They may not welcome the Dream either, Regan." He looked at the Navigator who looked at Regan. It nearly made the First Mate laugh but he too looked at the Captain.

"True, but they have no quarrel with Heathfield or her sister realms and we fly the flag of Kildare." She tapped the side of her cup thoughtfully. "They do have one with the Trinity however, so if any of those three are lurking about, so hopefully they'll concentrate on Spanish treasure ships or eluding their warships instead of us." They sat in silence for a few moments then Regan licked icing off her fingers, and stood. "Anyway, looking for the island waits until we make Bridgeport and drop off our cargo. I'll get in touch with whomever is there, see if there are any messages, find a shipment to Trinidad and then we'll see if we can find our curse breaker." She looked where just a corner of another map peeked out from beneath the others. "If we can't, we're not going after that treasure. I'll see Quenna again, have her remove any residue from the curse and we'll go about our usual business."

"What will you do with the map, Nikerym? If we do not seek the treasure." Aearion stood from the chair he had claimed.

"Burn it." She answered, then gave the two an impish look. "Or see that it falls into the hands of Black Beard or his comrades." Joining in their laughter, she clapped a hand to each man's shoulder and pushed them gently toward the door. "Now go on with you. I've a log to work on. And when Jordan's done playing helmsman, send him here to go over the manifest." She closed the door after the two stepped out and walked to the back of her cabin. From there she could see what they were leaving behind, though it was the same as what was forward. She just wished she knew if the Trinity were still haunting the shores of Africa or had decided to seek the bluer waters of the Caribbean. Not that it mattered. Her crew was aware of the threat, the Dream was quick, and her Captain didn't totally trust Lady Luck. With a smile, she turned and headed back to the table. Time to get to work and stop worrying about paths that may never cross.

Date: 07-17-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 8


Brendan was up at dawn on Thursday after a good night's sleep in a quiet inn. He broke fast, enjoying a hearty meal, before heading down to the docks. The ship was a caravel Jamison had won during a poker game from a Portuguese merchant. The small crew was a mix of nationalities, and were friendly as they greeted the gunner. With clear skies and the wind in their sails, it only took a few days until Brendan was standing in the city of Tortuga. He had considered Bridgetown again but there were several reasons to avoid that particular city. Tortuga wasn't much safer, with his not knowing where the other two members of the Trinity were, but he'd take his chances.

Captain Jamison gave the gunner the name of a innkeeper who would give him with a place to stay until he found a ship to take him back to Heathfield. Stanley Williams was a pleasant man with a wife and six children. When Brendan tried to pay him for the room, Stanley wouldn't allow it. He owed the captain for some vague favor he was reluctant to speak of. The gunner didn't push but did offer to do odd jobs around the inn. He was pleased when Stanley accepted. It didn't seem right not to do something for the room.

Tortuga was an open city, wild and untamed, and pirates roamed there as easily as any other visitor to the city. There was a militia that handled some of the less severe problems though they did avoid the largest fights, much to the amusement of most of the townsfolk. The soldiers would have no problems from the gunner. He even greeted a few of them on his way to the docks that first day. It didn't hurt to make a few friends. At the docks, Brendan signed on with a crew that loaded and unloaded cargo. That way he'd be sure to see the ships that came in, and especially a ship from Heathfield or any of her sister realms.

Days passed and Brendan fell into a routine. His wounds were healing nicely, thanks to a salve he had purchased from a woman near the docks, though occasionally one or two split again. That was the result of the long hours worked at the docks. He made friends among the crew, young men like him. . A few of the men promised to let him know if any Heathfield ships arrived while he wasn't there. They also told him there hadn't been any in a while but it was likely due to the winter and spring storms. Though it was hard to be patient, the gunner had no choice. He usually worked at the inn for an hour or two after he was done at the docks, or if there wasn't anything that needed done, he spent a few hours at one of the local taverns, then return to the inn to sleep. At dawn the next day, he was up again.

The gunner was also growing stronger, putting on muscle from the hard work, and good food. The innkeeper's wife teased him about the lasses watching him, but he just blushed and grinned, brushing it off. He kept his hair short, though not as short as Poppy had cut it, figuring he could let it grow out once he was back in Heathfield if he wanted. It didn't draw the attention longer hair would.

Once, the Benevolence made port, much to Brendan's dismay. He saw the tall, confident Captain De Haven striding along the docks with some of his men, but they weren't interested in the dockworkers. He was off the day when the ship sailed away again, her Captain's business in Tortuga over. He was relieved to find the ship gone, though he knew he'd have to be extra careful. All in all, life in Tortuga wasn't a bad life but he was beginning to worry if a ship would ever arrive from Heathfield.

Date: 07-20-12
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 9

A Chance Encounter

The Dream was three weeks out, a week behind schedule. They had been caught in a storm that came up fast, barely allowing enough time to pull up most of the sails. It had passed quickly but left the mainsail, the only one they couldn't get up in time, ripped. Repairs were made but the sail would have to be replaced once they reached Bridgeport.

The sails were filled with wind and they were making good progress when Johnny yelled from the crow's nest. "Ships ahoy! Off the port bow. Look to be fightin', Capt'n!" He peered through his spyglass and added, "Aye, plenty of smoke, maybe some fire." With Samuel at the wheel, Regan picked up the spyglass kept in a box beside the wheel and swung it to the port side. The ships were still at a distance, far enough that the flags weren't clear.

"Head towards those ships, Samuel." Regan sought out Justin from where she stood. With the absence of Cadoc, Justin was acting as Gunner's Mate. "Sound the alert, all crew to stations. Justin, ready your guns!" She placed her hands on the rail as she watched the crew scattered, then she looked up at the crow's nest. "Shout out when you see the colors, Johnny!"

Valania and Bao came up onto the deck, their bows in their hands. Max joined them and though Regan was tempted to send him back to his cabin, she didn't. Finally, Johnny shouted down. "French, Captain. Being attacked by pirates! No standard -- just the Jolly Roger." Regan brought up the glass again and studied the pirate ship. Justin stood at the entry to the gun deck and Regan looked at him and just nodded. He disappeared as she turned to Samuel.

"Show them our starboard first, Sam. We'll give aid to the Frenchies." He nodded and while they made way to the battle, Regan stayed where she was, watching through the glass as they grew ever nearer. "The French ship is the Belle Reine. The pirate one, Deadly Greed. Either familiar, Samuel?" The French and English were all too often at war, and he might recognize the name from his earlier service.

"No, Captain, on either. The Greed might be a newly captured ship." He squinted toward the ships. "Looks like the French is getting the worse of it."

"Aye, they are. Lost their foremast, bowsprit and jib." Regan lowered the spyglass. "But we're about to change the tide, aye?" When Sam nodded, Regan shouted out. "Ready the guns! Archers, set fire to those sails!" Samuel swung the ship hard to starboard and when the Dream was in position, Regan shouted out the order to fire. The guns of the Dream roared, hitting true. The three archers sent flaming arrows at the sails, catching them on fire. The pirates were caught off guard and had lost several of their own cannons. Samuel swung the Dream around again. Regan knew she didn't have to shout out any orders. As soon as the Dream passed, another broadside was sent barreling toward the pirate ship. It began to list and as the Dream circled around the French ship, the Greed began to sink, then explode as the gunpowder caught fire. Several of the pirates had jumped into the water, and now clung to barrels, and lumber. The Captain of the Greed was mortally wounded but he shook his fist, cursing God, the French and the ship that had come out of nowhere to help destroy the Greed.

"Swing around again, Samuel. We'll rescue those we can and commend the rest to Davy Jones." She looked down at her crew. "Prepare to take aboard prisoners! And relay well done to Master Darwin and the gunnery crew Well done archers as well!." She watched as both her men and the French lowered longboats to rescue the men there. Unfortunately, most would hang unless they could convince the French they had been pressed into service. The crew of the Dream rescued nine men, the cabin boy, and the Captain's dog. Three of the men begged for their lives, one of them only seventeen at most. Regan sent them and the boy down below. The others were defiant knowing their days were numbered. They cursed and spit at the crew.

Samuel circled the ship around again, coming close to the French frigate. The Captain, dressed in a fine coat and wig had Regan smirking but she lifted a hand to wave. He waved on in returned but looked at Samuel.

"Thank you, Captain for your help." He spoke with a fairly heavy accent.

"You're welcome." Regan answered, leaving Samuel grinning as the man looked at the young woman stunned. "Captain Regan Callihan, sir."

"Ah, I have heard of you." He bowed to the Callihan Captain and smiled. "I am Captain Gaston Bisette. Will you and your First Mate, and Gunner's Mate join us so we may thank you properly? And we will take the prisoners off your hands."

"Of course, Captain Bisette. Thank you for your offer. If you give us a few moments, we'll transfer the prisoners first." Gangplanks were used to connect the two ships. Regan relayed the order to Justin, giving him time to clean up, then she headed into her cabin. She changed her shirt, put on her coat and headed back upstairs. By then both Justin and Samuel were ready. "You have a smudge of soot on your cheek, Justin." She whispered so he could rub it off and they stepped onto the gangplank and then onto the Belle Reine.

Captain Bisette greeted the three, thanking them several times. He guided them to his richly furnished cabin where he had tea ready for the three. "I hope you do not mind. It is a habit acquired when I was in England with my father. Even with wounded and damage, one can be civilized, oui?" He motioned them to sit, asked a few polite questions and served them tea and delicious pastries.

"Do you have enough supplies to repair your ship, Captain?" Regan was done with the small talk now. As soon as they could, they'd be back on the Dream, and back on route.

"We could use some lumber. We have almost enough. Other than that, we are fine." He smiled, relaxing some.

"Excellent. I think we have lumber we can spare." She looked at Samuel, who nodded. They discussed the attack a little more, the Captain explaining that they had just finished repairing a small leak when the pirates approached.

"I do not think the crew was very experienced at being pirates. Some were sure of themselves, but the others... " He shrugged. "But the Captain went down with his ship. I will see if some wish to join our crew to replace those who died. The others ... they will go to France with us and be turned over to the courts." He studied Regan a long moment. "I saw that you kept four. Did you not intend to give them to us?"

Regan had refused to lower her eyes while the man studied her. A delicate brow lifted and she shook her head. "No. Two are young, and all four asked to join my crew. They are not your concern, Captain."

"I see, and should I ... insist?" He picked up his cup and took another sip of the tea.

"Considering the condition of your ship and most of your crew, I don't think you will."

The Frenchman suddenly laughed. "You are as I have heard, Captain Callihan. Brave, clever and beautiful. I have enjoyed our encounter. Perhaps we will meet again, under better circumstance." He almost seem to be flirting. Regan just smiled, saying nothing. The visit continued for a little longer before Regan, Samuel and Justin returned to the Dream.

The lumber was given to the Captain who gave Regan a diamond pendant as payment, though he added a pledge to serve if he ever had the chance. Regan escaped to the Dream as quickly as possible. The gangplanks were withdrawn and both ships began their journeys once more. She glanced at Samuel and Justin who were laughing and her eyes narrowed.

"Bluidy unlikely we'll meet again, if I can help it." She muttered then glared at the two. "Not one word." She warned the two officers as she started for her cabin. "We'll sell it and add it to our coffers to be split later." The two good friends just grinned, then resumed their duties. Inside her cabin, Regan studied the necklace then placed it into the chest where she kept the gold and valuables. She went through the doors from the front section into the bedroom part of the cabin and looked out the windows. The Belle Reine was disappearing and she smiled, then turned away. It was time to talk to the two men and two boys they had kept. She clapped a palm to her forehead as she remembered the dog then sighed. "One thing at a time, Regan. One thing at a time."

Date: 07-20-12
Poster: Rosaleen Lynch
Post # 10


The plan had been a straightforward one leaving Madagascar: Swing around the cape of Africa and catch the shortest route that would bring them up and over South America to Jamaica. All had been too smooth sailing so far which made her uncomfortable. It was after they passed Natal, curving up that way when the storm hit. She'd been pacing the deck when the sky darkened on the horizon and the orders barked to try and outrun the inevitable.

It was the season of tropical storms. They moved quickly and sometimes became hurricanes. Reinn had watched the Captain pacing while he stood beside the helmsman. As Rosa began to bark out orders, so did he. Not one item would be loose, not the cargo, or the cannons. He looked toward the helmsman and nodded, telling the man to lash himself to the wheel so he'd not be lost. Then he turned and watched the storm as the sails filled with wind and the ship was turned to take advantage of it.

The winds picked up the sails full bloom that had them moving top knot, waves were getting higher and it took the skill of the helmsman to keep them from tipping over. Rain came in torrent sheets and they were still on the outskirts, skimming the edge of the storm trying to keep ahead of it. Ropes were always handy tied to the rails, giving most a short lead way as she tied one about her waist. It was getting to the point one could not hear nor yell over the roar of thunder, clashing lightening and the heavy rain. Visibility got extremely limited as one good wave came to toss her across the deck as she grabbed onto what she hit, turned out to be Reinn. The bigger sails were rolled once they could not outrun the storm, leaving only the smaller sails to keep them moving ahead.

He had made sure the crew had lashed themselves to something sturdy before he did the same. Watching everything he could, in spite of the heavy rain, he caught hold of one man and steady him, then turned to check on another when he was nearly knocked off his feet, not only by the water, but by the Captain herself. He slipped an arm around her waist, steadying her. "If you wanted a hug, Captain, you only had to ask." He spoke close to her ear, then looked up. "Here comes another!" The Serpentine was sturdy and so far, was holding up well. They might have to pump the bilge later but that wasn't unusual.

He had a hard chest, that near rattled her teeth but it didn't stop the laugh at his retort, "I'll remember that next time." Like she was going to plough into him again like this. She clung because she had to as one wave after another washed over them. This one had the length of her smacked up against his, luckily there was a wall behind where he stood or the ropes may not of held them and they both tossed over the side. Hard to see with the rain whipping in her eyes as well the ocean water. She wasn't sure which was worse as she buried her face against his chest with a mumbled warning there, hardly audible, some sort of threat if he spoke on this! None would be aware as they were all fighting for their own lives and the helmsman kept a good steady grip on the wheel, keeping the Serpentine from snaking down into the depths of the Atlantic. Surely there were many down there already.

He didn't have another answer as he turned his attention to the two of them surviving this. The wall against his back had been slammed into and he was sure there was a splinter in his arse. He wasn't sure what she mumbled, but she didn't need to worry. Reinn was discreet and this wasn't a normal event! He sputtered out a cough, eyes stinging from the salt water. There was a crack of thunder overhead, and he cursed in Danish as he looked upward. No lightning hit the masts and the cursing silenced. The skies rolled overhead but the rain seemed to be slowing.

The torrent of rain slowly ceased to where they could both get their bearing and disentangle. She heard Shorty from the crow's nest yelling out to head count. He had tied himself well there at the risk of lightning hitting and taking the main mast down. She might changed his name from Shorty to Lucky after this. The lightning had come awfully close. "Captain Rosa 'ere," stepping aside to assess the damage by eye. "Report as well.." so names were given and the status. The helmsman told of their new course caused by the storm and in keeping her steady. They were close to Tortuga. Luckily they were still afloat for the damages would see them into port or ruin the vessel in the long run if left unattended.

"Reinn, here." He called out then stepped back from the Captain. Time to assess the damage. There was a crack in the mizzen but it would hold until they made port. He headed below deck briefly to check on the men there. Another went to the other decks to check on men and damage, even to the lowest deck. A small leak but nothing threatening. The pumps were manned to make sure it stayed that way while the carpenter saw to a patch. He headed back up on deck then stood near Rosa in case she had orders.

Considering the intensity and severity of the storm, there were only two sailors missing. Lower class ones and probably didn't have the smarts to tie the rope around their waist. Although one of the ropes was found to be snapped off. "I want a check on all t'e ropes too, replace any t'at are frayed. Poor bloke..." the last mumbled under her breath as they would have a memorial later for the two once they were in safe waters. These were still rolling too much.

"Aye, Captain. I'll see to it right away." He looked up as one of the men from below came onto deck. "Some o' da stores go' wet, but not any o' the flour. Cargo be fine, but on' o' da men has a broke leg." Reinn nodded, and clapped a hand to his shoulder as he told him to get the sawbones, to deal with him. "And tell Stew to splint the leg, not cut it off." He added in a low voice before he set men to checking the ropes.

The man she put in charge as sawbones was doing it on the side and so he did his best to keep the man stable and his leg immobile until they could get him ashore and see a real doctor. Otherwise he would be hacking it off, as he was the cook/butcher. The man opted to wait and take his chances with the doc on shore. He was lucky they were not far from port and that was their next destination. They were crawling but at least they were moving. Some of the sails had been thorn and crew members were working on them already. "Reinn see the man to a doctor once ashore.." she didn't want to lose another no matter what his station was. Time seemed to go painfully slow but it wasn't long before they were allowed into a slip along the pier. One there they could get what they could for some of the cargo that wasn't damaged but would not last longer after getting here.

"Aye, Captain, I'll see to it." He made sure the man had an extra ration of rum for the pain, then set to his duties until they finally reached port. Once the gangplank was in place, he sent a man to inquire about a doctor, one who could be trusted. While the quartermaster saw to the cargo, with the Captain, Reinn took the sailor off to see the doctor.

She had contacts here who were more than willing to take certain cargo off her hands at a reasonable price. They may have lost some but the rest would compensate that none were short their pay. Some things and places stayed the same while others came and went. A few good places had gone to hell and some of the places that were hell incarnate remained. There was a new place she was directed to with a thankful nod to MacSheath. A man she trusted but knew he lusted. She always managed to sidestep his advances. He was a landlubber to start, they didn't mix well with seafaring females. He still managed to get her into a tight hug, well, she owed him that much for keeping her out of a pickle, what he whispered in her ear was why she always managed to sidestep. She patted his chest giving one of her disarming smiles, "keep t'at t'ought." A wink added and she slipped away with the hefty envelope in hand that was soon disappearing down the front of her shirt. All tucked away in a safe place unless someone wanted to lose their hand. She headed out to see what progress was made on the ship and on the injured man before she would be visiting the tavern. See who was around and who might buy some of her other cargo that was best not known otherwise.

Reinn was back at the ship when Rosa returned. He was already overseeing to the replacement of the mast, and he told the Captain the man was resting well. He'd keep an eye on the work while she enjoyed some time to herself, if she so desired.

"Ye are welcome tae come wit' me as I hope to make some contacts."But if he wanted to stay on ship, that was up to him. It was better to go with a few men or at least one than by herself but she had fended on her own far too many times. Mostly from the attempted gropes than harm to her body, no, most males wanted her body very much alive but under theirs. "Place is called The Merry Seahorse, let's find out just how merry it is.. aye? Or stay.." she was giving him a choice.

He looked at her a moment and nodded, with a smile. "Aye, I'll go with you. I think we can trust the lads to take care of their work themselves." He motioned toward the gangplank, speaking to one of the men as they headed for it. "This your first time to Tortuga?"

She would leave Silus in charge aside being one of the older crew members and been around the block a few times over. "No, but it's been a few years and back then I was only here a few days. Made some contacts but that was about it." Her accent nearly gone as they headed into the port town. This one wasn't on the piers so that was a good sign right there. "You hungry?" She still had that envelope stuffed down between her breasts in a way one could not tell other than what nature graced her with. Shirt still clung to her, sticky from salt water and she felt the need for a bath. That would be a luxury but would not be if the place had a rough crowd. She made that mistake only once. Man ended up dead in her bath water. A scene she didn't care to repeat.

"One of the ships I was on came here and the Captain lost it in a card game. I didn't go with the ship, heard it was sunk by the British navy. Stayed here two weeks before I found a decent ship and crew. Two weeks was long enough." He grinned with her question. "Aye, I am, and not for salted fish, or dried fruit." He had pulled his hair back for once but hadn't lost that wild look. "The tavern must be new. I don't remember it."

"I'm told this place has good food, else one be keeping time in the head.." which had a sidelong glance his way with a certain smirk that made her look like she had Elf blood in her. "T'e British," acting if she spit the word to the side but there was no real spit released, "'ave sunk a few ships. But, pirates have sunk more.." which she grinned, "most of them British ships." So some got even. By this time they reached the place and it was packed for this time of night. Then again she swore some ports never went to sleep. They had to push their way in and through to the bar.

"No argument from me on them." He might be part English but that didn't mean he liked them. Reinn acted like a battering ram for the Captain, pushing through to the bar. He wasn't bulky but he was strong and he was bull-headed. He even had two men leave to allow the Captain some room. It didn't smell as bad as some but there was still a few familiar and unpleasant smells. It was part of the territory though. He put down some coins, paying for this round and for their meal.

Brendan had worked hard for a good part of the day. Instead of heading back to his room when he was done working, he headed out for a bit of entertainment, and a game of cards. After, he just hung around the tavern, enjoying the company of a few of the men he worked with as well as some of their friends. He wasn't drunk, though he was close. Most of the others were gone, and he sat nursing his ale when a buzz went through the tavern. All conversation nearly stopped as the tall Norseman pushed through, followed by a female Captain. He tipped his head as he watched, catching glimpses through the crowd. There were comments made of course, some loud, some not, some lewd, some appreciative. Someone laughed at a comment, and that broke the spell. Conversation began again, though most were watching the two.

She didn't mind following behind the Norwegian wall. In fact it had her smiling. sometimes grinning. Although she gave a few well placed elbows and words, "want tae lose it or short a few fingers more, eh?" That lifted a few brows but the attempted groping stopped. She saw a table cleared away and tugged Reinn in that direction instead of at the bar. It was off to a corner, good place to be.

Reinn made a surprised sound but just chuckled as they headed that way. He reached out and smacked one man's hand like he was a naughty boy, then pushed another. Finally they were at a table and he waited for the captain to pick. He had scooped up his coins before they had moved away from the bar at least!

Brendan was surprised to see the two coming his way, the crowd parting as they did. He smiled, then looked down at his drink while he ran his hand through his hair. Still short though it had grown long enough to curl. He looked up and nodded at the tall blonde man then again at the Captain. One of his friends came back and sat down again and Brendan just snickered. "Obvious, aren't you, Bait?" He said softly to his friend, that lilting brogue still evident when he spoke.


Date: 07-23-12
Poster: Rosaleen Lynch
Post # 11


Rosa moved around the one seat so her back would be to the wall when she sat.. but she didn't sit just yet. Dark eyes turned on the two at the table next to them. "Hello handsome," addressing Brendan, "why don't you two move your table next to ours." There was a reason behind her madness and that was to keep any of the crowd from crowding in on her. She noticed the look by one too many and these two looked harmless compared to the others. "I'm Captain Rosa," extending her hand to Brandon as he was closest and on the same side as she, "and you'd be?" Not to ignore Reinn as his introduction would come soon enough.

Reinn remained standing as well, eyes darting over the patrons, noting one or two who were watching a bit too closely. He smirked when he heard Rosa but looked at the two men. One definitely younger then the other, and that was who Rosa addressed. "First Mate Yngarson." He liked giving his last name because it usually caused people to be tongue-tied. "But call me Reinn."

Brendan blinked in surprise when the woman spoke and he stood up, almost too quickly. His mate did the same. The gunner felt a slight heat touch his cheeks and hoped he wasn't blushing. He had gotten over it for the most part., though it still flared up at the worse times. He took her hand and shook it instead of kissing her knuckles because likely she'd deck him on. "Brendan O'Sionna," dammit, maybe he should have given a false name. "Pleasure to meet you both." He extended his hand to the First Mate too, then motioned to his comrade. "This is Rob Michaels. Everyone calls him Bait." The man muttered under his breath but greeted the two properly. Then they moved their table closer. Protection was always a good idea.

She could smell his blush, he was not worldly around women at least. Around her age too or there about. Shy. Interesting. He was not of the usual breed this place attracted. She was surprised he didn't kiss her hand, he looked like he belonged in court than out here in the armpit of humanity. Manners. That was it. He had Manners. "Yir not from around t'ese parts." Feeling that was an understatement. Hands had released as he shook hands with her first mate and she shook hands with Rob, or Bait. Once introductions were made she finally took her seat, Reinn knew to order the usual ale, something to eat that was what they made best, of which he'd have to ask, and the bottle of their best whiskey. "Can I buy you two a drink?" She would offer that much as now she was curious of their origins.

Reinn just smiled at the two men, nodded, then called over a serving girl. He also offered to buy the men a meal if they wanted. After that was taken care of, he sat, turning his own chair so he could watch the room.

"Aye, a drink would be grand." Brendan answered and Bait nodded. "He doesn't talk much, lets me do most of it." He hesitated a moment then shook his head. "No, I was born in Ireland but now I'm from a place called Heathfield." He sat after she did and relaxed some. "Waiting for a ship from there so I can head home. Been a while since I was there last." He had just finished up his drink so when the serving maid returned, he was glad to have a refill. "What's your ship? And her name."

"Heathfield," repeated as it touched on some memory or mention. "I've heard of it, but haven't been there. Do they have trading port?" If so, she would consider setting up some contacts. "Tell me about the place." She was always willing to learn of new places from the experiences of others. "Me ship is the Serpentine and a fine vessel she is. Sleek and swift and holds enough in her belly without slowing her down. She's well gunned too." Which she lowered her voice in a teasing way as she leaned towards him as if sharing a secret. "I 'ere t'ere are pirates out t'ere."

"Aye, they do. Very fine port in fact." He took a drink then continued. "Ruled by a Queen and King. Very good people, beautiful land... reminds me of Ireland. Mountains and rich fields. Three sister realms. Heathfield, Ballicastle, Tyremoor. There's also the island of Innis Daingneach. The King is also king of Luneburg and her sons rule a land called Kildare." He sounded a touch homesick as he spoke. Maybe he just wanted to get away from Tortuga. "Sounds like a fine lady." He had perked at the mention of guns but didn't say more.

Reinn just listened now, busy watching one man who was having a deep conversation with others at his table.

"How far would you say it is from here?" He might notice her accent came and went, more like when she wanted to use one or not. "A few lands to do business with." More mussed to herself but it had those gears working. She always considered new avenues for profit. Reinn might know that look already even if he was newly hired. He was sharp, quick witted to get to know her after being around her this past month. "You're sure you got someone coming?" For some reason he didn't seem too sure, like it was a definite. "Maybe we'll follow you back."

"A month's journey, maybe." They had to find the rift first but he didn't mention it. Hell, he didn't understand it. "Lots of merchants there." He looked at her a moment, then shook his head. "No. I know ships from Heathfield come here and so I wait." He gave her a sheepish smile. "Kind of a long shot." He didn't mind waiting though he was worried if he had picked the right port after all. Didn't happen soon, he might have to move on to another port, maybe Bridgeport or Port Royal.

The man that Reinn had been watching stood up but he didn't approach the table, not yet. He headed for the bar where he leaned over and spoke to the bar keep. "Do you know that man?" He asked both men seated there, though he was still watching the man. Rosa might know him too, but he didn't look like a very trustworthy bloke.

Rosa carried a satchel, more at her side with the straps criss crossing. She had yanked unconsciously at the sticky blouse which exposed the swell of her breast but more, the small black dragon tattoo with a red rose. One would have to really look to get a closer look. It was designed after a ring she had that was rarely worn. Sometimes she would in spite of her mother giving it to her but said to not wear it. It had something to do with her past. A past vaguely spoken on other than her father was a seafaring man. Her mother would clam right up if asked anything more. Only would say he sailed out to sea never to return, making it sound like he joined Davy Jones. From that satchel she pulled out a map which she turned to Brendan, "show me where on here."

Brendan looked up and watched the man a moment then shook his head. Bait answered though, in a rough whisper. He kept a dirty bandana tied around his neck, covering a scar that gave him that voice. "Aye. He be da Cap'n o' the Dancin' Whale. Nasty bugger tae. Tis said he cuts the throats o' his cabin boys just ta hear them gurgle. Fer laughs." Brendan looked at Bait, then at the man. But then the map came out and he leaned over. That's when he got a good look at the tattoo and blinked as he looked away. He knew that design. But where... "Let's see. You need to follow this current. Stay on it and when you come to here, you'll find your way to Heathfield." He didn't know how else to explain it but it was known to a few. "I know they've traded with the Brits, with France. Most who have ships find their way there sometime or another."

Reinn's lip actually curled when Bait spoke. No wonder the man set him off. Disgusting piece of shark shit. He nodded, then leaned back in the chair. As hard as it was to eat and drink while watching the man, and being prepared, he managed to do both.

Rosa looked up to note the man they spoke on and the look she gave Reinn was for him to be prepared if the man made some kind of move. Luckily that envelope was down far enough that even the slight exposure didn't expose the envelope. Although she happened to look at Brendan just as he was looking there. A woman knew when a man was looking at her breasts and so she couldn't help to say, for the one seemed to be shy, "tell me yea want tae bury yea face there.." not a question but more a statement as he looked away... which she suspected he would do.

Brendan had lifted his mug for a drink when she asked her question. He inhaled sharply, choking on the ale while Bait pounded his back. The older man was laughing, waiting to see if the lad answered. Finally, the gunner caught his breath. "I .... I'm not sure .... it's a ... good idea to answer that." He coughed again, and looked at her, a full grin appearing before he coughed again. "I wouldn't be male if I wasn't tempted, aye?" He took in another breath, then cleared his throat, his eyes still watering. "Didn't expect that." He was honest at least!

Had Reinn been drinking he might have reacted the same way. Instead he started laughing, watching the boy choke. No one else had heard her comment so a few were staring at their table. "Mind your business." Reinn growled out but still with a grin. Most looked away, a few didn't. Including the man at the bar. He seemed thoughtful.

"Well, exactly. Just mak'in sure you're all male and not some lass 'n disguise." it would not be the first time a lass dressed as a male and Brendan was pretty enough. Except there was some real stubble along his jaw. Giving him a wink. "Maybe you'll get ye wish.." brows lifted just a mite as she looked him right in the eyes. He probably didn't expect this either but she was enjoying it all. Something about him that was decent and she rarely ran into 'decent'. She shot a grin Reinn's way just because he had been laughing.

For a moment, Brendan stared at her, open mouthed, blue eyes wide with surprise. Then he sputtered. "A lass? Me?" She calmed that indignation right away with her next statement, and he gave her a charmingly boyish smile. "That would be quite a wish, aye?" He lifted the mug again then paused. "You ain't going to say something else to make me choke, are you?" She was quite a fireball!

He found he actually liked the younger man and just chuckled again, winking at Rosa when she looked his way. When he looked back to the bar, the man was gone. And there he was, heading right for their table. "Ah hell." He muttered and glanced at Rosa, then the two men. "Trouble to the starboard bow." He couldn't help the nautical reference.

As the man approached, he was looking only at Rosa. "Captain Harding." He introduced himself. "Wha' bae yer name, woman?" The smell of cheap ale and body odor came right along with him.

"We can see about work'in o' t'at later.." surely there was a subtle undercurrent but she'd not press. See how the night turned out. One never knew. It was heads up as that man was headed their way. Rosa stood up immediately, her hand going to rest on the hilt of her cutlass. "Capt'in Lynch tae yea Capt'in Hard'in, w'at be it yea want." In short she was going to have this conversation as short as possible. He was interrupting her and their good time.

Brendan and Bait both leaned back in their chairs, trying to avoid some of that smell with little luck. While Bait kept both hands on the table, Brendan lowered one to the hilt of his sword. He had taken to wearing it lately since the port was so rough during the days. He looked over at Rosa and Reinn a moment, then lifted his eyes to the man.

Reinn scowled as the man got close and just barely kept from waving his hand in front of his face. He put his hand on his sword just as the others had. Man best not answer wrong.

Harding sneered when she called herself Captain. He leaned forward, placing both hands on the table. A few were watching now, perhaps some were Harding's own men. The tender was waiting and the barmaids had scurried to safety. "Captain, be ye? An' here I was comin' over to ask yer man how much fer an hour wit' ye." He smiled, showing nearly green teeth except for one bright gold one. "So, I gets ye fer free, do I?" He even waggled his brow. Was the man trying to flirt?

"O' yea did.." but she was faster than grease lighting, jumping up onto the table as the platter of food clattered away and she kicked him right in the face. That would knock him back a few as her sword was drawn near at the same time. She knew she had backup but then, that would not have stopped her from doing what she did anyway. "Yea stink'in yellow belly worm, nae even a w'ore bea sleep'in wit' t'e likes of yea." Tossing a coin at him, which plinked off his chest, "get yeself a bath."

Brendan had stood up when the man spoke but the Captain handled him just fine and he laughed out loud. "You heard the Cap'n." He didn't sit back down but watched to see what Harding would do when he managed to stand again.

The First Mate had done the same as Brendan but hadn't drawn his sword until Rosa kicked the man. It was then drawn to make sure there was no attempt at an attack. He didn't say a word, just watched the man intently, like a snow leopard about to pounce on its prey.

It was the tender who took the next step. He had two strapping sons and called them out of the back. "Tak' tha' trash an' toss him ou' inta th' street." He told the two and soon Harding was face down in the dirt, cursing up a storm and threatening to come after the woman with all of his men. Two members of the Watch had been standing outside and hauled Harding off for making trouble. He'd be put back on his ship after paying a fine. The men with him cursed and headed out the door. Looked like they'd be using some of their hard earned coin to bail him out.

Reinn grinned at Rosa and bowed. "Well done, Captain. You've just made clear that you won't tolerate smelly, crude, pox-ridden bilge rats. "

"Aye," shooting a grin at Reinn as she hopped back down, "seem we will be need'in anot'er tray o' food." And she was hungry at this point. Most of the fare was on the floor and no way would she be eating off this floor after the scum had slimed it up. "He bae like an overgrown slug. Maybe we should 'ave tossed salt on him." Grinning the while as she settled back into her chair. Cutlass being slipped back into its sheath.


Date: 07-24-12
Poster: Rosaleen Lynch
Post # 12

"Aye, that we do." He brushed off some that had landed on the tunic but the Norseman was laughing. "You have a mean kick, Captain." He motioned on of the serving girls to come back over and gave the order again. There was no doubt Rosa had made an impression and most had gone back to their own business, the buzz of conversation lifting again. One sailor began playing on a fiddle, while his friend used a mouth harp and another a set of spoons.

Brendan chuckled and sat again since the Captain had. "I don't think you'll see that one again. The Watch here is pretty strict and they've been patrolling more then usual. Not sure what's going on. Rumors say there's a bit of a war between some gangs." In that respect, Tortuga reminded him of Dublin. Always one group fighting with another.

"Aye, but perhaps I should 'ave let one o' yea come gallantly tae me rescue," which she gave a dramatic sigh as if that would have been possible, "t'en I could 'ave rewarded the one," like either of them would as she waggled her brows with a glance spared between Brendan and Reinn. It was neither here nor there now but it made her wonder, for a moment at least spared. "Now.." changing the subject, "are there any good recruits here about?" She still needed to round off her crew, would make it safer if they ran into any pirates or any need for fighting out at sea.

Reinn sat down again and chuckled, shaking his head. "Our loss, I'm afraid." He sighed as well, then winked at her. Oh, he meant it but it was better for Rosa to show she wouldn't take any guff from anyone. He picked up his mug again, and took a drink. He'd be needing a refill soon.

Brendan just grinned at Rosa, nodding to what Reinn said. He took a quick drink, then looked thoughtful. "Best place to recruit is the Shady Lady, down by the docks. Lot of sailors 'between ships' go there. Both good and bad. Talk to the tender ... name is Beau though he don't look like a beau. He'll nod if the man came from a decent ship or a bad one. Or if the man you're talking to is trouble. All you have to do is slip him some coin and ask."

"Aye, thanks for the heads up. Reinn here will know which is which." That was part of his job description. At least she knew a good sailor after crossing paths and words with him. Then to Reinn with a grin, "perhaps not all is lost." in response to our loss. And if he said it sarcastically, she'd have his head and his balls with it. She pointedly looked right down at his crotched or at least in that direction being there was a table between them. Looking back up she flashed him a smile. Made the pixie face look sweet and innocent. Then back to Brendan, "Beau, got it," which would mean Reinn got it too. "Now, tell me o' yea adventures and what brought yea to these shores awaiting friends from your lands?"

Reinn nodded, then laughed when she gave him such a pointed look. It wasn't sarcastic at all. "I'll hang on to that hope, then." The girl returned, both with the tray of food and with refills.

Brendan looked down at his drink during the interchange but he was grinning. Bait got his refill, clapped Brendan on the shoulder as he stood and nodded. "Got to get home or the wife will be squawkin'. Pleasure." He nodded to the three, then headed out. Brendan nodded at Bait as he looked up at the man. "See ya in the morning and say hello to the wife." With the question, Brendan paused a moment and took a drink. "I was on a ship, that got hit, sunk. Rescued by another, and stayed with them for a while. But when we reached a place called Cow Island, I took sick. They had to leave me behind to keep their schedule." It wasn't completely a lie, but he didn't dare tell the truth. Just saying the name of BlackBeard's ship could get him in trouble.

"Seems there is probably a whole lot of more detail to that.." but she didn't press. Eyes met and held a moment before a nod. "Maybe another time.. another place, iff'in you wish speak'in on it." Some did, some didn't. Some might open up to one but not a few nor in a public place. "So, iffin yea bae needing.." she left the invitation open for him to take or leave, come what may of it if he took her up on it. Was he just a pretty lad or was he a handsome man. She could wonder but she only allowed that wondering for a moment. She wondered on Reinn too at times. Still, her bed had remained her own. Bait's departure had her giving him a nod. "Guid night tae yea, watch out for the bedbugs," grinning but she was distracted to the food that came and this time she'd be able to partake of it. No manners needed here as she dug in with gusto.

The story was definitely sparse but likely Brendan had good reason. Reinn had a few secrets himself that he had never shared with anyone.
As far as the Captain's bed, Reinn would only share it by invitation. She was his captain after all. "G'night, Bait." He watched the man go then started to fill his own stomach. Excuse him while he shoveled the food in.

Brendan watched Bait leave before he looked back to the two and nodded. "Aye, there is. Most I'd like to forget." He glanced around, tugged his shirt and lifted it to show a still healing wound, then lowered the shirt again. "Couple of the crew played rough." His eyes darkened at the memory and he finished the mug he held and reached for a new one. "Saw some places I wouldn't have though. I liked Africa." Not all of it, and Sri Lanka would forever be a place to avoid.

She halted in her eating and even set the turkey leg down as she swiped her lips with the back of her hand. Brows lifted as the sight of a wound not healed, "t'at be look'in like the mark o' a pirate." They fought different than others. Obviously she had run ins with them in the course of her life. She tore her eyes from that sight with a slight shiver, "aye, rough." Not saying more and it didn't stop her appetite either as she was back to eating her fill. A slanted look was given Reinn to mostly see if he agreed with her assessment.

He squinted a look at the wound and frowned, looking up at Irishman. "Aye. Whip with metal?" It was nasty looking for sure. He picked up his mug for a drink while he waited for the younger man to answer, but he watched him over the rim of his mug..

He just nodded at both of their answers. "Two of 'em. Both dead now." He was glad of it too and they probably could tell from the tone of his voice. "So, aye, I wasn't rescued, I was pressed into service and I just recently escaped." He glanced around again. "And while I'd say a few of these dogs in here are questionable, I don't want to say more about it." He shrugged. "Don't think anyone here would turn me in, but don't want to take chances." He leaned back in the chair. "You been sailing long, Captain?" And he grinned as he added, "though don't answer if you want to finish your meal."

She reached over to press a turkey greased finger to his lips. "Aye, not 'ere but iff'in you wish to talk, yea and I can find a private place to do so." The touch didn't last as she slipped a glance over the shifting crowd. She doubted few were trustworthy in this place or any place near the piers. She was, Reinn was, but she couldn't even say that about the whole of her crew yet. "I'd rather take the whip with metal than the spearing of their swords." So she might well have a story to tell herself or more a close call. And she didn't mean their metal swords either. There was a slight smirk to follow before she took a grizzly bite of the turkey leg, tearing off the meat between her teeth as if it was something else.

"Might be a long time, Capt'n Rosa." He answered quietly. "Still raw as the wounds, though they be better then they were." They didn't bleed anymore while he was working. He licked the grease off his lip then nodded, knowing full well what she meant! "Was on a ship where the crew mutinied. Put those of us who didn't go along in a boat, sent us afloat. Their leader liked men as much as women. Was glad to get off there." That adventure was before he had come to Heathfield and didn't bother him in the least to tell. He had a half smile as he told the tale.

"Aye, a ship full o' men at sea.." enough said as some couldn't go without and took whatever was handy including any livestock. Knothole... you name it. She knew, why it was a bit more dangerous for a woman out on the high seas. It was starting to get stuffy in the place. Humid. Human sweat, hardly any air flow, didn't mix well, especially after a belly full. "Shall we head outdoors. See what there be along the piers?" Never knew, might find a good deal in cargo.

Reinn had finished his meal and now was finishing the ale. He grinned at the Captain and nodded. "Aye, need to walk off that meal some." He stood and stretched. "You can be our guide, Brendan."

He just nodded then finished that second pint of ale. At first he wasn't sure if the invitation was for him, but he nodded as he stood. "I can do that for a while." He knew a few ships had come in with loads of cargo, some seeking buyers, some to sale and some to make deliveries. "There be a few brokers along the docks. Might get some business from them too." Though,, they'd take a cut. But then, Rosa would likely know that.


Date: 07-25-12
Poster: Rosaleen Lynch
Post # 13


For the most part it was good to get out of that place, one of the better ones but still... the stench got to Rosa after a while. She gulped in air as one starving like she'd been earlier with her eating. As they headed for the piers and moved along the boardwalk they came upon a seller haggling on a price with one captain over some armor he had. Rosa listened as she looked over the material in a seemingly disinterested way.

Brendan just smiled when he heard Rosa taking in the gulp of air, though he waited to look her way until they were out of the crowd going in. He talked for a moment to Reinn while Rosa looked over the material, mostly about the ones walking by, the few the gunner knew. Some of them might have business for Rosa if she needed more cargo.

Reinn didn't have much to say during the walk but when they stopped, he listened to the younger man, grinning a few times at a comment made. He watched the Captain though, making sure no one approached her who shouldn't.

She tossed a breast plate back into the crate as she turned and offered the man a price between what he was asking and what the buyer wanted to get it for. Far too low for the equipment was well made in spite of the man arguing it was junk. A one time price, take or leave. The man spit to the side and agreed. He was tired of arguing with the other who then started towards Rosa.

Brendan was watching too and when the other man started for Rosa, he straightened and put his hand on the hilt of his sword. He might have seemed young, but the look in his eyes was deadly and dangerous.

Reinn straightened the same time as Brendan, also placing his hand on his sword hilt. He didn't say a word but lifted his hand and shook a finger at him, warning him off. He was smiling slightly, and that only made him look more wolf-like.

"Next time don't haggle so long." She shot a grin at the man but he realized he was outnumbered as the two men stood fast as guards. He grumbled something about payback before turning on a heel and heading quickly away. If one watched, he joined up with a few others down further along the pier. Rosa watched but she was soon over to pay the man a fair deal then glanced to Reinn, "see about getting this into the belly of the Serpentine before that man comes back." It was asked but was also an order as it needed to be done and he'd have to get the men here quickly.

Brendan watched the man as he left, realizing he had come into port in the morning on a ship with no cargo. Must have sold it elsewhere.

He nodded, and grinned at Brendan. "I'll be back." It would take some time. He looked at the Captain again. "I'll see it stowed, see how things are going on the ship." With that, he was over to the man to see to transporting the cargo. He'd find Rosa and Brendan in time.

"Shall we continue on?" This addressed to Brendan as Reinn would see to the cargo. She knew he'd be proficient and quick about it so nothing happened in the meantime to what was theirs now. She would be looking over other cargo along the way. That which had not been sold or, like her, had ended up here and needed to unload and get the best deal they could.

"Aye, we should." She might miss some good cargo. "Tortuga never sleeps." He watched a prostitute haggle with a customer, then grinned at Rosa. "Different vendors at different times but there's always someone willing to sell or buy. Anything." He kept an eye on things too, just in case that angry almost-buyer returned with friends.

"Aye.." dipping her head with a look to the prostitute haggling, "do you partake of such goods?" Slanting that dark eyed look up his way to see his reaction. Was he a boy.. or a monk.. or normal? She had bought all she was going to tonight and now had something else on her mind for a woman had drives and needs too, especially one committed to a ship and not to settling down. Put a whole new perspective on love and all that.

He looked at her and grinned. "Well," pausing to look around, the gunner continued. "Don't let word get back to my landlady. She kind of looks at me like a son, but I have. I'm just careful who I go to." He looked back at the one they had passed. "Not that one. First time I saw her." He cleared his throat and laughed. "And I hope I didn't just offend you." She was straight forward enough but she was still a woman.

"Not at all, didn't know you had a mom though." Even a surrogate one but that had her grinning. "I was just trying to find out if you're a lad or a man and seems it is the later.. now to find out how much of a man you are.." which she lifted her brows in a slight waggle. No flies on her when she wanted something. Although in this kind of wanting it needed to be mutual to be any good. "I think we can find a spare room in one of these places." If he was willing or he'd make some excuse.

He just smiled at the tease about his landlady. Really, she was the wife of the Inn owner. But she did fuss over him some. He looked at her with a raised brow then gave her a half smile. "Aye, I think we can. In fact, I know just the place. The rooms are not fancy but they're clean enough and the beds are sturdy." He waggled his brows right back at her. "Shall we?" And he even offered his arm to her, pretty much ignoring everyone around them.

"You have my attention, Brendan O'Sionna. Be assured I am clean for it is rare I go with someone though I've many opportunities. I can tell you are clean too." She had a nose for clean even in this sense. She shot him a smile with a lowering sweeping look that took him in down and out as she'd let him lead. She was still smiling as it had been a long while and she looking forward to this. She couldn't help the tease with her hand tucked to the crook of his arm. "Yea want top or bottom?"

"Hmmm. I took a bath earlier." He knew what she meant but couldn't help making the comment. "And I'm honored to be among the lucky few." He put his hand over hers briefly, then motioned toward a different section of the docks. The crowd was still thick but the vendors had better wares and the Watch presence was heavier. "I think we can manage both, aye?" He winked before guiding her to a small inn called simply the Starfish. It was freshly whitewashed outside and a friendly, plump woman stood behind the small bar. She didn't question the rental of the room, just gave a price, and once she was paid, handed over the key. Brendan guided Rosa to the stairs and up to the second floor. The room was simply furnished but had a large bed. As soon as they stepped inside, he locked the door and turned to see if she approved.

"That is good to know, I didn't." Was she teasing? She smelled of seawater still, better than sweat. She teased right back. "Aye, variety and all that.." A slight dip of her head as they reached the place, this was a diamond amongst the dirt. She shot the woman a smile for certainly she noticed Brendan, handsome, how could she not and probably a short daydream of what it would be like to be the woman on his arm. Obviously where they were going and why although some were actually for business. Except these two didn't look like it was going to be business. Once within she took a note of the room, where windows were, how clean it was and then she was advancing on Brendan, pinning him up against the back of the door once it was shut. "So let's see if you are as built as you are handsome..." that wicked bit of a smile as she was already working his shirt off.

He had been working at the docks since his arrival here, in spite of the healing wounds. He grinned down at her as she worked off, his shirt. The laces were already loose and he just had to lift hands. Nicely muscled, but not overly so, with a hard stomach. "Do you approve?" He flexed for her, hiding his grimace. Some of those marks, the worse ones, were still tender though nearly healed. He had scars on his back from another time but those were faded to white. She wouldn't see the large Raven on his back yet, or the marks on his legs.

"Aye," her voice holding a sultry tone to it just in looking him over. First devoured by sight then touch as her fingers traced along muscle, now for taste as she leaned in trailing her lips and tongue over his chest where her fingers had trace. That should get a definite reaction. "Guid enough tae eat," muffled against his skin as teeth grazed a moment. She kept from the wounds but she found they made her angry that someone would do this to him.

Oh, there was a definite reaction and she'd noticed when she leaned against him. He made a low growling noise deep in his throat and lifted his fingers to run along her shoulders, then into her hair. Thick and silky, it was as sensual feeling as those teeth along his skin. "Mmmmm. You certainly don't waste time."

An hour or so later, for who was counting minutes?, she snuggled in against his side, not wishing to pack up and leave after the deed, not this time, not with him. He wouldn't know anyway what was her usual. She enjoyed soaking him in as their bodies fitted so well together.

He had no intentions of letting her go if that's what she wanted. A few kisses were planted against her forehead, before he relaxed. Fingers slid down to the tattoo at the inner swell of her right breast. "That's nice work. Is there a story behind it, or is for your ship." Usually he didn't get to hold the woman after, and this was just what was needed after the past few months.

It took her a moment to realize what he meant.. and that only because of where his fingers stroke. "It bae after a design upon a ring me mother left me." She was about to add more but her mother's warning rose from those memories to be so cautious where the ring was concern. A matter of life and death and it was the only thing she ever had of her father's. Even her mother didn't wear it, only possessed it.

"That makes it even more special then." He didn't ask more.. That answered satisfied him. He was so content at the moment, he felt half asleep. The rest of the day would be perfect, even if something went wrong. "Like you, strong and beautiful, aye?" He nuzzled his face against her hair as he spoke.

She had felt the slight rise of skin on his back and so took a moment to view the tattoo there. "What of yours?" Fingers tracing the design as it was intricately done, not like any she had seen of a raven before. His compliment had a chuckle, something low in her throat and delicious sounding. "Perhaps we should sleep 'ere tonight," being it was that late, although Reinn might come looking for her but he'd not find her until morning if that be the case. He'd not ask. She and Brendan would be parted by that time she returned to her ship and right now she wanted to drag out those hours as long as she could. A line from a song plagued her to ask, for.. we may never pass this way again. Opportunities easily slipped through one's fingers unless they were grasped. Rare were the ones that came 'round again.

He lifted slightly so she could see it then smiled. The memories of that time weren't so bad. "First time I fell in with pirates, I was a lad. Had been on another ship and they attacked. Offered our lives if we'd join the crew. The Captain was decent in some ways. Probably shouldn't have been a pirate. He took a liking to me. Called me Raven. So, eventually I was dared to get a tattoo and that's what I picked." Unfortunately, it made him a bit noticeable
but he didn't regret it. "Stayed with him until the mutiny I told you about. He was killed." He shrugged slightly. It was a risk one took. He shivered at the sound of her laugh and placed a kiss against her shoulder before snuggling her against him again. "And I think staying here is a very good idea."

"Aye, there are some descent blokes out on the high seas," pausing to add, "like us. Then there are the numerous and then there are the notorious blackened 'earts." Getting killed was part of the draw for some, that life and death thing to defeat death for as long as one could. Pirates and nature, each was a constant threat and dare in that area. "I think it looks good but best my tattoo doesn't take up me whole back." Not that his took up his whole back but a good portion.

"I hadn't planned on it doing that, just happened." He laughed then added, "yours is perfect for you." They could talk a bit more, or pursue a bit more pleasure until they finally slept. Likely both would be awake at dawn to say their farewells.


Date: 08-11-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 14

Cracker and Crumbs

The docks were crowded but that wasn't unusual for the time of day. Several ships had come to the port, some for trade, some to let their crews leave off steam and some for their own dark reasons. None of those mattered to Brendan, since he was making sure to avoid the crews of the ships as much as possible. The gunner didn't need to run into someone who would recognize him when he was so close to finding his way home. He spoke to the foreman, then headed for the vendor, followed by one or two of the others. He dodged a small wagon, then one of the Militia riding by on a rather large horse before reaching the man. A friendly greeting was given, along with the order for what he wanted.

Activity seemed to increase by double, movement and mayhem, adrenaline and action. With so much to see, to notice, to watch, it made the Crumbs all the more productive. A shout went up just down the street, sending the Watch in that direction. At this end, deft fingers made easy work of the purses left in folded shirts or tucked in exposed back pockets. It was not just money the legion was after, but pocket watches, gold and silver chains, silk hankies and scarves, even rings managed to disappear without a trace of how.

The only thing Brendan noticed at the moment was there were more youngsters about then usual. He only had a few coins in his pocket, and the shark's tooth around his neck. The pendants had been removed while he was in Tortuga so nothing happened to them. He noted as the Watch heading in one direction, got his drink and stuck what was left in his pocket. One of the other men reached into his pocket only to find his coin gone, and then another. A third paid for their drinks and the foreman's and then a young woman called out that her bracelets was gone. The gunner perched on a barrel to watch it all, frowning slightly. He started taking note of this one and that, just to watch as he checked to make sure his every day dagger was in place. It wasn't the poniard but it was one he had bought himself, with a fancy hilt. Probably not the best thing to wear while working but he liked it!

He liked it, but did he find it when he checked? He wasn't the only one that might have found a fondness for the weapon. At least two others near Brendan's position would search and not find the well-crafted weapons on their person. Such a perch as where the gunner had taken refuge made for prime visibility. The boy, covered in the grime of street living, clothes ragged and patched in a haphazard fashion, shied up to the men, his palm outstretched and exposed. "Alms, Gov'nor? Alms for the poor?" If Brendan's weapon went missing, it was already so, this boy could just be a decoy or he could be one of the less fortunate of Tortuga.

One of the men growled at the boy, waving him away. "Git ye gone, ye little beggar." But Brendan just shook his head. Yes, it could be a con but it wasn't so long ago he had been roaming the streets of Dublin, trying to make coin to take care of his siblings. "Here. Ain't much, but you're welcome to it." He gave the boy two silver coins, then leaned back on one hand. When he did, he realized he hadn't touched the hilt of his dagger and looked down. The sheath was still there, but the dagger itself was gone! "Hey, me knife is missin'!" He made the discovery just as another man shouted out the same, then a third. "What the hell... " It was natural to stand up and look around for the weapon and that's what Brendan did, even as he realized it had likely been snitched!

Two boys, twelve, thirteen in age dodged in at out of the crowd not far from Brendan and his companions. One turned around as the gunner shouted and laughed, waving the knife in the air to mock the man. He was quick, he had to be. The Crumbs could outrun, outmaneuver, outnimble almost all of their foes. As several strong hands reached for them to prevent their escape, the boys dipped, dodged, danced out of capture.

Brendan saw the boy and cursed. Fine, the boy was a thief and he took Brendan's knife, but the mocking... oh that just set the gunner on edge. Even though his mates shouted at him to let it go, he started through the crowd, watching as the two escaped grabbing hands and the eyes of the Watch. Maybe they were faster, and they would definitely know the streets of the city better, but Brendan was stubborn, and he wanted his knife back, as well of those of his friends. Why couldn't the little buggers steal from those that had plenty?

Compared to the Crumbs, everyone had plenty. According to Cracker, anyone was a fair and likely target. They wanted to eat, they wanted to remain on Cracker's good side, they wanted to be able to flash a license, all was for the taking. The two divided up, mixing with and blending into the crowd, able to duck beneath toted packages and hefted crates. They could scramble, roll and leap. Even a mouse, at times, could not manage to squeeze through what these boys could. Or so they were forced to at risk of great threat of injury. The one with Brendan's knife cut down an alleyway, scampering along the building's edge and then dove and used the barrels of trash as a vaulting point for clearing the fence beyond.

Damn, damn, damn. Brendan kept up with the one until he darted around a rather large lady who let out a rather indignant yell when he nearly collided with her. Dodging swats from her parasol, and more from her servant, he used a wagon for a shield then glanced around. The boy with his knife was gone. He cursed under his breath while he tried to spot him, then he started down an alley off to one side of the busy road. He came to the dead end and climbed the barrels for a look see. Ugh... rats and stink. Lovely. Jumping back down, he considered what to do next.

Brendan had managed to chose the alleyway just one down from the thief and the boy had crossed back and was skittling along at the edge of the fence, a broken board giving away the youngster's location. He continued to run along the fence line until he shot off, his body close to the ground toward a deserted warehouse.

What a bit of luck! He couldn't get through that board but he did shinny over the fence itself. Landing lightly, he crouched down and watched the lad a moment, then followed after. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one else followed. Truth was, though he wasn't happy about losing his knife, he didn't want the boy arrested. He was old enough to get into big trouble. Besides, Brendan wanted to be the one to scare them into staying away from the docks.

Good luck with that. It was far scarier to deal with Cracker than any possibility of capture and punishment at the docks. The boy cast a quick look over his shoulder, not really even checking, such was his confidence at evasion. From the ground just behind the warehouse, the boy hefted up a dirt and grass concealed door, then dropped down out of view and allowed the entrance to shut behind him.

Unfortunately, Brendan didn't know about Cracker. It never occurred to him that there might be someone behind the pickpockets and no one had said anything to him if they knew. He watched the boy, then looked at the warehouse itself. If he went in through that hidden door, there could be a trap. Instead, the gunner pulled out his boot knife and climbed carefully through a window. He ducked down behind some dust covered boxes and listened. A spider took exception to his company and scurried away but Brendan didn't pay it any attention. That door outside probably lead to lower levels. He might have to go back out but he'd wait a few first.

Silence. Inside the warehouse there was complete silence as only an empty, deserted building can be. And then the door outside thudded again, it was a muted, cushioned sound but a thump none-the-less indicating someone else had made use of that hidden entrance.

He waited a moment more, then looked out the window Once he was certain no one else was approaching, Brendan climbed out again and moved over to the hidden door. It took him but a moment before he opened it and headed down. Knife held in hand, he moved slowly, head tipped just slightly as he listened. A skittering sound told him there were at least a few four rodents using the tunnel just as the two legged rats had been.

The steps down at first were made of earth, dug from the dirt that protected the hideout. They changed into rock and then to wood before the floor of tile butted up against them. No torches lit the way, the corridors well traveled and memorized or else the newer Crumbs could use the drawings etched on the dirt walls. Stick figures walking in a particular direction. Ships sailing in another. Dogs. Cats. Birds. All facing in a similar direction along the way, all knee height to a grown man. Near the end of the earth-walled walkway, yellow light flooded out and the sound of laughing, chatting, arguing, jostling could be heard. No small gathering, shadows drifted in that light as the masses shuffled around. The voices were young, most all of them pre-cracking, but there were a few high-pitched yelps of frustration or a deeper bark of anger.

He had spotted something when he first stepped inside, before lowering the door. Markings that he had to bend over some to feel. They were a little hard to figure out at first, in the dark, but he managed enough to keep himself on track. He managed to keep pretty quiet too, but when he neared the end, he realized he hadn't had to worry. He slipped up to the end, leaning against the wall to peer out. Holy ... it looked as if every young'n from the island was there. How the hell was he supposed to get his knife from that mass of ... not so grown humanity? Brendan's curiosity got the better of him and he stayed where he was.

A lad slid up behind him, seven at the most, and looked up to Brendan with a squint of blue eyes. "You new here? Me too. Name's Tim. My second night working. You won't get any grub if you don't bring in your goods." Brendan didn't look young enough to be amongst them, he definitely wasn't young enough, but there were some youngsters there that didn't look their age which made them all the more useful. What did Cracker do with the older lads once they reached the age of majority? Tim paused and looked back to Brendan. "You coming?" Then he spun on the ball of his foot and became a part of the crowd as the Crumbs were so adept at doing.

Ah hell! He didn't jump when the lad spoke but looked down at him. "Aye, I'm new." He hoped the mocking lad didn't spot him, or his friend. There were one or two as tall as him but he still slouched his shoulders and slipped into the crowd after tucking his knife back into his boot. At least he was dirty as most of them. He slid over to a wall, leaned there and watched, wondering what the hell he had gotten himself into. And what would he give to ... Cracker? He had coins hidden in his boot and he sighed. There went that stash. Then he realized he was taller then most of the youngsters there. Maybe one or two were guards but there was no way he'd be able to stay out of sight for long. He glanced back over at the tunnel entrance, considering if he should get out of there while he could.

Children were pressed everywhere. Some playing games of cards or dice or straws. Others eating. A few others shoved and pushed with good-hearted rivalry. What arguments took place were quick to cease, raised voices, a few solid shots to shoulders and things settled down. Several times Brendan was bumped, apologies muttered, after all, he was rather large for his 'age'. Then a man's voice boomed through the spacious room, causing all the kids to hush instantly and practically come to a standstill. The dice had been tossed and another boy lurched forward to capture the cubes in the cup of his hands to keep them from making a sound on the tabletop.

"Armistice!" The man bellowed, and three long lines formed with the smallest at the front of each and the tallest making up the rear. A well practiced end to the 'war' of the evening, the battle of survival for this night had come to a pause. When the lines formed, up ahead on a step of a platform, was a thin, reed-like figure of a man in no way resembling the boom of voice previously heard. His jaw line was sharp and marked by the thin strands of a hopeful beard that had yet to come in thicker than just patches. His nose was pinched and pointed down so that the tip almost touched his top lip. Those very lips narrow and almost nonexistent. He looked as shrewd and demanding as he actually was but the kids all filed up to him, dropping their day's earnings in an open blanket there on the floor at his feet. The man didn't miss a single object that added to the stash, commenting on the value of one, the uselessness of another.

The idea of moving away seemed like a good one, even when the man bellowed and the room quieted. He had been watching the youngsters, amazed at how noisy it was, how crowded and, in spite of the chaos, how few actually got into serious fights. He bent down to retrieve the stash of coins, then started to ease toward the opening where he had gained entry. Blue eyes were on that man, and any other entrances, constantly moving. The gunner had no idea how he would explain his presence if he did happen to be noticed, and he wasn't all that happy about giving up those lovely coins.

The lines moved quickly, each one cutting off to their appropriate sides and the middle one folding up to run along itself. It didn't seem that anyone noticed Brendan at first. But everyone was expected to participate or they didn't eat or they lost the protection of the interior. A small boy eased up beside Brendan and pressed a laced hanky into his hand. "It is stitched with gold thread. It will be a keeper and will get you meat, not just bread." He beamed up to him and with a jerk of his head, indicated that he better get in line. "I've got me a pocket watch, I'll get ale too." If Brendan listened, each time the loot was added, Cracker would say the child's name as he either congratulated them or berated them. The names, however, could not have been their given names, at least not at birth. They ranged along the lines of Fishbone, Chickpea, Bedlouse, Hogspleen and the children addressed each other that way too. When Tim stepped up and let his night's earnings slip from his fingers, Cracker smiled a toothy grin and nodded. "A pinch of pound cake for you tonight, Mudfly. Well done." The boy was pounded on the shoulders by all he passed on his way back down the line.

Brendan blinked in surprise, then smiled down at the boy. "Thanks," was all he could say in answer and took his place at the end of one of the lines. He was too tall to be here and felt awkward but it was too late to back out. He kept his eyes on the man as he grew nearer, watching how each reacted to him. Finally it was his turn and he placed the hanky on the pile along with 5 of his gold coins. A fortune for some. Hard earned for Brendan.

As soon as Brendan was noted at the end of the line, Cracker only diverted his gaze long enough to check the addition and then comment, then back up to the tall youth at the back of the line. The hanky would have been enough for the Spindlegod to be impressed but the five gold? Slowly his gaze lifted back up to Brendan again. "Why are you here, wharf rat?" A long, thorough study passed down and up the largest of the boys. Surely this one could survive on his own and he didn't look like the sort to need the protection of the 'box'. "You could have feed yourself for weeks on what you just added to the soup."

"Curiosity." Which normally got Brendan in trouble. "Maybe the hope of an extra job." He shrugged as he continued. "The Watch has extra men out. I grew up on the streets of Dublin. Know what it's like to be hungry. Don't want to see any o' them caught if I can help it but I don't want to be a target either." The man might very well attack him right here but Brendan wasn't afraid of him. He was more concerned about the Crumbs overwhelming him if the man gave the word. Small or not, that many would have Brendan down in no time.

Cracker looked back down to the coins and with a pointed, wagging finger, two of the larger boys dove in and collected them, handing them up to Cracker. He held the gold in his palm, eyeing the pieces, then looked over to Brendan. "You're over my age limit, and the watch would notice you right off for your size. You can't skirt through the holes and grates to get away..." He said this all while he passed his gaze up and down Brendan as if sizing him up. As if, he was thinking out loud.

"I'm not talking about being one of your pickpockets. I'm talking about watching over them, making sure the Watch doesn't see which way they're going. Tripping them up if they do." He shrugged again. "Just an offer. Watch ain't done nothing to me, but I know they won't be easy on the youngsters. Don't know if that matters or not. Doesn't suit, I'll walk away, let you deal with it." He had learned a few things from being on the Whore. Maybe he was sincere, maybe not, but it be hard to tell. "Don't really care if they steal. I'll just be careful what I carry." The last was said with a slight smile.

Flippant might work on the street, in the 'Box' it wasn't a commodity thought highly of. "You don't walk away, not from this place." With that comment, a low murmur of agreement rippled through the large room. "And I watch after my own, but I need a Counter. One what sees to the heads out there, to the goods down here. And you have all your fingers I see. Ain't none of them cut off for stealing. Can you count?"

"Aye, I can count, read and write." He glanced out at the crowded room then back. "How exactly do you count heads out there? They're faster then any I've seen before." He smiled when a few murmured agreement but they quieted quick enough. Cracker knew how to handle them and it all boiled down to rewarding them with food. It was another lesson for the gunner. He looked back at Cracker, his face serious as he waited for the man to continue. He had called the gunner wharf rat so likely he had seen him working the docks. It was hard work, which Brendan didn't mind, but he was working harder then most of the men, and for less because he was youngest. And lately he'd been hearing that a certain man was wanting to talk to him about 'donating' a percentage of his pay for the privilege of the docks. Another job sure wouldn't hurt.

Date: 08-14-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 15

It was another perfect day in Tortuga. The sun was out, it was hot, people were busy doing this and that and taking little notice if anyone bumped them in the crowded streets. Of course, if one lost their purse, and a fancy bit of jewelry, they would let out a fuss and carry on something awful. And all of that pleased Brendan very much. He still hadn't figured out where the buckle came from, but it was tucked away at the inn. He hadn't spotted the distinct black ship of Eric Westmoreland, and that in itself was a relief. Brendan was dressed similar to most in the port, wearing a shirt with sleeves rolled up in a washed out white, black pants and boots. He could have worn sandals but he had seen a few trip up wearing them if they needed to run. He had situated himself near one of the pylons, sitting on a crate in the shade of a building, just watching the area around him. As soon as he finished the drink in his hand, he'd move again.

The boys made their rounds, on the hour, for the half-hour following, each just passing by for Scales to keep track. They had become more confident in their attempts. After all, they had Scales to watch after them. Each night they reaped the rewards of their substantial contributions to the piles. This day was really not unlike most, the heat, the people, the ships, the job. A pair had just crossed in front of Scales, one even making a blatant shift of hand to pilfer a laced hanky whose tip was exposed from the drawn closure of a Lady's pouch. Slick as satin that move, but silk it was. All the better. Since each day welcomed new ships to the docks, bidding farewell to others, the clientele of the Crumbs had a continuity for change. One such change came in the form of a newly arrived ship recognized by most as The Benevolence. Only the most experienced of the Crumbs would attempt a 'transfer' with one of the men from this ship. But if they dared, and if they succeeded, great would be their desserts. The men of The Benevolence were never without means. And means..made for a good end. The dock men had swarmed forth, unloading the many small barrels of pepper or other spices, the larger crates of goods that were carefully guarded by several of the crew, and was then being reloaded with the next shipment out. Those not employed at the moment, made use of the time that their lady bumped hull against wharf.

Had Brendan been paying attention, he might not have been sitting where he was. For some reason, it hadn't occurred to him that The Benevolence might be in port again. He had avoided being seen once but how long could his luck hold out.? His hair was still cut shorter then it had been, and he had allowed scruff to grow though not a beard. But there were still those blue eyes, the slightly broken nose. He pretended not to see the act of the Crumbs, but he couldn't help the smile. It was when he stood he noticed the familiar ship, though the name wasn't in view. He blended into the crowd and moved a little closer. Now it was time to move deeper into the crowd and away from that slip. And quickly!

A curious crowd always surged forth when a new ship arrived, just to see what might be available in any of the shops soon. Sealed as the containers may be, at times the men from the ship would talk, giving out information. The different spices soon to be distributed rode the wave of chatter through the onlookers but none could gain a word on the crates and what they contained. They also couldn't help but chitter with excitement when those half dozen crates were escorted away. Marcus could almost claim to be relieved to be shed of them, if he ever made claims to anyone. But...he wouldn't. So...didn't. That didn't apply to the fact that he slapped his quartermaster on the shoulder with an uplift of chin and, with that nudge, started them both away from watching the unloading out into the gathering. There was amusement in his tone when he started to speak. "Time for a drink, a game of cards and a..." His verbal plans were interrupted when his first mate shot out an arm which slammed into DeHaven's chest and with his other hand, indicated the young man who weaved a cautious, almost unnoticed retreat through the people.

At first, Marcus looked down to the hairy, muscular forearm but then, from experience with dealing with his quartermaster, lifted his gaze to search the faces where that finger pointed. The other man spoke first. "Isn't that one of Westmoreland's, Captain?" Marcus lifted his hand to shield his eyes, that study narrowing as he nodded slow. "I do believe you're right." That said, Marcus pushed passed the other man's arm a step, turning to search the docked ships. No Whore. Had the bastard pirate taken a new Lady as his own? The quartermaster kept an eye on the dodging, at times blending, head while his captain searched. "Didn't see the black one when we docked, Cap." There was no doubt what Marcus looked for. "Me either." The Benevolence replied but he still eyed the ships, trying to figure out if any of them now were victim to the pirate crew of Black Beard. "See if you can ... " Slowly DeHaven turned to look to his man. "...entice the lad to join us for a bit. I've got a penchant to know if that son of a bitch has a different floater we need to be aware of." The man jerked a look Marcus' way, but not long at all, making sure he didn't manage to miss which way the lad went, and with an "Aye, Cap." started shouldering his way after Brendan.

Brendan's main worry was the boys but he was pretty sure he hadn't been spotted even as DeHaven's man was starting after him. He had come to know the streets fairly well since his first arrival, and once he was a distance away, he slipped into an alley, made his way to the end, climbed over a fence, and went through several yards before entering another street. This one was just as crowded and he attempted to blend in again. He made his way to a fruit stand, bought an apple and stood off to the side to watch the crowd. If he saw DeHaven, it wouldn't take much to duck into another alley.

The quartermaster was also familiar with the streets and alleys, but the lad was quick, and he was clever. At the end of one of the alleyways, the man stood, cursing under his breath when the young man could no longer be found. He returned to the street he had just come from and looked up and down. Damn, but his Captain wouldn't be pleased to be deprived of his desired company. Things were what they were though, and the first mate was hot and sweaty and in need of a drink. Let the boy rot in his hide-ee-hole for now. They were in Tortuga and DeHaven wouldn't really want to have the entire day wasted seeking out a cabin cub even if he belonged to BlackBeard. Swiping the back of his hand along his brow, he joined the crowd, heading toward DeHaven's favorite haunt while at this port.

Brendan stood off to the side, but that left his back open to the very alley he thought to duck down in case of notice. The Captain's voice behind Brendan was close to his ear, a hand clamping down on the free hand to avoid any possible reach for a hidden weapon. "I'm not one that cares much for sea serpents, Lad, but I'm feeling obligated to make an exception in your case. That mouthful of apple you're munching, could be the last time you swallow if you try anything but smiling and nodding agreement with my invitation to join me...and damn well meaning it."

Brendan wasn't usually so careless but with the crowd around him, and that alley close, he hadn't expected anyone to spot him. He realized how stupid he had been when DeHaven grabbed his hand, and spoke. His eyes went wide briefly before he finished chewing and carefully swallowed. He managed a smile that seemed genuine as he nodded. "Aye, good to see you too, mate. That be fine." Cussing himself over and over in his thoughts, he straightened and managed to look at the Captain. "Lead on." He gave a quick look around to see if any of the lads were about, though he wasn't about to drag them in on this. He only had thirty minutes before the boys began their rounds again. He didn't want to miss it or they might start to worry.

One hand to the boy's back, the other swept forward to begin walking. DeHaven knew better than to come right out and ask about Westmoreland or his ship. If this boy was true to his jolly roger he'd not give up any information willingly...or sober. Still, as they walked, Marcus just happened to mention. "Can't say as I saw the Whore casting a blemish on the docks. But then, I'm not always the most observant of souls." Bull....shit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullfuckin'shit! Marcus DeHaven rarely, if ever, would miss the likes of a pirate ship, especially one of the Trinity. And if he did, he had his men to help him remedy that.

Brendan cut a look toward the man, then forward again. He could try to escape but he didn't know how fast the man was. He did know how fast both Rhazor and Westmoreland were, and DeHaven had to be equal or nearly so. Even with his crew around, the gunner doubted he would have backed down from BlackBeard. "Big place." Brendan shrugged slightly. He still didn't know if the Whore was moored elsewhere, maybe even out a bit but he didn't think he'd be believed in any case. He glanced at the man again, then gave a quick look to the side as if he spotted someone. He doubted the Captain would fall for it but Brendan immediately tried stepping away, and get lost in the crowd again.

Only then, when Brendan stepped to the side, would he feel the sharp jab of dagger dig beneath his shoulder blade where Marcus' hand rested in the appearance of camaraderie. "Leaving so soon? Surely not." DeHaven's voice may have held a hint of amusement but... amused... he was not. "Surely your Captain won't mind if you spend some time with men of equal..." or greater. "standards. One drink. And you can be on your merry, blackhearted way."

Brendan stopped, stiffening but then he stepped forward again. What choice did he have.? "Can't blame me for trying." He answered before he looked at the Captain. He wasn't looking forward but he could see from his peripheral and wouldn't walk into any more people then was normal in a crowd. "One drink? You're not going to hang me or skin me alive?" It came out before he could stop himself and he actually grimaced. Great. Make it all the way to Tortuga, stay alive for weeks, then give the man ideas. Smart, O'Sionna, real smart.

"Guess it all depends on how you act while we share that drink, Lad." Marcus actually lowered the bladed hand and used that one to shove open the door of the establishment. At first, none paid the two entering any attention, but soon enough, card games slowed or ceased, and eyes turned to the duo. Marcus' first mate came trotting up to them. "Slippery little eel you are, Pirate." He laughed though, almost as if he was proud of Brendan ability to get away. Marcus growled low to his first mate. "Not pirate, not here...give us a name, Boy, or we won't be the ones doing your hanging or skinning."

He knew using Raven would be a mistake, especially given the reaction of the pirates on Montserrat. "Brendan." He finally muttered. He looked at the first mate and gave him a half smile before adding, "O'Sionna. And I'm ... between ships." Seemed to be the best way to deal with these men. Whether they believed him or not. "Most of the time I am." Another shrug as he spoke then looked around. This was one tavern he had never been in. Most of the time I'm slippery enough. But... " He left that trail off with another shrug. He looked around the tavern with some interest, realizing they were watched. This was one he had never been in.

"Between ships, Brendan?" Likely story, but it would ride the tide of wait-and-see for now as Marcus smiled. This wasn't the type of establishment that young men such as Brendan would venture into. Not on purpose and if he did, would probably be wise just to spin it around and head out again. The men within these walls had the coin to spare. Well dressed, clean, the type of blokes the Crackers would drool over. And here Brendan was, right in the midst of them. "I'm curious." Marcus continued as he moved the three of them to a table. He didn't say what about. Did he have to? The lad didn't seem to be a simpleton but then, he had shouldered with Westmoreland for awhile at least. And not just walked the same ship boards, but the man had brought him along with that beast of a man, Rhazor, to threaten Regan. Seemed the lad was an important part of the Pirate Lord's collection.

He felt uncomfortable, out of place for certain, and awkward. He was worried about the time, and needed to be out of her soon. "Aye, between ships." The gunner paused before he spoke again, "Oh? And what might you be curious about?" He knew but why should he make it easier for DeHaven or his first mate? Sitting, he looked at the Captain for a moment. Then looked away. He wasn't going to be believed no matter what he said. "There's a lot to be curious about, isn't there?" The last was almost mumbled. He didn't want to talk about Westmoreland. He wanted to forget.

The maid came over, placing drinks and food on the table, not even waiting for payment. Reputations were solid here as were the funds with which each tab was paid. "Some things more than others, O'Sionna. Eat. Drink. We can chat while we do."

He looked at the food and found to his surprise, that he was hungry. He ate enough during the day, but in the company he was in, he hadn't expected to want to eat. Still, he wouldn't refuse the food or the drink. "Chat?" Brendan did smile. "Not an interrogation then, Captain?" Oh, he would push and probably get himself in trouble. But when didn't he?

Cheeky bastard, this one, but it caused both the Captain and the first mate to cast looks at each other and then laugh. Marcus replied with "Call it what it is, Brendan. We will interrogate. You can chat out your replies." The first mate was the next to comment by way of inquiry simply stated once again. "I didn't see Westmoreland's Whore."

"He's not here." Brendan looked up from the food and looked first at DeHaven then the first mate. "If he was, I wouldn't have been anywhere near the docks." His eyes narrowed and he smiled slightly. "And he wouldn't be hiding from you, not here." Tortuga was an open port after all. He knew they thought he was still part of the crew. Let them.

The quartermaster leaned forward as he spoke. "Didn't think he was hiding, lad, thought he might have a new lady to play with is all." The first mate looked to Marcus. The captain provided the faintest of head motions to cease for now although DeHaven added. "Eric Westmoreland isn't the hiding sort. He takes pride in his reckless...audacity. He can get away with it for now because of his reputation. Careful, Brendan. You ... won't."

Brendan swallowed then looked at both men. He wasn't smiling now. "I wouldn't know if he has a new lady. I haven't seen him or the Whore in over a month." Neptune's beard! Had it been that long? Brendan reached for his drink, not wanting to think about the time lost. He might even feel a little homesick if he thought about it.

Now that was a flat out lie or the lad had either jumped ship or been abandoned. DeHaven had watched Westmoreland with this young man, things weren't adding up just yet. There would be no knowing today. "You making Tortuga your home?" Marcus reached out, plucking up a square of pineapple and, with a twist of wrist, carefully bought it to his mouth so that the juice didn't drip.

Brendan leaned back in his chair and shook his head. He probably was making a mistake answering, but he did. "No. I want to go home and I was hoping a ship from there would come here. Look, Captain. You don't any reason to trust what I say and I know that. When you first saw me, I was unarmed and a prisoner. Westmoreland liked to drag me along. I'm from Heathfield. I don't know Captain Callihan from any other woman there. It amused Westmoreland to have me around." He paused and looked down a the tankard in his hand. "Now, you can believe me or not, but that's the truth of it. Are we done?" He looked up again, almost fidgeting. He had to get out of here!

Marcus started to nod that the boy could leave but paused. "Regan...Captain Callihan that is, is from Heathfield. Ships from that port come through here all the time. Perhaps you'll be granted your wish soon enough." He jerked his head toward the door. "Go then. And if you haven't already, Brendan O'Sionna, remember the Benevolence." The quartermaster shot Marcus a surprised look then with those brows still lifted, looked at Brendan, that man continuing for Marcus. "Her planks are lowered for you should you need refuge." That said, he looked back to Marcus. Had the man gone insane? This was Westmoreland's boy! Still, he didn't question DeHaven. Odd, but the captain had some weird sixth sense that oft times left the quartermaster gawking with disbelief. Pray, this be one of them.

The quartermaster was more right in his thoughts then he knew. "Aye, it's just been a while since any have." Brendan stood but he paused and looked at DeHaven, then he gave a genuine smile. "Thank you, Captain DeHaven, but you have enough to deal with Westmoreland without having me on board as well. I'd be a sure beacon for trouble." He wasn't going to explain more, not here or now. "Safe journey to you both, and thanks for the meal." He nodded then turned and got out of there. It was nearly time but the lads were due. He didn't want them getting worried.

Both men watched the boy leave, the first mate leaning closer to Marcus. "What the hell were you thinking, letting him know if he needed us, he was welcome aboard. By his own admission, he is still part of Westmoreland's interest." Marcus didn't look at his quartermaster at first, not until the door closed behind Brendan. "I just told him to remember the Benevolence." A smile and DeHaven shifted his gaze to his closest mate at sea. "You, my friend, were the one who offered him sanctuary."

Date: 08-18-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 16

Cracker steepled fingers, tapping the tips at the bottom of his sharply lined chin. His eyes narrowed and he looked Brendan up and down again, sizing him up, figuring him out. "Exactly how old are you?" The one called Horsesnort glanced up at him as he bent, collecting the items that had been added to the evening's stash. With his head turned away from Cracker and looking to Brendan, he overemphasized the mouthing of the number sixteen. In fact, the young boy standing just to his right whispered the same number, covering it up with a feigned sneeze that sounded quite legit. No doubt he used that while he pulled his tricks above.

Brendan managed to look sheepish,and down at the ground. "Not sure." He mumbled, lying easily. "Learned to read when I was on a ship where the captain thought I should be educated. Same with the numbers. Said I'd never get anywhere if I didn't learn." He looked back up at Cracker and shrugged. "Guessing anywhere from sixteen to eighteen but no proof." He didn't feel bad about not telling the truth. After all, that was how he survived at times. He was wondering too what became of the youngsters when they became older. Did Cracker kick them out, send them to someone else. He might be finding out, and that would likely not be a good thing!

The tapping stopped, as did the study and the man's hands lowered to his sides. "I would have guessed older, but we'll go with sixteen for now. As to the Crumbs, you'll soon know them all, and be able to track them as easily as if they stood in this room. It will be up to them to find you...and check in so to speak. Two at a time for the half hour following the hour and then it starts again at the next strike of the grand. You decide where. We'll see how it goes and here's hoping, for your sake, it goes well. From this night on, you'll be known as The Scales, since you'll be the conscience of every soul here save one. Get yourself something to eat tonight, Scales. Horsesnort will show you where you sleep." He looked out to the mass gathering waving his skinny arms in a full circle in front of him. "All of you, eat...and get to bed."

"Aye, sir." What in the hell had he gotten himself into?! He should have just let the knife go, but well, one job was as good as another. The only problem was how would he watch the docks? That could be figured out later. Hopefully. It had to be! He turned to figure out which one was Horsesnort and waited. Hell, this might be fun. Just had to figure out where they could find him without gaining too much attention. The docks might even work out though not loading cargo. He suppressed a smile as he looked over the Crumbs. This could even be enjoyable.

As they boys collected their plates, they wandered over, introducing themselves to Scales. One of them lingered a moment, fingering his piece of bread. "Last fella' wandered around on the dock, made it easier for us to find him and kept us up there and working. He didn't last long though." He tore off a bite, finishing his comment through his chewing. "Turned eighteen three weeks later."

He waited for the youngsters to fill up first, then looked down at the boy. "What happened to him after that?" He asked, food suddenly forgotten. Not for long though. He was reminded by one of the others that he needed to eat. He nodded then looked at the boy that had spoken first.

The boy shrugged to Brendan's question, cutting a quick look to where Cracker had been, then back up to Scales. "Dunno. They just...aren't here no more." Since everyone had started to mull around again, grabbing their food and breaking off in their groups, Cracker made his way to a back corridor followed by the two boys who had collected the sacks of goods. The spindly man paused and cut a look around his shoulder. "Scales." He called out to the room although Brendan stood out amongst all the smaller children and could be easily spotted. "When you're done eating...come back here to count." That said, the man turned and continued out of sight down the hallway. The boy by Brendan looked up to him, eyes wide. "Looks like he's gonna put you to work right away. Hope you weren't telling no fibs 'bout countin'."

Just not here no more. That sounded ominous but his attention was drawn to Cracker. "Aye, sir." He called out then looked down. "No, I wasn't fibbing. I can count." He ate quickly, not really taking his full share and headed out of the room. It was strangely quiet and almost lonely without all the Crumbs mulling about though he wasn't sure how long he could take a full room of children. This could get out of control very quickly and he knew he'd have to be very careful.

Only one door waited at the end of that corridor, and it was open, the light from within oozing out into the darker hallway. Inside could be heard the clinking and shuffling of the spoils being divided up. The low rumble of a male voice in muted conversation filtered into the mix, heard but not understood from any distance.

He moved slowly, and quietly, looking into the door first before stepping inside. Making a quick study of the room, he finally did and waited for Cracker to notice him. Somehow he felt this was going to be a much better job then loading and unloading ships.

The movement at the opening brought all eyes in that direction and Cracker shoo'ed the other two away with a flick of his hand. "Come in, Scales. Take a seat here and we'll start. Did you get enough to eat?"

He gave a half smile to the two lads as they walked passed then moved over to the seat mentioned. "Aye, I did." He didn't mention he had just finished eating when he realized his knife was gone, or that it was likely among the loot in front of them. "I'm ready to begin." He studied the man a moment then meet his gaze easy enough. Never show fear. He remembered that lesson all too well.

Cracker had started to look down, shifting some of the goods into smaller stacks, but Brendan's confident gaze had the man do a double-take in his direction. For a moment their eyes held, but it was Cracker who lowered his away first to continue with his work. "Who are you, Scales?" Long, thin fingers were quick with plucking out valuables with one hand and placing them to the side while the other did the same with less profitable goods. He didn't fully look back over to the young man, just darted a glance now and again as if to make sure there was no threat.

Brendan looked down after Cracker, watching as the man sorted the take. He was quiet a moment then shrugged. "Just a sea dog without a ship, trying to stay alive in a place I don't really know." He shrugged slightly. "I was stranded on another island because I was sick and left behind. Figured Tortuga would be a good place to start over." He shook his head. "Bit of a fool there." That was as honest an answer Cracker was going to get and if it didn't satisfy the man, they'd go from there.

The skinny man nodded as he listened. "Foolishness doesn't make for a long life, Scales." He didn't say anymore regarding Brendan's answer, just started explaining what each object in the pile would bring when taken to the streets to trade, where to do that swap of gold for goods, who to speak with, who to avoid.

Brendan just nodded, figuring the man might catch that movement. He put his arms on the table, leaning forward as he listened to the man. Occasionally he'd ask a question, pointing out an object, or about one of the people he mentioned. It wasn't too hard and he was sure he would do well enough. "What about the city guard? Do I need to worry about them beyond the usual?" He had met a couple, but not more then a hello, this is. And goodbye. *

Now that question had those nimble fingers stopping and Cracker tilted a head to look to Brendan. "If they figure out who you are, to me, you will. So best, you aren't a bit of a fool there, eh?" The thin lips narrowed even more into a tightened smile then he turned back to his work. "The Watch isn't giving over any favors to me or my boys. Bit of a briar in their otherwise productive garden. But I'd rather be a fast spreading briar than a lily for all its lovely adoration, rather more difficult to snatch out a briar without at least getting pricked deep and good. We do well here, Scales. The boys have nowhere else to go and they are safe here. They have each other. A cover over their heads, food in their bellies. No. The Watch don't like us much, but we're here to stay by God and anyone what threatens that..." He turned his attention back to the sorting. " as good as dead."

"They seem happy enough." He nodded. "Food in the belly, a safe place to sleep. I'll do me best to watch over them." He recognized the threat but said nothing to it. "What happens when they... when I get too old?" He looked down, frowning. "You said you have an age limit." Poseidon's beard, he hoped he sounded worried enough! This was a dangerous game, but Brendan couldn't resist. It was almost mild after the past few months.

His fingers were quick, this underground lord, and it was obvious with what he picked up, looked at, tossed aside or added to the pile that he had long been at it, and was good at it, and had been long at it because of his -- diligence. "Boys are less likely to spend more than a night, two, in the hole if they get caught. None of my boys would give me away, they know where they have to return to once they get out. But you reach that age of majority? The game plan changes...can't trust a man that no longer needs me." A cant of head turned a squinting look to Brendan. "Not likely a foolish lad will last long out there on his own anyway, which puts us all in jeopardy. I only just met you, Scales. But you seem the sort that might last down here. You've got backbone and brains. The boys look up to you already...and it has nothing to do with your height. Not sure I believe your age...but I'm willing to overlook that. I plan on living forever, you know." A crooked pull at one side of his lips. "Might who then will look after my boys?"

"Sometimes loyalty stays. You're giving them something they didn't have before." He shrugged, then grinned. "Thank you for that. Must be my face or something." He became more serious but still with a glint in his eye. "The guard should thank you then. Keeping those lads busy and off the streets at night." The grin returned and he put his attention back on learning, well aware Cracker had not really answered his question. Maybe he'd find out in time.


Brendan was up early the next morning, earlier then most of the lads. He told one, Mudfly, if he remembered right that he'd be around the docks and to spread the word. Best to stay with territory he knew. First he stopped off at the inn, to change his clothes and let Madame Elspeth know he'd be gone a lot but to keep his room. A little while later, he was at the docks, speaking to the man who had hired him. He wasn't coming back to work for the man so best to let him know. He also told the others he hadn't recovered his knife and had gotten lost in the city. From there, he found a vendor and bought his breakfast. He'd have to watch his spending until he saw what and if he got paid. The gunner found a place to sit, out of the way, and began to eat. He watched as the docks became more and more crowded and took not of the city watch patrols, their patterns and the times they came around. Once his breakfast was gone and washed down with a pint of ale from a local pub, he began to wander the docks. There was one thing about doing so, it was common enough for folks to hang around the docks even during the day. As long as he didn't draw notice to himself, he'd be pretty much ignored.

The large clock midtown began to strike the hour of ten when the first pair of crumbs passed by Brendan. Not together, but they crossed the path of Scales at exactly the same time going in opposite directions. Neither of them looked at the 'counter', but sure enough this was planned. From then, the lads made themselves known, in twos, always just passing within Brendan's path for that half hour that progressed. Just checking in, all was well so far this morning.

He caught sight of the two, went over names until he remembered and stood up from his seat on a crate. From then on, it was the same thing... they'd pass, he'd notice, work on remember names, and go from there. Not hard at all and oddly enough, he felt relieved that the lads were all safe. "Don't get attached to this," he thought to himself. "You'll be leaving as soon as you can." He wondered if he should mention it to Cracker but mentally shook his head. He had no idea when it would happen and why take the chance of just disappearing already? He realized he had yet to check the newest ships that had ported and looked for the familiar flags with no luck.

Easy duty, this. The boys knew the routine, they kept strict to it. No matter where Brendan wandered or took himself, the network of communication between the Crumbs was sure, and every strike of hour to thirty minutes after the boys crossed and always should be two of them. Should be. At seventeen passed the hour of one only one boy crossed in front of Brendan and when he did, no look was spared Scales, but the lad turned his head to cast his gaze down the thoroughfare. There, Brendan would see another boy in the grip of one of the Watch, struggling but held firm. That boy actually looked up and over, not that he needed to. That curly red hair was enough to give away the identity of Chickpea. The unfortunate thing was when the lad looked over the expanse to Brendan, one of the Watch caught that and looked too. He studied the object of the redhead's attention a moment but then seemed to just dismiss the older lad. It was a known fact that none of Cracker's Crumbs were over the age of eighteen, and that fellow was not old enough to be the man himself.

He didn't recognize that member of the Watch but it wouldn't matter if he did. Brendan was going to have to be careful, but he'd be damned if he'd let the boy stay caught like that. He looked away with a shrug of his shoulders until he was sure the man had turned his attention back to the boy. It only took a moment for him to look over to where a fruit vendor had a stand. There was a dog with the man and the Gunner caught up a cat that had been sunning itself. He petted it and hoped the damn thing cooperated. When he got close to the dog, he let the cat loose, nudging it in that direction. The dog started barking and the cat turned to run. When it did, it startled a horse who reared. The fruit vendor backed up into his own cart, upset it and sent the fruit rolling toward the boy and the Watch. The horse took off in one direction, women screamed and one rather large doxy ran right into the Watch and the boy. And all the while, Brendan, who had stepped to the side, watched, laughing. It had worked out better then expected. Chaos was always a good weapon.

Two more lads had made to make their whereabouts known when Brendan walked away to begin that chain reaction. They stood where they were, joined by two others and they watched, three of the four with their mouths open. Enthralled. Grateful. That was...ingenious! It took a moment for them to realize they weren't in motion, so captured were they by the sheer magnitude of confusion. It took one to jab another with an elbow and they were moving again. They knew better than to stand stagnant and still. With the bump, bustle, bellowing, Chickpea tore free and took off in a dash, leaving the bewildered Watchman behind to try to console the woman and attempt to regain some semblance of control in this otherwise uncontrolled situation.

He saw the two boys, then four and took note. Before he could start back in motion, they had taken off. Brendan went over to the fruit vendor and helped him to his feet, taking an apple that was still in the cart while the man shouted for his dog. The horse had managed not to trample anyone before its owner got it under control and now he was yelling at the fruit vendor. When the dog came slinking guiltily back, Brendan patted it on his head to offer some comfort, then he moved away, enjoying the juicy bit of fruit. He'd have to make certain, if the situation came up again,that the Watch wasn't the same man. If he appeared to one too many times, they'd start suspecting him. All in all, he felt pretty good.

Oh, the lads would be chattering about this tonight. No doubt about it! How Scales had managed, single-handedly, to free Chickpea from the unrelenting grip of the Watch without even making himself known! He was the best Counter! Ever! Word spread quickly. And by the time night had started to taint the sky with it's reds and golds, Cracker had already received the news. As rumors spread, so did the magnitude of his deeds. The Watch was beating the boy, and Scales sent out an attack dog and in the process, tipped the fruit cart so the boys could all have an afternoon snack and distracted the vendor by setting free the horse. He must be friendly with the brothel because one of the doxies had at the Watch as well for mistreating Chickpea. Wow. What a guy, that Scales.

He had no idea how the day's events would be blown out of proportion but it didn't matter as long as the boy was safe. He came into the box to see how things were progressing once he was certain, many times over, that he hadn't been followed. When he came in, he looked for Chickpea, then blinked as the boys came toward him. He backed up until he realized they weren't going to attack him and then they all began talking at once. *

"Hey, that was amazing" "I heard you tripped the Watch when he passed later" "Is that your dog?' "I got some cherries, I haven't had cherries. Ever!" "Smooth move, Scales." "Glad you were up there with us, Scales." "Can you introduce me to those women, Scales?" And on and on, all tripping and tumbling each other with their words until one booming voice bellowed out...."Armistice!" The lads broke away from Brendan and formed their lines, prepared to offer their day's earnings. With the lines dividing into three, Cracker looked out over the heads and locked on Brendan. He urged him over with a wave and a point to stand near him while the other two larger boys set up sentry to start collecting the goods.

He was trying to speak out some too, and laughing at the same time. "No, he wasn't my dog. I didn't get near the Watch. Absolutely no meeting those women yet. And I didn't do half those things." He didn't know if they heard him or not but let out a sigh of relief when Cracker yelled out. He gave the man a slightly sheepish smile as he joined him. Watching the boys, he realized they really did work hard, not just to get food, but to make Cracker take notice. He could understand. *

Cracker didn't say anything to Brendan but began with his commendations. Having a Counter once again seemed to pay off. Seemed as if the boys wanted to impress Scales as much as they wished to appease Cracker. From what Cracker saw dropping into the piles, there would be little that was discarded this night. Chickpea stepped up in the middle line and tossed his broach to the stack. "Thanks, Scales." He added, shifted his gaze to Cracker and when the man motioned him on with his pointed chin, the young lad took off with a grin. The next boys stepped up and Cracker applauded their attempts with the promise of sugar cookies. "You know, Scales." He watched those boys leave and the next step up, congratulating them on a job well done and offering the same reward. Those stepped away. "It's not your responsibility to protect them up there, only to count them." A nod, words of praise for the next three, and when they skittered away all happy with their upcoming treats Cracker continued. "I appreciate it though." Nothing else would be said to the young man by his side, his attention fully on the ragamuffin horde he controlled.

Brendan just grinned at the boy and nodded then he looked at Cracker for a moment. He looked back at the boys before he answered. "I know but some of those men are bastards. Didn't know the one that caught him but didn't want to take the chance." Maybe he was remembering Leonard but his eyes became distant for just a moment before he focused on the task at hand.

Once all the goods were dispersed, Cracker dismissed the lads on to enjoy their sugar cookies and indicated that Brendan should join him once again in the back room. Brendan's meal was waiting for him there and Cracker's appreciation for his deed up top was evidenced in the choice of prime pickings provided for the young man. That, and a glass of wine and a rather large slice of pecan pie.

He followed after Cracker, though he stepped up beside him once they were in the hall. The sight of the meal surprised him and he looked at Cracker, then rolled his eyes when his stomach growled. He had forgotten to eat earlier and it was catching up to him. He gave Cracker a shrug of his shoulders before he sat down to enjoy the meal. He'd answer question too if Cracker had any.

Cracker didn't have any questions. He started shifting through the piles of gold, silk, and expensive lovelies on his wide table. The other two boys were dismissed to go enjoy their meals and just he and Brendan remained behind that opened door. Cracker held up a pair of rather nice boots. He wasn't really sure how these were gained, but the leather was of the best quality and it looked as if they were rarely if ever worn. He set those beside his chair. Hopefully they'd be the right size. Next he brought up a gold belt buckle, the center formed in the shape of a Raven. He whistled out his approval tipping it so Brendan could see and then placed it on the stack closest to the Counter.

He concentrated on his meal at first, but looked up to watch Cracker. The boots caught his notice first. They looked damn familiar. But that buckle... he knew that buckle! It had been his, and was left behind on the Whore when he 'died'. He put down his fork and stared at it. "That's really... something, isn't it?" He barely kept the emotion from his voice. Did that mean the Whore had docked? There wouldn't be any reason for his father to keep any mementos so he wasn't really surprised but if the Whore was here, he'd have to be doubly cautious. "Real good work." His heart was pounding so hard that he was sure Cracker would hear it. "Some of the jewelry will bring good prices too, aye?"

Cracker didn't seem to notice the young man's change of emotion, he just continued to rifle through the spoils. "Some of the finest I've seen these past thirty years, Lad." Without even seeming to slow his pace, he retrieved the buckle and tossed it Brendan's way. "If that piece isn't your favorite, pick something else. After what you did up top, you deserve more than pecan pie. One piece, mind you. The rest you'll be counting and recording." He still didn't look Brendan's way, but a motion of that sharp chin indicated the ledger, ink jar and quill. "And the sooner you start, the sooner you'll find your cot. With this fine stash, you may be at it for quite some time."

Brendan was startled but he caught the piece and nodded his thanks, a grin appearing again. He studied the buckle a moment before slipping it away. "It is a fine piece." Finishing up the last of his meal quickly, he cleaned the dishes out of the way and started to work. He had a feeling he'd be going with very little sleep this morning. He was also trying to remember who had put a buckle down on the pile. If he could, he might be able to find where the lad had gotten it. And if the Whore was in port, he'd either have to fess up, or he have to make sure he wasn't seen.

Between the two of them, Cracker and Scales, the booty was all accounted for, with the monies expected for the plunder neatly tabulated to a grand sum at the bottom of the final page. Cracker sat back, rubbing his boney knuckles against his eye, squinting at Scales through the other one. "You keep this up, Lad, and you'll be difficult to replace when you turn eighteen." A twitch of his lip and he leaned over to tie up the bags filled with their plunder. "Get you some sleep, you have an hour or two left to it." Cracker moved with difficulty, so long seated on a knobby arse on a hard, wooden chair didn't make for the most nimble of activity following. Once standing, he shook out one long, lean leg and then the other, pressing the protuberance of fingertips into his lower back as he leaned backwards in a stretch. "See you at sunset, Scales."

Brendan was nearly seeing double, but everything was taken care of and he had managed not to splotch the ink at any time. He stood as well, and covered his hand with his hand, then grinned at Cracker, not saying a word about the age. "Aye, sir. Sunrise." The gunner answered and stretched as he left the room. He might snoop around the docks once he woke up and see what he could find out. It could be the items were just sold off on another island, then found their way here. He was too tired to think more about it. Two hours wasn't as good as a solid eight but he'd manage just fine until the evening. No drinking today though or he'd never make it! That was his last thought before he fell asleep.

Date: 08-20-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 17

It was a rare that Brendan took a day to himself. Between working for Cracker, making sure the innkeeper and his wife knew he was safe, and keeping an eye out for any seafaring problems, he rarely had a chance to relax. Cracker had insisted he take the day off for the work done the previous two days and nights. He made a trip to the Inn to put the buckle away and told Stanley and his wife that if anyone ever came to retrieve Brendan's possessions, if it was truly from him, they would tell him the word Daisy. He had given Elspeth, Stanley's wife, a bouquet of daisies from the flower seller and it seemed a perfect idea. Madame Elspeth then suggested Brendan try surf fishing and the gunner decided that was a grand idea. Likely he wouldn't catch a thing, but at least he'd forget he was stuck on this island city until he could find a ride home. He didn't think about it though as he made his way out of the city, to an area just outside where he could watch ships sailing in and out but not deal with people. He did stop for a moment and watch a ship sailing out of the bay, wondering where Rosa was now and how she was faring.

He had been fishing for what was probably just an hour when he saw something out in the water. Squinting against the bright sunlight, he was certain it was a person. They disappeared, only to reappear a little closer. The gunner was a strong swimmer but he was concerned about the rip tides that could drag even a strong swimmer out to sea. Still, he couldn't let someone drown though they weren't yelling out. Brendan tossed the rod aside, slipped off his boots and socks, and pulled off his shirt then dived into the water.

He was a good distance from the shore and making for a large rock in the water when he spotted the blonde head near that same rock. Once he climbed up, he looked around. "Hello! Do you need help?!" He moved in a circle, studying the water when he heard a soft giggle and an answering hello. Looking down at the water, he found himself looking into a pair of soft green eyes. They belonged to a lass who was resting her arms on the rock. Her chin rested where her arms crossed. "You're not in trouble, are you?" He chuckled as he squatted down.

"No." She shook her head and he realized she was wearing a seashell in her hair and nothing else.

There was movement in the water and a tail flicked in and out of the waves. Brendan was so startled, he sat down, his eyes wide. She giggled again, and this time that tail sent water splashing on the gunner. He started to laugh, then looked at her face again. "You... you're a mermaid?"

"I am. I am called Melusina. What is your name, man?" Her voice was lyrical, enticing and Brendan suddenly became wary. "You were going to save me, weren't you? That's very sweet."

"Brendan. You have a very lovely name." He brought up one knee, draping his arm over it. "Aye, silly me. I thought you were in trouble." He braced his other hand to the side and back of himself, as a prop and watched her for a moment until another splash caught his attention. He caught what seemed to be another tail and nearly tumbled back into the ocean when a dolphin came up beside the mermaid and sprayed him with water through it's blowhole. "Hey!"

Melusina giggled softly. "That means he likes you and wants to play." She informed the gunner.

"Afraid I can't swim quite as fast as he does." He reached out to touch the smooth, cool skin of the mammal who chittered at him. "Can you understand him?"

"Uh huh." She nodded as she watched Brendan then pushed herself up out of the water. She wore what seemed to be pale blue silk loosely around her upper body, though it clung to her skin in ways that were quite revealing. "You have very blue eyes. Like the ocean when sunlight shines down through it. Are you evil, Brendan?"

"I... I don't know if I am or not." He answered honestly as he did his best to keep his eyes on Melusina's face. She smelled fresh and clean and she was staring into his eyes. He leaned back slightly, resisting the urge to touch her face and watched as she seemed to look into his soul. He feared what she might find there but she smiled.

"Are you afraid of me, Brendan?" She asked though the smile was replaced with a pout. "The stories are not true, you know. We do not cause ships to wreck though we have helped shipwrecked sailors to shore. We are not bad luck either. Evil men fear us because we do not fear them. We do have souls and are not evil. The very first of us were created from sunlight sparkles on clear blue water."

"No, no. I'm not afraid. I just ... this is just... odd. Not in a bad way!" He added quickly and smiled. "I've never talked to a mermaid before." Or felt a stirring over one. He took a deep breath and added, "It must be amazing to swim through the water." The dolphin chattered and slid back into the water.

Melusina looked in the direction where the dolphin had disappeared then looked back to the gunner. "You are not afraid of me, but will you trust me, Brendan?" She asked and before he could answer, she placed a hand to the side of his face and her lips against his mouth. Brendan stiffened, then leaned forward and pressed his lips against her. He wasn't dead after all, and a pretty girl kissing him, even one with a fish tail got a reaction. Her lips were soft and surprisingly warm. When she pulled away, he sighed and slowly opened his eyes. And let out a loud yelp, right before he lifted .... a tail?

"What? How?" He stared at his tail, then at Melusina who had slipped down into the water.

"Come." She offered her hand. "We only have until sunset and then you must be human again. Do not worry about your possessions. He will watch them." A brown pelican flew overhead then landed beside Brendan's boots.

Brendan hesitated but then reached for her hand, sliding into the water. She pulled him under and he held his breath until she tickled his side. When he laughed, water rushed into his mouth but he didn't choke or gag. The dolphin came over and nudged him and Melusina placed the hand she held on the dolphin's fin. She placed her hand over his, and the dolphin took off, gliding through the water at breakneck speed.

For the next few hours, Brendan felt freer then he ever had before. It wasn't long before he was swimming through the waves on his own, chasing after the dolphin and Melusina. They explored a Spanish ship and he found a bracelet of glittering diamonds that he place around the mermaid's wrist. They went through coral caves and into reefs, hid from a killer whale and a shark until the dolphin and some others chased it away. And she drew him into a kelp forest where the water sparkled from the sun and there she kissed him again, but it brought a different kind of magic. They whiled away a few hours hidden away, before they left the kelp forest, exploring a world that would Brendan would likely never see again. She finally took his hand and led him back to the rock where they had met and they watched the sun sink. When the last rays touched the water, Melusina kissed him again. "You never need fear drowning, Brendan." She whispered just as her lips touched his.

Brendan whispered her name as his lips touched hers and was answered with a loud squawk! He opened his eyes, blinking and moved his arm from his eyes. Apparently he had covered them when he had fallen asleep. The sun was starting to sink and there was a rather large pelican staring at him from a nearby rock. As he sat up, the bird took flight. "Lovely. It was a dream." Well, what had he expected? A mermaid? He snorted then realized he was clenching something in his hand. When he uncurled his fingers, he found he held a Spanish doubloon , a large pearl and a shimmering scale. Mouth open, the gunner stared at them then looked out over the ocean. Was that a flicker of a tail? A dolphin jumped from the water as Brendan watched. He waved, laughing at himself, then with a sigh, he pulled on his socks, then his boots and finally his shirt. He must have slept the day away. Picking up the rod, he reached for the bait bucket then the larger one and found it was filled to the brim with bass, perch and rockfish. It would take some time to get it back to the town but there'd be fresh fish for supper tonight at both the inn and the Box.

With another glance at the ocean, he started back along the road to Tortuga, catching a ride on a wagon from an obliging farmer. What he didn't see was a slim figure lifting herself from the ocean on the rock to watch him disappear, one hand resting on her stomach where blue silk clung to wet skin. A kiss was blown, a splashed followed and all that remained were the sounds of seabirds as they sought shelter for the night and the splashing of waves against the shore.

Date: 09-02-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 18

Late Summer in the Caribbean brought storms that swept in from the Atlantic. Some brought rain that fell in heavy sheets while others turned into hurricanes, bringing destruction in their paths.

Two weeks, or maybe it was three, after Brendan had been 'interrogated' by Marcus DeHaven, he was near the docks watching the gulls. The boys had finished their rounds, and he was wasting time until the next. The air had a strange feel to it, heavy with moisture, nearly snapping with energy. The gulls wheeled and circled in the air, their screams more shrill then usual. Brendan looked away and out toward the ocean. The sky was blue until the horizon and then it was gray with heavy clouds.

"Storm bae comin'." A voice beside him made the young man jump. The man standing there was one most folks considered crazy. The man was old, with a head of white hair and a bristly beard. He had one good eye, the right, blue as the sky above. His left was pale, clouded and seemed always to be looking to the side. Most of the time he squinted but today both eyes were open. Rumor had it that when he was staring as he was now, and the clouded eye was forward, he was seeing the future. "Nae sae bad as some." He turned to look at Brendan, and the former gunner noticed a scar running from his forehead to his cheek. He held out a hand to Brendan. "Name bae Scrapps. Don' use me firs' name."

Brendan studied the man a moment before taking Scrapps' hand. "Brendan." The old man stared for a long time, not releasing the boy's hand until Brendan started to become uncomfortable. "Storms bae followin' yae, lad. Storms bae followin' yae fer a lon' time." When he released Brendan's hand, he reached for a flask in his pocket. After taking a drink, he offered the flask to Brendan who shook his head. "Yae bes' bae seekin' shelter, few more hours an' th' day bae bringin' th' rain, wind." Scrapps stood and wandered off again, leaving Brendan staring after him until the old man disappeared into the crowd.

Looking down at his hand, he discovered Scrapps had left a coin in his palm. He curled his fingers around it and stuck it into a pocket in his vest then hopped off the barrel where he had been sitting. It was time to move into the crowd. The boys began another round of passing by him, and occasionally he heard a shout when someone discovered something missing. One of the militia nodded Brendan's way with a slight smile while another glared at the gunner. Brendan just grinned at them both before moving off toward the Inn. He found Stanley and his oldest son seeing to the shutters and gave them a hand before he headed off again. It hadn't taken long and he had managed to charm a bit of lunch from Madame Elspeth before he was in a place that the Crumbs could find him. After that round, he started for another section of the docks.

He glanced at the sky, surprised to find the clouds were much closer. You could almost see the rain, the waves were capped with white and the wind had picked up. He gave a hand to a few of the shopkeepers, helping them to close stubborn shutters, or move goods inside for a few coins. It helped his reputation and if any of the militia saw him, they'd might leave him alone since he seemed to be seeking work. The docks were still crowded with people in spite of the threat looming. A few of the ships had made preparations, some rolling up sails and lowering others. Some were taking advantage of the winds to leave the port and sail ahead of the storm. The dock workers were heading for the nearest tavern and a few of them greeted Brendan, telling him to join them when he was through.

Brendan had finished moving the last of the crates for a bakery, and was wiping his brow when the first fat raindrop splatting against his arm.. He stepped back into the doorway, watching as some of the crowd scattered or taking shelter under overhangs or in doorways. Others ignored the downpour, hunching down in a fruitless effort to avoid the inevitable soaking. He saw the Crumbs passing again, some playing in the rain, some cursing it under their breath. The baker offered him a sweet bun and tea and the Counter took it gratefully. He finally moved away from the doorway, squinting as the rain soaked him in a matter a minutes, water streaming down his face, plastering his hair to his head. He stopped under an overhang where Mudlouse had taken shelter, bending down to check his boot.

"Heading back," the boy muttered. "All the marks gone." The best ones would have headed back to their homes, their rooms, or taverns. Brendan stood and headed out into the rain again a few minutes after the boy darted off. He found another overhang and watched as each boy passed in one direction or another, giving him a sign they were heading back to the Box. "How long you think the rain will last?" He asked one of the men standing with him. Brendan recognized him as a sailor from a ship that had made port a week ago for repairs. The man looked at the sky, then at Brendan. "Couple days. Rain shou' slow by t'morrow night." Conversation ceased with a crack of thunder. He saw Chickpea jump, yelp, and forgetting the sign, take off at a run, causing several of the men to chuckle, including himself.

When the the last one passed, Brendan headed for the tavern where his former co-workers had gone. After two drinks, he headed out into the rain again. He spotted one of the militia leaning against a wall, and when Brendan walked passed, the man stepped out into the rain and followed. Brendan stopped to speak to one of the lasses who sold flowers and the soldier stopped as well. The man had made it clear he didn't like Brendan from the time he first saw him but why would he follow him? Brendan shrugged and headed for The Dancing Lady. Madame Elspeth immediately began fussing over him as he stepped inside. He heard the door open and close behind him but didn't bother looking around. He knew who was there. William handed him a shot of brandy, leaning slightly. "Soldier boy," he whispered and Brendan smiled.

"Guess he likes me." Brendan chuckled, causing William to laugh loudly. By then, Elspeth returned with a blanket, followed by one of his daughters and a bowl of hot stew. After Brendan ate, he bid them all good night and headed up to his room. He changed into dry clothes, leaving his clothes laying in front of the fire until he heard a knock on the door. It was the youngest boy who told him that the soldier had left and gone back to the barracks. He thanked the soak boy then headed downstairs again. William ushered him out the back and Brendan found himself soaked again. He wandered back to the warehouse district, helping a dog move her pups into the abandoned warehouse near the hidden door. Once she was settled with her pups in a box on top of a worn blanket, he moved over to a window. He'd watch for a while then head into the safety and warmth of the Box. It would be an evening of the usual camaraderie among the boys, seeing to what they had collected, a meal, one that Brendan would skip, and sleep. Tomorrow they'd be out in the rain, starting the cycle again.

Date: 09-02-12
Poster: Regan Callihan
Post # 19


Bridgeport on the island of Barbados was like many towns in the Caribbean. Crowded with citizens, slaves and visitors, colorful and lively. But among the ports, it was one of the safest. Pirates were welcome as long as they lowered the Jolly Roger, and raised the flag of a country, as long as it wasn't one the English were at war with. The militia put up with very little nonsense, even at the port and many found themselves enjoying the 'hospitality' of their jails for a night or two if they became too rowdy. It was a perfect place for ships like the Dream to port and for their Captains to do business.

Regan had business with one Andot St.Germaine, a French Captain who was well known for his somewhat lazy demeanor. He was however, a good source of income and gossip, and Regan had worked with him before. After enjoying brunch with her crew, she and Jordan Francis had left the Dream. Jordan was acting as her bodyguard today, though there were a few sailors keeping an eye on them from a descreet distance. While the two were walking, a familiar face appeared in the crowd and Marcus DeHaven made his way over to the two. With Regan meeting St. Germaine soon, and Marcus leaving the port, they only had time for a quick drink. Jordan went on to tend to an errand, meeting Regan a half hour later. They proceeded to St. Germaine's villa after Marcus bade them farewell.

St. Germaine was loyal to his country but he had not returned to France in many years. There were rumors of course, the most popular involving an argument and duel with a member of the Court. St. Germaine never denied or confirmed the rumors, merely ignored them. He was waiting for the two on the veranda of his lovely home. A cooling breeze blew over Regan as she and Jordan joined the man. While Jordan tended to the paper work, the two Captains talked.

"DeHaven spoke to you concerting BlackBeard?" St. Germaine finally asked as he refreshed his tea. He offered to do the same for Regan and Jordan but both politely refused. When Regan answered his question with a yes, the portly Frenchman nodded. "And of course, here you are. You are a brave young woman, mon ami. You are being very careful, oui?"

"I am." Regan smiled slightly. "Thank you for your concern but I have no intentions of playing cat and mouse with Blackbeard or any of the Trinity. I've heard they've been spotted."

"They have." He smiled at her and set his cup down. "I was there when DeHaven confronted BlackBeard. I have never seen DeHaven so angry, though most would find it hard to tell. We are all concerned, for the most part. But, you must be careful not only of them. Do not trust Captain Henri Beauclerc of the ship, Églantine
, or Captain James Leatherby, of the ship Ascension. They will sell you out to save themselves, Captain, should BlackBeard approach them as he did DeHaven."

"I'll be careful." She smiled slightly. "My crew is very diligent when it comes to spotting any pirate but those three especially."

"Good, good." If St. Germaine had more concerns, he kept them to himself and they finished the business well before the afternoon was over. After leaving there, Jordan spoke to Regan of his own concerns.

"I know the Dream is fast, Regan. And you've a good crew but this crystal worries me."

"Don't worry. I have a good feeling about this." She answered as she stepped around a cart.

Jordan laughed, shaking his head. "That worries me too."

Regan stopped and looked at the Steward, grinning. "Really? Well, you'll all will have to trust me, aye? After I see to that hidden island, we'll make a few more trips, then look into a few more deals." Her smile softened. "And I'll talk to the crew. Let them decide where to go for our last port before we head back to Heathfield."

"So early?" Jordan was surprised when Regan nodded.

"Aye, I've promises to keep back home, but we'll not stay in port the whole time. Deals to make there as well." She linked her arm through Jordan's as they started to walk again. "Besides, my friend, I do hate a bored crew."

Date: 09-03-12
Poster:  Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 20

Late Summer in the Caribbean brought storms that swept in from the Atlantic. Some brought rain that fell in heavy sheets while others turned into hurricanes, bringing destruction in their paths.

Two weeks, or maybe it was three, after Brendan had been 'interrogated' by Marcus DeHaven, he was near the docks watching the gulls. The boys had finished their rounds, and he was wasting time until the next. The air had a strange feel to it, heavy with moisture, nearly snapping with energy. The gulls wheeled and circled in the air, their screams more shrill then usual. Brendan looked away and out toward the ocean. The sky was blue until the horizon and then it was gray with heavy clouds.

"Storm bae comin'." A voice beside him made the young man jump. The man standing there was one most folks considered crazy. The man was old, with a head of white hair and a bristly beard. He had one good eye, the right, blue as the sky above. His left was pale, clouded and seemed always to be looking to the side. Most of the time he squinted but today both eyes were open. Rumor had it that when he was staring as he was now, and the clouded eye was forward, he was seeing the future. "Nae sae bad as some." He turned to look at Brendan, and the former gunner noticed a scar running from his forehead to his cheek. He held out a hand to Brendan. "Name bae Scrapps. Don' use me firs' name."

Brendan studied the man a moment before taking Scrapps' hand. "Brendan." The old man stared for a long time, not releasing the boy's hand until Brendan started to become uncomfortable. "Storms bae followin' yae, lad. Storms bae followin' yae fer a lon' time." When he released Brendan's hand, he reached for a flask in his pocket. After taking a drink, he offered the flask to Brendan who shook his head. "Yae bes' bae seekin' shelter, few more hours an' th' day bae bringin' th' rain, wind." Scrapps stood and wandered off again, leaving Brendan staring after him until the old man disappeared into the crowd.

Looking down at his hand, he discovered Scrapps had left a coin in his palm. He curled his fingers around it and stuck it into a pocket in his vest then hopped off the barrel where he had been sitting. It was time to move into the crowd. The boys began another round of passing by him, and occasionally he heard a shout when someone discovered something missing. One of the militia nodded Brendan's way with a slight smile while another glared at the gunner. Brendan just grinned at them both before moving off toward the Inn. He found Stanley and his oldest son seeing to the shutters and gave them a hand before he headed off again. It hadn't taken long and he had managed to charm a bit of lunch from Madame Elspeth before he was in a place that the Crumbs could find him. After that round, he started for another section of the docks.

He glanced at the sky, surprised to find the clouds were much closer. You could almost see the rain, the waves were capped with white and the wind had picked up. He gave a hand to a few of the shopkeepers, helping them to close stubborn shutters, or move goods inside for a few coins. It helped his reputation and if any of the militia saw him, they'd might leave him alone since he seemed to be seeking work. The docks were still crowded with people in spite of the threat looming. A few of the ships had made preparations, some rolling up sails and lowering others. Some were taking advantage of the winds to leave the port and sail ahead of the storm. The dock workers were heading for the nearest tavern and a few of them greeted Brendan, telling him to join them when he was through.

Brendan had finished moving the last of the crates for a bakery, and was wiping his brow when the first fat raindrop splatting against his arm.. He stepped back into the doorway, watching as some of the crowd scattered or taking shelter under overhangs or in doorways. Others ignored the downpour, hunching down in a fruitless effort to avoid the inevitable soaking. He saw the Crumbs passing again, some playing in the rain, some cursing it under their breath. The baker offered him a sweet bun and tea and the Counter took it gratefully. He finally moved away from the doorway, squinting as the rain soaked him in a matter a minutes, water streaming down his face, plastering his hair to his head. He stopped under an overhang where Mudlouse had taken shelter, bending down to check his boot.

"Heading back," the boy muttered. "All the marks gone." The best ones would have headed back to their homes, their rooms, or taverns. Brendan stood and headed out into the rain again a few minutes after the boy darted off. He found another overhang and watched as each boy passed in one direction or another, giving him a sign they were heading back to the Box. "How long you think the rain will last?" He asked one of the men standing with him. Brendan recognized him as a sailor from a ship that had made port a week ago for repairs. The man looked at the sky, then at Brendan. "Couple days. Rain shou' slow by t'morrow night." Conversation ceased with a crack of thunder. He saw Chickpea jump, yelp, and forgetting the sign, take off at a run, causing several of the men to chuckle, including himself.

When the the last one passed, Brendan headed for the tavern where his former co-workers had gone. After two drinks, he headed out into the rain again. He spotted one of the militia leaning against a wall, and when Brendan walked passed, the man stepped out into the rain and followed. Brendan stopped to speak to one of the lasses who sold flowers and the soldier stopped as well. The man had made it clear he didn't like Brendan from the time he first saw him but why would he follow him? Brendan shrugged and headed for The Dancing Lady. Madame Elspeth immediately began fussing over him as he stepped inside. He heard the door open and close behind him but didn't bother looking around. He knew who was there. Stanley handed him a shot of brandy, leaning slightly. "Soldier boy," he whispered and Brendan smiled.

"Guess he likes me." Brendan chuckled, causing Stanley to laugh loudly. By then, Elspeth returned with a blanket, followed by one of his daughters and a bowl of hot stew. After Brendan ate, he bid them all good night and headed up to his room. He changed into dry clothes, leaving his clothes laying in front of the fire until he heard a knock on the door. It was the youngest boy who told him that the soldier had left and gone back to the barracks. He thanked the soaked lad then headed downstairs again. Stanley ushered him out the back and Brendan soon found himself soaked again. He wandered back to the warehouse district, helping a dog move her pups into the abandoned warehouse near the hidden door. Once she was settled with her pups in a box on top of a worn blanket, he moved over to a window. He'd watch for a while then head into the safety and warmth of the Box. It would be an evening of the usual camaraderie among the boys, seeing to what they had collected, a meal, one that Brendan would skip, and sleep. Tomorrow they'd be out in the rain, starting the cycle again.

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