raphalj-mine: I let to guess how we had to tie up the sails… By hand!
raphalj-mine: I let to guess how we had to tie up the sails… By hand!
Click on the photo to read the whole story about the sailing master’s adventure into the wild!
Olivier took his map, copied from the Admiral’s in one moment a few months ago when he still trusted his then captain. It was more detailed than any other of this area he had ever seen, but still the inside of the island wasn’t charted too much. There was a lake somewhere not too far away, though. This was the most important mark.
He also took his sword and his dagger – an all purpose one from the previous war. Of course, if asked he would say it was taken as war prize from a Spanish ship… but it wasn’t exactly the truth.
A fellow Provensal had laughed at him:
”You don’t want to duel with the food, do you?”
“Assuming I want to?” he answered.
Why wouldn’t he take his, when the Commander had one and nobody questioned him?
The sailors and marines had got the boat ready. Olivier didn’t care much for the coming Brits. He could talk to their sailing master later, if the man was as sociable as he remembered him from Isle de la Gonave. Now, the exploration of the unknown land was calling him…
…Yes, and the commander’s company. He smiled at the man’s confidence that they would be back in a few hours. He had the responsibility for them not to get lost, and to be brought back to the ship in safety. A fleeting thought crossed his mind that he wouldn’t have minded too much losing the marines commander into the wild. But another one answered him: ”So what? Couldn’t you see that she likes him? If you are breaking her heart with this… how will you keep living knowing this? And if it isn’t him… there would be another, some day. Of course there would. Could you, fool, have ever had any hope to her favours?”
He knew the answer. He never doubted about it, never made any impossible dreams. He was realistic.
“No, ma belle Helene,” he thought, ”I’ll take good care of your suitor and I’ll bring him back to you safely – for your sake!”
He wanted her happiness, more than anything else.
“It is a long name, indeed, but a very dignified one. He’ll grow into it!” Why, with a name like that one would almost think his father was the admiral or something….
And Esther gulped. She knew Celestine knew Lucia pretty well, therefore she might have an idea…. The admiral! The poor little girl, no wonder….
Esther knew now wasn’t the time to discuss it, but she would like to find out what Celestine knew concerning this incident. And whenever Esther De Garmeaux wanted to find out something, sooner or later, she usually did.
begrudge the midwife a penny; Celestine was glad to help, and that mother and baby were both well. Too many were lost for want of help when it was needed. The basement of the church was hardly an ideal place, but better than giving birth in a shed or a field, as many did. “It is a good name, Lucia. I am sure he will grow in to it.” Using the last bit of water to clean her hands, she tried to dry them on her still-damp dress before moving to sit at the young mothers side. She pressed a cool palm to the Lucia’s sweat-soaked brow, watching as the midwife made her departure.
She wondered if Madame Garmeaux had noticed how healthy the boy was, for being ‘premature’. No matter. Lucia’s Admiral had given her a living and a name…not his name, but a good name none the less, the name of a grand blanc from the continent, which was more than some could or would do. A name could make all the difference. One could be forgiven a shade of tawny or two in the West Indies if they had the right patron and the right name. Lucia had come out fortunate so far. Celestine knew that the fragile girl loved the man who kept her, and she hoped for Lucia’s sake his interest would last. From what she understood, he was young and unmarried, from a good family, and his career was swiftly on the rise. Such a man would not likely live out the rest of his days in this little corner of the world.
But now was not the time for such thoughts.
“His father will be very proud. You must try to rest p’tite. I think the storm is almost over. Listen to the wind…it’s not howling any longer. And see? We are all safe. God has watched over us today.”
Click on the photo to read the story of the baby born in a church… The quotes above belong to Joelle and Alicia.
Meet the Russian Fyodor Alkayev, arrived by a twist of fate in the British Navy as the sailor Theodore Andrews. He has Oleg Menshikov as a playby and he is written by MJ.
This is his bio: http://z7.invisionfree.com/BeforeTheMast/index.php?showtopic=3063
If you like what you are seeing, join us! He needs friends, enemies, crewmates…
The post below belongs to Secar:
Christophe and Hélène, arm in arm, walked up to Marie and Christine, as Christophe suggested to walk up front when they were about to head for the inland. Ofcourse, it would be terrible if they encountered strange animals or slippery grounds when one of the ladies was walking up front. He couldn’t allow it.
He looked at Christine and Marie,
‘If you allow me…’, he glanced at Helene, he was walking with her, but he was questioning whether she would walk along with him up front, he corrected himself in a questionable manner towards Helene, ‘I mean, if you allow us…’
Christophe quickly observed the grounds and the vegetation to search for a path that was least adventurous for the heeled ladies. They experienced enough adventure for their noble futures.
They walked past a big tree with, he stopped, making Hélène stop too as she was still around his arm. On the tree in the crevices of the bark, were colorful flowers, orchids.
‘Well look at these beautiful flowers! Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your entire life?’
It was the start of a compliment Christophe was practicing on since he saw the Comtesses admiring the flowers near the beach.
He looked at Helene,
‘No. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’ He was blushing as he wasn’t used to making such compliments, and the surprise he wasn’t stumbling on his words made him fell triumphant.
As he picked the most beautiful flower, yellow with hints of purple with strange but interesting shapes, he spoke to her with a soft voice, ‘It doesn’t reflect your beauty half as much, but still, as a sign of my admiration for you, I offer you this flower’
Do you want to know what mermaid had smitten whom? Click on the photo and read the story!
It had been a long evening and a long night for Chago. The longest feast night in all his life. And not because he had exaggerated with partying – no way. He knew it would have been twice as dangerous, here and now, to do it. Not only because Kingston was not a safe place for him anymore, but also because in his present state of despair, he could have got drunk and said or done things he shouldn’t.
When the Songbird had found him in a tavern, in the evening, he was more hiding behind a mug of ale, and trying to put head to tail all the random information he had received during that afternoon and evening, cleaning it of the malicious misinterpretations of gossipers and hard souls who were defiling the memory of his beloved.
Hermione was dead, her reputation thrashed, her husband had left for England in shame. These were the mere facts. She had died by Chago’s own fault, by his foolhardiness. He had to accept the truth and to live with it for every sunrise that Hermione couldn’t see anymore. He had been the one who had sent her to be executed for high treason, with his dumb actions and words. If he hadn’t met her… if he hadn’t confessed that he was Spanish in a bad moment… if he accepted to die himself instead of sending her to Mr. Harriott… He was the only one to blame, both for her death and for her soiled reputation. They had presented her worse than a harbour whore. And while he knew from her mouth that she hadn’t been a saint, she hadn’t been that way either.
She had cheated a husband whom she had never loved and who had never understood and appreciated her. It was a sin, but one for which she had paid too dearly. She had loved Chago and Chago had loved her; he had understood this a while ago, and this had been the very reason why he was now in Jamaica. He would have wanted to persuade her to run away with him – and maybe she would have done it… but it was too late! A wicked revenge had hit her, and she was dead in shame and torture. She had got his share of tortures too, and he could imagine what more. He knew something about prisons and women who had the misfortune of being arrested. It wasn’t better in any country.
Chago had felt his world go down in crumbles. His already healed torture wounds were hurting again… A physical pain felt without any reason, just to complement his heartbreak’s. Hermione had died because of him! All his fault, only his…
How could he have resisted listening to the news he had asked for, without showing the torment in his soul? How could he feign indifference, be it for a few fleeting minutes, before letting despair invade his whole being? He had, by a superhuman effort, and the mug of ale in front of him couldn’t pass the suffocating knot in his throat. This was exactly how and when the Songbird had found him.
The young mercenary had asked for his help, as he had a job to do here, and it seemed that his mark had run away once. Not that Songbird’s English was too good for this crowd either, and while he could pass as Florentine or something, as he used to when in an enemy territory, it was dangerous right now. Actually, Chago knew better than anybody else about the dangers of pretending he belonged to another country than his own… Not that he had shared the story with the Songbird or with anybody else. This was his story, his problem. A problem which got huge now that he was guilty of Hermione’s death.
He felt her blood dropping from his hands. Hands which hadn’t killed her, but which hadn’t kept the damn enemies from doing it either. Hands which had caressed her, which had held her tenderly, without knowing it had been for the last time, without having any idea that his own recklessness would send her to the noose…
Having to help his brother in arms gave him a purpose, and he desperately needed one right now, at least until the next morning when he’d put the sea between himself and Jamaica. So he accepted immediately, following his friend. It had been an interesting hunt… until Chago realised that the Songbird had a child as a mark, a scrawny street rat of about twelve. That was the moment when Chago had interposed himself between Micah and the child, letting him run away. He had Hermione’s death on his conscience; he had heavy on his conscience the killing of children, women and priests, years ago, during the Guajiro pacifying mission, when he was a young alferez obeying orders. Since then, he had sworn not to kill women and children. He had kept his promise… he wouldn’t break it ever.
This was when his path and his younger friend’s separated again. If Micah disagreed with him and wanted the money his employer had promised him, so be it; he couldn’t interfere and remain alive - but Chago had nothing to do with it.
Once he was alone again, his steps had wandered to the gallows, wanting to see the place she had given her last breath in. Big bonfires were lighted in all squares and places, including there, illuminating them as if it wasn’t in the dead of the night. This was ressembling to Saint John’s midsummer fires, only that now, in the autumn, the purifying fires weren’t received with dances and leaping. At “burning Michaelmas” people were contemplating the sliding into winter and they were praying.
Chago couldn’t pray with them – his heart was overflowing pain and revolt. He looked at the fires, then at the people around. How many of them, the same, had gathered to see his beloved’s execution? There were public affairs, and he had witnessed a few in his life. This was exactly why his imagination could replace well how things must have happened, each thought enraging him more.
Fortunately for him, Hermione’s body wasn’t there on display anymore. Almost three weeks had passed, and other more recent victims of the justice, a pirate crew, were rotting there. There had to be fresh reminders for the crowd not to fall into crime. And who had said that Michaelmas was a holiday of forgiveness? Chago felt ready to quarrel with God, with Saint Michael and with all the saints. Too bad that Hermione didn’t have a saint’s name too! He would have asked that saint where was she sleeping when Her servant, the humble Kingston dweller, had been judged, condemned and executed.
He couldn’t learn even the place where Hermione’s remains had been finally buried, and it ached worse, deep into his heart.
He didn’t know for sure how he reached, through the decreasing crowd who went to sleep after the feast, from the Gallows Place to the Cathedral. Of course it was closed now, dawn was near. But he could see the surroundings where he had been waiting for Hermione in May, in June and even in August. He stood exactly in that place, as if he wanted to feel her shadow close to him. Then, with the trembling light of the first dawn, he descended the steep slope to the secluded place he had brought her to a picnic in May, where they had exchanged their first kiss.
He didn’t pay attention to the fact that it was slippery; if it was his fate to stumble, fall and break his neck, he wouldn’t have minded it. It would have meant only that he would get reunited with her, and it would have been right to die with her, as he was the one guilty of her death. But it wasn’t to be that way; he hadn’t slipped. He sat on that rock, polished by the wind to look almost like a table or stool, where Hermione had been sitting, and he let sweet memories envelop him for a while.
Then, reality sunk in again. He was alone. His beloved was dead. Executed, shamed, buried somewhere he would never know. This place would never be for them again, and he would not return to Jamaica until the time would be ripe for action.
Nobody had seen the mighty, well known mercenary crying before, besides his siblings in his childhood; and nobody would see him cry after that fateful Michaelmas night. But always from then on, when the winds were blowing, or when a woman’s voice in the streets had similar inflexions like Hermione’s, his visible or invisible torture wounds would hurt again and again, reminding him that it didn’t matter he was not a spy; if he hadn’t been executed, somebody else, even more innocent, had paid instead of him: his beloved.
He remembered what he had promised to Commander Benton. He had undertaken not to pay the debt of blood he had been into with the man’s. But what about Hermione’s blood now? This had not been covered by and promise, and it cried for revenge. Commander Benton had been safe if he hadn’t touched his beloved. With this, he had signed his death sentence. Only that he had to think better and better how to do it. He had to keep his oath not to kill anybody in Jamaica as long as Commander Benton was there; Chago was not the man to break his word, but he had to find a way around it – because nothing he had ever said had implied anything else than his own life.
Hermione was there, in his thoughts, in his heart; her shadow would be his faithful companion while he was living with the guilt that she had been killed by his recklessness. And she couldn’t rest in peace, no matter how many novenas Chago would recite for her departed soul, until the man who had tortured her and who had condemned her would be dead. There had to be a way for this to happen, he mused, while the clouds were taking new shapes and the ball of fire appeared at the horizon, reddening the sky.
The sun was dark red, without any bright light, exactly how Chago’s soul was burning of anger and helpless dreams of revenge. His thoughts would circle the facts and the words, attempting to find the missing link between them, until he would find it – and then, no God could have mercy of the cruel Commander!
Both the sun and Chago were climbing slowly, like old men who had been tired by carrying almost a century over their shoulders. The sun had a daily routine, and a world to warm and light; Chago had a ship to catch to Port de Paix, then a smuggler would get him to Havana, and there he would find another ship to Maracaibo. He needed to work, to fight and survive … and some day he’d return knowing what to do. Some day, Hermione’s death would be avenged.
“Before the Mast” is officially 31 months old! Warm thanks to all the crew, to everybody who has made it possible for our writing community to flourish and for the story to get further!
As per the 1-st of March, statistics show that we have 47 male active characters and 25 female. This ratio can be improved with some more males aboard ships, given the focus of our story on adventures at sea! (Some inactive writers being in temporary hiatus, duly announced, had been left in the ship roster and the other lists, while the MIA ones were cleaned; but for the purpose of the statistics, only the writers who have posted in February are counted here. However, if they have posted only with one character out of several they have, all their characters are counted as active.)
Active members: 19
Active characters: 72, out of which:
Pirates = 18
Privateers = 8
English Navy = 11
French Navy = 7
Civilians = 28
The census above and the positions in the ship roster give you a good idea about what ship needs your man the most (taking into account the fact that the English Navy heading includes Army men too, as they were not as many as to require their own group and no other group would fit them, so yes, we still need English Navy men). The civilians are a bit too many, while the ships are waiting for more crew for the adventures they have ahead. Bring your characters to fight for the King and crown… or for their own freedom, and we promise you further action, drama and fun for them!
We warmly welcome the new additions to our crew, Atsadi, a Native pirate, and Elernia, back after a long absence with a new interesting character, a British Navy midshipman. We are also glad for the initiatives of Secar and Mascha to bring us new characters: Katharina Schwarzenberger, Countess von Amorbach, a courtesan in Port de Paix, Antonius van Praag, the new privateer master gunner, and respectively Cristian Lecuyer, the French Navy third lieutenant.
The pirate Atsadi, the midshipman Daniel Becket and the privateer master gunner Antonius van Praag got already involved in the story.
The commanding officers are happy that our writing community has wonderful, supportive members who jump straight in and start making waves right from the minute they get on board.
This month, the French lady Helene de Croismare, played by Secar, has won the spotlight of the month.
A well researched character, portrayed as haughty as her rank requires, even if with some gossip-worthy slips which aren’t really indiscretions (yet), she is written by an enthusiastic writer who has also three other characters, deserved spotlighted for an increased activity lately. Taking into account that the writer’s mother tongue is not English, even more deserved congratulations!
As for thread/ quote spotlight, the French Navy boatswain’s mate Antoine Lemieux , played by M.J., deserves highlighted for the funniest quote in “Between the stars”:
Snickering inwardly but perfectly calmly on the outside, as if this was a move straight out of the book of Etiquette Rules for Young Lords with Broken Appendages, he walked up to her from behind and set the coat gently around her shoulders - setting the right shoulder in place quite regularly with his hand, while with the left side he leaned over her left shoulder carefully to set it in place with his chin.
This phrase is funny, showing well the sarcastic personality of the French Navy sailor, soon to become petty officer.
The site has a new look, thanks to our beloved cartographer Moru, and the rules have been shortened a little, for the benefits of the newcomers, with the help of Yellowbird of RPG-Directory and Bury me with it, who has analyzed thoroughly our site. Yes, having shorter rules and better phrased, while still keeping the essence which strengthens the experience of being a part of our crew “Before the Mast” is beneficial. And having the sidebar links slightly reordered to help the newcomers and the existing members helps too.
A warm appreciation for Caiden of RPG-Directory, who made the graphic for Tavish Brody and Calista Rendon, and for our resident commanding officers involved in graphic making, Moru and Mascha.
Heartfelt thanks to Elijah of USS Enterprise and Ande of Crestwood Academy,who put “Before the Mast’s” link in their signatures for the month of March.
Happy writing and… a March amulet for each of you – namely Owly, our mascot!