Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Starling and Elaine meet Renaud, September 19 2007
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 04:49 PM
Judith was not here for the scenery.
"Everyone knows what an Aquitainean naval officer looks like?" There was much laughter, and only a few blank stares. "Right, for those of you ain't gotten with the g-me yet, they'll be squat, sallow, pock-marked buggers with big ugly ribbons on their fronts. Most of 'em will be wearin' red. If you find yourself in any doubt, ask 'em to bend over. If there's a stick rammed up his arse, you know you've found yourself an officer. Anything else is an enlisted man." She snorted. "We're still on their side, believe it or not; our charter ain't run out yet. So be respectful. And this ain't a free pass; I want everyone who's cuttin' loose back before the town curfew, so none of you has time enough to get pissed except for Mr. Ceallaigh, who's a damn lightweight."
She turned her back as a signal for dismissal, starting her way across the deck. "Anyone seen Pigeon, or whatever he's callin' himself this week?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 04:54 PM
"He's either swiping fruit from the galley or tying all your stockings into bows," Elaine answered cheefully, staying in her captain's shadow, as she wasn't exactly sure what she was meant to do or if she was getting the same leave the men got-- or if she even wanted it after that speech. "Why are we looking out for the officers?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:05 PM
"Because they're on the look-out for us--or will be. I'm hopin' to spare meself a full report first thing, but I'll have to touch in with the local authority since I'm in port. So most of tonight will be spent puttin' the final notes to some manufactured documents detailing all the good work the Red has done defending the Empire against her enemies." She turned slightly to grin at Elaine. "In these waters, we're legal. Now where the hell is Starling?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 05:10 PM
"I already told you," Elaine answered helpfully, scratching at her head. "You want me to go find him? STARLING?!" she shouted in a singsong. "YOU'RE IN TROUBLE!!!!"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:16 PM
The shout brought Starling storming up from down below. "What the hell did I do now?"
He spotted his grandmother belatedly, and froze.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:16 PM
Judith lived for that caught-out look on her grandson's face. "Nothin' that I know of. Yet. I'll go around behind you and see." She tipped her head into her serious posture. "You got your pipes on you?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:18 PM
Starling clutched at the padded pouch on his belt. "Aye, I've got 'em. You know I have 'em. What did I do?"
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:18 PM
"'House Carpenter.' Just a few bars here and there, until someone notices. You're lookin' for a fellow called Corkscrew." She patted his shoulder in what she hoped was reassurance. "Elaine, you want to go with him?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 05:20 PM
Elaine elbowed Starling in the arm. "Nothing. It's just the easiest way to get your attention," she assured him cheerfully, before nodding to the captain. "Yes, Captain," she answered, looking a bit eager. "We're just waiting for this fellow to hear him?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:23 PM
With his hand still over his pipes, as if to protect them, Starling looked at his grandmother with narrow-eyed suspicion. "I thought I wasn't allowed to play 'House Carpenter'."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:23 PM
"You're not allowed to play it anywhere but here," she corrected, before nodding at Elaine. "Aye, just that. Introduce yourselves. He'll probably recognise you, Brammie; you look damn enough like me to be believable. Tell 'im I'm lookin' for the first mate."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 05:26 PM
Elaine looked intrigued. "Is 'House Carpenter' that dirty?" she asked, before eyeing the captain. "Then what? Is there a message? Do we bring him back here?" she asked.
((I has to run home, pick up laundry, then will be back!!))
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:33 PM
"That is the message. Tell 'im I'm looking for the first mate. If you find the first mate hisself, so much the better." She yanked the tip of Starling's ear. "And no drinking. Double for you, Elaine. Both of you back before the curfew bell, Corkscrew or no Corkscrew, so don't wander too far."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 05:33 PM
"It's not even dirty," muttered Starling, in the aggrivated tone that hinted that he knew much, much dirtier songs that he was also not allowed to play. "It's just one stupid song that she doesn't like. Aye, Miss."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 05:59 PM
"I don't drink to begin with!" Elaine pointed out, looking a bit smug, and then she tore off for the gang, leaving Starling in her wake. "RACE YOU!" she squealed, though she didn't say where they were racing to.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:18 PM
Starling reeled out of her path. "Wha--you don't even know where you're GOING!" he shouted, even as he started off after her. He cast his grandmother a bleak look over his shoulder. "You sure you want this thing as a sea-witch? She's like this all the time, you know; she only puts on her manners for you."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:18 PM
Judith cackled. "Go! Off with you! Mind her!"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:18 PM
With Elaine at a good headstart, Starling put on an extra burst of speed, so that by the time he reached her, he was red-faced and winded. "You!" He reached for her shoulder. "What the hell? Where d'you think you're goin', anyways?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 06:23 PM
Elaine grinned at him. "I wasn't so much concerned with where as with winning," she answered happily, her eyes sparkling with exhilaration. "Oh my GOD, Starling, feel that!" She threw her arms out open. "No coats! No boots! No scarves! It actually feels like spring!"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:31 PM
Starling hunched down between his shoulders as his eyes flicked left, flicked right. Behind them he was concocting a plausible story about his half-wit sister who had up until now lived her life locked in a shed. No, better still, a half-wit cousin. Second cousin. Anything to widen the gap. He tried for a grin. "It's all right. What, d'you think everywhere was gonner be like Drunnandannon? It's winter. They have winter where you're from, right?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 06:34 PM
"In France," Elaine answered. "That's usually when I go to stay with Papa, because otherwise, eugh," she groaned, shuddering. "Have you ever been cooped up for two months with a lot of teenaged girls? They don't have it in Africa, or on the Mediterranean. Or they do, but...it means you have to put on a sweater."
She threw her head back to feel the sun on her face. "All right," she said happily. "So. Where are we going?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:40 PM
Starling kept his face entirely straight. "I have never once to anyone's knowledge been locked up for two months with a lot of teenage girls." He tucked his thumbs under his belt. "I spent three months up in Cnoch-na-Niall listenin' to my sister whine all winter, though," he added in sympathy. "She's got to be as bad as at least three or four girls rolled together."
Casting a look around, he shrugged. "It's too dark to go to the shops, I think; they're probably all closed up. Only thing likely to be out is the pubs, and we can't get drunk. Where the hell does she want me to play this thing? Wander around up and down the streets wakin' people?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 06:45 PM
"Sure!" Elaine teased. "At least that way, you'll tell the man you're supposed to find by him being the one who doesn't try to bean you in the head."
She illustrated, by poking the boy in the head. "Pubs might work, we can at least eat something. Or we could try a brothel. His name is Corkscrew."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:52 PM
"Trust my grandmum to know a man named Corkscrew," he mumbled--mostly out of an effort to maintain his cynical image, although his ears pricked up at the idea of food. He turned toward a likely pub, and jabbed at Elaine in self-defence. "Dare you to go around the brothels askin'."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 06:54 PM
Elaine smirked at Starling. "What's the matter, chicken? Your grandmum only told you you couldn't drink," she teased. Then she considered. "So. What do I get if I do?" she asked, hands on her hips.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 06:57 PM
"I don't know. Pierce your ears for you?" He smirked at her. "And buy you the hoops, since I'm feelin' generous and you'll never do it."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 06:58 PM
The girl's grin got bigger, and she rubbed her hands together eagerly. "All right," she replied. "Where's the nearest brothel?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 07:00 PM
"How the hell should I know where the damn brothel is?" He looked annoyed. "I have a prick, not a homing pigeon. Ask somebody. I'm not helpin' you."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 07:04 PM
"Start playing your stupid song and I will," Elaine replied helpfully, looking around. "Anyway, we're not supposed to ask for him by name, are we?" she pointed out with a frown, as she picked a direction-- toward the town center, where there was likely to be a pub, where there was likely to be someone who knew how to find a brothel. "What if no one's supposed to know we're looking for him?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 07:09 PM
"Ooh, d'you hear that?" Starling reached for Elaine's arm, pulling her to a halt as he cocked his ear toward the evening sky. "Sounded almost like someone trying to wriggle out of a bet." Aghast, he looked back at Elaine. "Oh, never mind, you're right here, ain't you?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 07:14 PM
Elaine gave Starling a sharp look. "That was not me wriggling," she answered, rather stern. "Your Grandmama gave very specific orders. That you were to play the song. If she wanted us to just find Corkscrew, she would have asked us to go ask around for Corkscrew, wouldn't she?"
She stuck her tongue out at the boy.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 07:24 PM
In answer, Starling flipped open his pouch and balanced his pipes on the flat of his palm. The other hand made a fist over his breastbone. "Aye-aye, Miss!"
Dropping the salute, he blew across the mouthpiece for pitch, then drew the pipe away from his lips. "I don't even know if I know this stupid song anymore, it's been so long since I played it."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 07:27 PM
Elaine looked impressed. "Well, that's not like you," she said. "I'd think if Judith told you not to play it, you'd do it every chance you got. Come on, can you sing it for me? How's it go?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 07:33 PM
"She gets right odd about some things. Certain places she won't go different times of the year, and that. She got odd about this one." Starling shrugged as if it didn't matter. "And the song's pretty much just something she'd know--the rustin' ship sinks at the end of it." He blew a quick run of notes, then backed away again and cleared his throat, singing quietly: "'I've six ships sailing on the salt, salt sea, a-sailing from dry land, and a hundred and twenty ' . . . no, that's the tune for 'The Two Sisters'. Dammit."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 07:39 PM
Elaine sighed. "Well, it won't do if you don't know the tune, will it?" she asked with a frown. "Should we-- should we go back and ask her, or are we going to have to resort to looking for him in the brothels?"
She scratched her head. "Maybe she knows the ship it's about?" she asked. "I mean, she's been around long enough, that's for sure."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 07:44 PM
"No, dash it all, I know this one, if I can remember the first feckin' line I'll have it--" His brows knotted with concentration. Then he sighed. "Well, we could start headin' toward the brothels, at least, in case I don't remember it. I want to see you do this."
He started off toward the middle of town. Occasionally he would run a series of notes, looking for the missing one, as he went. He gave Elaine an odd look. "D'you think she might? Know the ship it's about, I mean."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 07:49 PM
"That's usually when she gets funny like that, isn't it?" Elaine asked. "When something bad happened that she doesn't want to dredge up. She gets like that about the Alliance and about things from her childhood, too."
And she stuck her tongue out, then. "If you want me to do this at the brothel, you've at least got to teach me some of the words. I'm not going in and asking for his name, but I'll sure go in and sing it," she informed him prettily.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 07:57 PM
"Aye, mostly. When she goes all 'don't do that', and won't tell you why, and you have to take her word on it." He blew three downcast minor notes in quick succession. "Usually she's actually got some reason for it." Another trill rose to a sharp squeak like a girl being pinched. "I think about one-third of the time she means it and the other two-thirds she's tryin' to make herself sound mysterious. Her reputation." He gave an exaggerated sneer and piped out a mocking raspberry.
His eyes sparkled at her. "What, you gonner go in and just sing 'Corkscrew, Corkscrew, my beloved, come home to your wife and three babies?' Top of your head, like that?" His face brightened for an entirely different reason. He picked up the pipes again and picked out a tune, then sang it back to her: "'Well met, well met, my own lheannan-love, well met, well met cried he, I've just returned from the cold salt sea, and all for the love of thee.' That's the rotten first verse."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 08:06 PM
And Elaine clapped. "Excellent!" she answered, her own face brightening as well, and she tried to sing back the verse, getting it...mostly right. "What does lheannan mean?" she asked, as she finished.
And then they neared the town square, and the smells from the open doorways started to make her drool unrepentantly. She wiped her arm on her sleeve. "Oh, god. Let's get pies to take to the brothel."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 08:12 PM
"It means . . . lheannan? Really, I never know what anything means outside of Tuathalli. It just . . . means what it is." He made a groping gesture with his hand, squinting for a translation in the air. "Like sweetheart? Beloved, fancy, something like that."
He burst out laughing at her. "We're takin' snacks? To a brothel?" But his stomach wasn't objecting much either. He made a beeline for the door.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 08:15 PM
"Well, it's not like we're going there for the merchandise," Elaine pointed out, as she started for the counter. "Play the song!" she urged. "You play the song, and I'll buy." She checked her purse to make sure she could keep up her end of things, pulled out a coin, decided it was sufficient, and waved to get the barkeep's attention.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 08:28 PM
He couldn't help but laugh at her enthusiasm--this on the heels of just getting over the first laughing fit. "Lugh'us Dannan, where was this all the last few months? Are you a changeling or something? Is this a set-up?"
But, after a fumbling false start, he took a deep breath and started in from the first verse.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 08:31 PM
Elaine stuck her tongue out. "It's not my fault you always spoiled my mood," she teased, before ordering two pies. She turned, leaning her elbows back against the bar and started to sing-- quite well, actually, but a little bit too much like she'd been trained in a church choir-- along with the boy's pipes. The same verse. Repeatedly.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 08:33 PM
Moving into the fourth go-round, after a few grumbles from the previously rather appreciative audience, Starling set down the pipes. "Right, so, I think we need to move on to learnin' you verse two . . . "
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 08:37 PM
Elaine shrugged and turned around to retrieve their pies, holding one out to Starling. "Well, either way, we know this Corkscrew fellow isn't in this place, or he would have stopped us," she pointed out, heading for the door. "If I know two verses by the time we hit the brothels, that'll be fine. Oh!"
She turned back to the barkeep and explained that it was her brother's birthday, and could he point them to the nearest whorehouse because she had to buy him a present.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 08:47 PM
Starling had a mouthful of pie when Elaine made her announcement to the bartender, and he had to go on chewing during the barkeep's subsequent roar of laughter and set of directions. It took him all the way to getting back to the door before he could swallow and clear his mouth. "A rather stunning return to old form there." He cut her a look. "What the hell was that about?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 08:53 PM
"How else does a sixteen year old girl explain wanting to find a brothel?" she asked. "I don't have enough hair for them to want to hire me."
Now it was her turn to take a bite of pie. "Buying you a whore is much more believable. Don't you want one?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 09:22 PM
"You could've said something other than 'it's my brother's birthday'," he complained around a smaller mouthful of pie. "Like I don't know. You might've said that your mother works there and you're bringing her a moist towel." He swallowed again. "Do I want what, a whore?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 09:27 PM
"No, a birthday," Elaine answered cheerfully, as she started in the direction of the brothel. "Anyway, aren't you supposed to be playing that song?" she asked him, batting her lashes in his direction. "Are you mad about the brother bit? For one, it had to be my brother or they'd ask why I couldn't just do it myself, and secondly, I never said it was you. At least I'm more pleasant than some of your natural relations."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 09:35 PM
"Tuatha don't have birthdays," he said with great dignity. "And anyways you've only ever met one of my natural relations." After a pause, he amended, "Two. And . . . well, there's only three of 'em anyways, so . . . aye, they're pretty much all like that." He rolled his eyes and picked up his pipes again, patting them lightly against the palm of his opposite hand. "You want the next verse of this thing before we get there or not?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 09:39 PM
"'Course I do," Elaine answered, and just to prove it, she slung herself into the first verse again.
Halfway through, she stopped. "What do you mean, no birthdays? You had to've been born, weren't you?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 09:51 PM
Starling waved down to her. "Stop, stop, we know you know the first one, stop." He wrinkled his nose at her. "Everyone where I'm from is born in springtime, so we don't bother. So you might as well just say around Imbolc that you're a year older." He blinked in sudden amusement. "Hell's bells, I'm sixteen. I forgot."
He blew his starting note again. "Ready? 'O I could have married the king's daughter dear, and she would have married me, but I have refused the crown of gold and it's all for the sake of thee.' See, she ended up marrying someone else when he went away to sea, only he talks her into leaving behind her husband and her children and going away with him."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 09:58 PM
"So it is your birthday!" Elaine pointed out, looking quite pleased with herself. "Mine is in...April Ninth. Do you have any idea when April Ninth would be? We haven't passed it yet, have we?"
She frowned. "Well, that doesn't sound like your grandmother, so much," she replied. "But I can see some poor sod giving up a crown for her. She'd just tie his balls in a knot, though, I think."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 10:09 PM
"Your April is about the middle of our year." He looked upward, noting the moon. "It's Ogronios now, we've just passed the full moon, the next festival comin' up is Beltane so . . . about a fortnight? You tallfolk have your seasons all turned around," he complained. "Nah, she's definitely not in it 'til later. 'When up there came a pow'rful wave and washed above the bow, and sank down did that gallant ship to sleep with the bones below.' Which doesn't scan. Bow and below . . . I think they were thinkin' of the other kind of bow."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 10:14 PM
"Oh, so she killed the lovers," Elaine observed approvingly. "Maybe they were wearing hairbows, hmm?" she asked.
She kicked up some dust for the next few paces until they reached what appeared-- from the looks of the building's exterior and the painting of a pretty face with piled-high hair on the signboard to be the brothel. The men loitering outside didn't do anything to detract from the supposition.
She turned back to Starling. "Do we knock or just go in?" she asked. "And oughtn't you keep playing?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 10:21 PM
"Maybe they'll let you in by pure virtue of your good looks." With a sigh and a look that he didn't quite believe he was doing this, he started back in on the next phrase.
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 10:24 PM
Before Starling could quite finished the verse, a filthy, tarry hand shot out, grabbing his wrist and dragging the pipes away from his face. The hand, naturally, was attached to an arm, which dragged Starling nearer to the man's pouchy face, which was trimmed in scraggly greying hair.
"'Allo, laddie," the man leered. "What you doin' then, playin' that song around? You after a penny?" His other hand dove into his pocket and waggled a coin before Starling's nose.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 10:37 PM
"He's after a corkscrew, actually," Elaine put in sweetly. "We've got a bottle of wine and it just won't open. Do you know where we can find one?"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 10:48 PM
"I don't care what you're lookin' for, you're lookin' in the wrong place." He shook Starling's arm fiercely. "You need to be clearin' off, the both of you! This ain't no place for kiddies."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 10:49 PM
"Maybe you didn't hear the lady over the smell of your breath--" Starling tore his arm free of the man's hand. "We are looking for a corkscrew."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 10:58 PM
"Do you know where we can find one?" the girl repeated, more firmly. "A corkscrew? If not, do you know anyone who does like that song?"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 11:05 PM
His piggy eyes travelling over Elaine. "I only knows one person who likes that song and she ain't here, is she?" He suddenly looked nervous. "Is she?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 11:08 PM
"She might be," Elaine answered with a sly smile. "If we knew who you were thinking of. There is a lady in town who wants to see the first mate."
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 11:17 PM
The grungy man puffed himself up officiously. "Well now, poppet. It's like this, see? Maybe the man she wants got hisself promoted up a notch." He paused again, still confused. "Unless we ain't talkin' about the same lady. In which case I don't know what you're on about."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 11:23 PM
Starling let out a deep wrenching groan of frustration. "Paugh! The sea-witch! I'm her grandson, this is her apprentice, we're looking for a man named Corkscrew and she's looking for the first mate! Iron nails, are we gonner go around this all day?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 11:28 PM
"You have no sense of mystery," Elaine informed Starling with a pout. "So?" she asked the man. "What do you think? Can you help with any of that?"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 11:28 PM
The man paled. He jiggled his way back away from the two children. "She's here? Here-here? What's she want with him, then? I thought we was all on friendly terms, y'know--" He gave a ghastly parody of a jolly grin. "Hail fellow well met and that?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 11:34 PM
"She didn't say it was anything bad," Elaine assured the man. "She just told us she wanted to see the first mate. She might want to buyhim a drink; you never really know with her. Did you sleep with her or owe her money?" she asked him nicely. "It's usually one or the other."
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 11:42 PM
Nervously the man wiped the sweat from his mostly-bald top. "I didn't go near her. Don't know about her and the captain, that's their business. I'll pass along you was lookin', miss. Sir." He scetched a bow toward Starling.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 11:46 PM
"Thank you," Elaine said sweetly, curtseying-- like a proper princess-- back at the man.
Then she glanced back at Starling. "I still have my dare to live up to," she informed him sweetly.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 18 2007, 11:49 PM
"See," Starling said in a low voice to Elaine, "that's what I want to be when I grow up. Not a smelly fat bloke, obviously. I want people to start stammering when you mention my name. That is the only reason I am still on this ship. I want to know how she does that." He pulled back a little straighter. "Good neighbour, sir. Now, if you'll excuse us, I have to see my associate fail here."
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 18 2007, 11:50 PM
Unconscious of what he was doing, the man bobbed a small curtsey back at Elaine, holding out the tails of his jacket to mime skirts. "Accorse. By your leave. Neighbours. I'll just . . . be along here tellin' the captain to expect her, yeah?"
And he took off.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 18 2007, 11:58 PM
"It's being the sea-witch," Elaine answered loftily. "I get to do that, not you. Unless you end up being my first mate, or my consort," she told him with a smirk, as she pushed open the door to the brothel and began singing the song over again, in her very pretty, girlish voice.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 12:01 AM
Starling edged in behind her. "Who says the sea-witch can't be a ma--ulp!"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 12:01 AM
Before the door had even closed behind him, a rather largish fellow with a cudgel--and, inexplicably, a beauty mark pasted to his cheek--snatched the boy by the collar and hurled him back outside.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:08 AM
"Hey!" Elaine shouted, and she scowled at the man with the cudgel, reaching back for the door. "He's with me!"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 12:12 AM
"You don't need to be here either, dearie," the man said in a tone that suggested his nose was full of compacted snot. "This is not a house of assignation. You and your boyfriend can take it under the walks like every other young lover in town, there's a good girl. Now run along."
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:19 AM
Meanwhile, on the other side of the door, a hand closed around Starling's collar. "Well, look at that," the Admiral said amusedly. "That little pig-tail of yours is...still barely visible. Are you trying to grow it back?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 12:24 AM
Starling, getting a little sick of his collar being used as a handle, scrabbled back to his balance. "What business is it of yours?" he snapped, shooting a look over his shoulder--before he sucked in his breath and screamed: "GET BACK TO THE SHIP! GO OUT THE BACK! GO!"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:28 AM
"I'm not here to--Oh, God," Elaine muttered, rolling her eyes. "I'm here to win a--What?!" she exclaimed, pushing the door open.
Her face went white. "Hell if I'm leaving you here, you dumb piece of--"
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:29 AM
But the Admiral tossed the boy to the side, his eyes gleaming as he threw an arm around Elaine's waist.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 12:29 AM
Starling stamped a foot, going for the Admiral's instep. "What part of 'get out the back' do you not understand, you ijit!"
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:33 AM
The Admiral sidestepped the boy, trying to move his own foot into Starling's path to trip him.
"Boy, I would advise you to go back to your ship. I just want the girl; no one else."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:36 AM
"How did you expect me to hear everything you were saying through the-- argh!" Elaine growled, gnashing her teeth for a moment. "Starling, he's possessed!" she informed him. "It's that stupid wraith again. Just-- argh!" She bit the man's arm.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 12:46 AM
"If you think I'm gonner let some feckin' wraith with a bad accent just waltz up and snatch my shipmate, you better get yourself a smarter body." He caught his balance using the Admiral's belt and swung in for a groin-punch.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:54 AM
And that set the man off-balance, and he dropped his hold on Elaine as he fell backward with an agonized groan.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 12:55 AM
Elaine shrieked and thumped her fists against the man as she fell forward onto him, and then scrambled to get up. "Run!" she screamed at Starling, as she tripped over herself to run toward the docks.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 01:02 AM
"See!" he shouted as he took off along side her, "now we have a destination to run for!"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 01:07 AM
"Oh, very funny!" Elaine shouted back, panting as she sprinted.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 09:14 AM
Behind them, the Admiral got to his feet, pulling a pistol from his belt.
He pointed it at the running children.
A moment later, a shot rang out.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 09:16 AM
And Elaine fell, face-forward, onto the cobblestones. "OH HOLY CHRIST ALMIGHTY IN HEAVEN!" she screeched.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 02:18 PM
Starling dropped to his knees before remembering the critic advantage of a fire-fight: to wit, so long as your opponent had only one pistol, you still had time between shots. On hands and knees he scrabbled across the cobbles the short distance to Elaine. "Are you hit? Can you still move? Elaine!" He shot a look upward to see where the Admiral was in relation to them. "Help! Guards!"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:23 PM
Elaine winced as she pulled herself up to a half-seated position. "Holy Mother of Mercy," she yowled. "Oh my God, that hurts." She raised her arm to look at the place where blood was fast soaking through her shirt, then looked back over her shoulder to gauge where the Admiral was in relation to them.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:25 PM
The man hadn't attempted to reload, and instead was running after the children, still several meters away, but fast closing the distance.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:27 PM
Elaine pressed her hands against the cobblestones to push herself up. "Owowowowowowowowowow," she seethed as she got back to her feet, wobbling. "I'll be fine; I just don't want him to shoot-- ow-- you. I'm not allergic to the stupid-- ow!"
The color was slowly draining from her face.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 02:30 PM
"Aye, but there's nothin' wrong with your legs." He reached out for her unhurt arm. "Don't bother with the ship; you run to the nearest crowded pub and scream your feckin' head off, what? Come on!"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:39 PM
Elaine decided that the second part of Starling's advice was the most useful and she started shrieking like a banshee. "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!" she screamed, although she didn't look nearly as distressed as she sounded and she grabbed Starling's arm in return and took off for the center of town again.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:40 PM
The Admiral, a few paces behind simply by virtue of his advanced age, raised an eyebrow as the girl started screaming and decided that he could do a little screaming of his own. "STOP! THIEF!"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 02:44 PM
Starling opened up his lungs to override the Admiral. "RAPE! AH GODS, HELP US, THE BASTARD'S GETTING AWAY! RAPE!" And then he had to save his wind for sprinting.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:51 PM
With the distance between them expanding, the Admiral stopped to reload.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 02:52 PM
Elaine looked impressed as she glanced at Starling, but somehow managed to keep up her own steady stream of high-pitched screams for as long as she ran.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 02:59 PM
Starling was only impressed that Elaine managed to scream and keep up that sort of speed. When an open doorway presented itself, he forgot her hurt arm and shoved her through it, then barrelled in behind her. The balli was full of dark-skinned Gali sailors and a few pallid-haired Cecilians--not as many people as Starling would like between them and the Admiral, but enough to cause a scene. "He's after us!" he gasped out, "he shot her! He's still outside!"
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 03:03 PM
And a gunshot fired just as they slipped through the doorway.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 03:06 PM
"Oh my God," Elaine panted, not seeming be able to say much else. "Oh. My. Lord. Jesus."
The side of her shirt and inside of her sleeve were now soaking crimson. "I need a doctor. And a Judith."
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 03:19 PM
At the shot, one of the Gali men stood up quickly, reaching for Elaine. His rattling accent was nearly too thick to be understood. "You come on here, little sister; we get you out of this. Both of you, get out of the way." He shouted over the children's heads to the other men in the room: "'Ey now! Who come armed tonight?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 03:24 PM
It was a shame really, children screaming (and bleeding) spoiled any sort of mood.
One of the men drinking here at the moment was a lankish sort of fella, skin deeply salt-tanned and weathered. The dark hair was pulled back in a severe looking braid, revealing an angular face and slightly protruding ears. Though it was hard to tell with sailors since the sea stole a few years he looked to be past his forties at least. As the cry ran out he half raised a hand, having got to his feet at the first sign of the commotion.
"I come armed every night, but it looks like the mademoiselle needs stitches more than firearms. The girl's bleeding out." The aquitanian accent was still quite thick. It would be a damn fool trying to get at her in here, but despite that his hand slid down to the gun hidden under his voluminous coat.
You never know, there were many fools in the world.
((bear with me, getting into new character is always hard!))
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 03:34 PM
The moment the men around her started to talk, Elaine got a bit overwhelmed, and swooned, nearly falling over into the man who had spoken to her. "I-- I-- if I pass out, I belong to the Red Morning, my name's Elaine Romain, I-- dizzy. Sit."
She managed to stumble her way onto a bench, before the other man's observation registered. "Are you a doctor?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 03:45 PM
"No, I'm not a doctor mademoiselle Romain..." The accent fitted the name for once "... but I have some experienced in getting shot."
And shooting people. It was a handy skill to have. He gave the Gali man a nod, the gun still drawn in case some fool should come charging in guns blazing.
"Sit her down monsieur, she's likely to faint in your arms otherwise, and it's not the time for that right now." He made his way over to the girl, noting the trail of blood. Not good. She was bleeding out and graying fast.
That should teach him to take the night off. Next time he'd just visit the whorehouse down the street instead, that sounded a lot more calming.
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 03:51 PM
The Gali nodded, with smirking deference, to the older man. He settled himself near Elaine, drawing a short knife out of his own sleeve. "No time be modest, little sister, let's see how bad this thing gets. The big man take care of things. Damn, girl, what did you do make someone wanna shoot you?"
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 03:57 PM
"She stole from me," said the Frenchman, as he stepped into the tavern, his gun now returned to his belt. "She took my purse and ran. When I shot her, she dropped it. There's no use harboring criminals; I'll have her taken before a court if necessary."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 03:59 PM
"Oh, go hang yourself," Elaine spat at the man.
She raised her arm to give the man access to her side. "He's a liar. And I'm a sailor; modesty isn't a problem."
She shot Starling a weak smile, then looked at the man with the familiar accent. "How many times?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 04:01 PM
"He's a liar," Starling snapped at once. "he's been following our ship for months. He tried to grab her coming out of a whorehouse. Our captain'll vouch for us."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 04:09 PM
"Four times mademoiselle, it is not an experience I can really recommend." As the stranger had holstered his gun, he did the same, straightening is coat and back both as he did so.
His voice was filled with rather more authority as he addressed the other man, dark eyes trying to judge the truth of what was said. "If she is a thief, I will take her before the proper authorities Monsieur. Unless I have been misinformed, you are not a member of those, are you?" His hand still rested lightly on the butt of the gun, though his manners were amiable enough.
"And thief or not, she's not to be moved at present. La fille pitoyable is bleeding out. A death would mean more paperwork than I would enjoy."
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 04:17 PM
"Pitoyable," the Frenchman answered, "is not the word I would use. "I am not a member of the authorities in this particular port, no, but I do believe I still have the right to make my own accusations, do I not?" he asked, shooting Starling a smirk.
"The only way I would be following your ship, boy," the Frenchman said, "is if you were sailing in the company of pirates. I hope this is not the case?"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 04:17 PM
The Gali grinned at Elaine and, deliberately, moved around so that his back all but concealed the girl from the Admiral. With the knife he unzipped her shirt from waist to shoulder and, without pausing, performed the same operation on the other side. With the two halves of the shirt folded together, he pressed the makeshift bandage hard with the heel of his hand.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 04:19 PM
Elaine gritted her teeth again. "Owowowowowow," she moaned, shutting her eyes tightly. "I'm not going to die, am I?"
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 04:21 PM
"Nah, you not gonna die," he assured her. "You just have a sexy scar." He flashed her a quick grin, then called over his shoulder. "Big man! Tell him put down that gun, he makin' me nervous here!"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 04:22 PM
Starling squared his shoulders, looking stiffly at the Admiral. "We're a chartered ship of Aquitaine reporting to the Serenidad authority."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 04:30 PM
That made the man shoot a questioning glance at Starling. "Under what Commandeur do you sail then garçon?" It was the first time he had taken a closer look at Starling, and as he did he frowned faintly.
But the Galli had a point, and taking a few steps forward he positioned himself between the stranger and the thief.
"If they sail with pirates, they are under my jurisdiction Monsieur. Grand Commandeur Moreau at your service."
To the devil with a quiet drink, the night was ruined already. He might as well see what this was all about.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 04:36 PM
"Then I clearly wasn't following you, then, was I?" the Admiral asked Starling, before raising an eyebrow at the other man. He gave him a respectful nod. "Well, then, Commandeur, I am Admiral Romain of the French Navy, and it is always pleasant to meet a colleague, under any circumstances."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 04:43 PM
Starling seemed caught between winning an ally and potentially bringing down his grandmother's wrath by revealing that she was in port. Also there was always the off chance that this man already knew his grandmother, which could go well or poorly depending on the circumstances of their last meeting.
In the end, it seemed wisest to cooperate with the person who hadn't fired two shots at them in the past several minutes. "Captain ni Dowd, sir. The Red Morning. I think she's got the chart between Serenidad and Capadoccia."
((It cans be husband tiem now. Back in a little.))
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 04:57 PM
"Madame Ni Dowd?" He didn't take his eyes of the Admiral, but Starling's comment brought a very sharp smile to his face. "It seems you have a greater sense of her charter than she does."
He returned the Admiral's nod however, but his hand did not move from the gun. "Indeed it is mon Admiral, but it seems that matters have gone beyond a simple case of thievery now. If they are indeed sailing with Madame Ni Dowd, and I can't see why anybody would be fool enough to claim that unless it was the truth, then she is responsible for her crew. And while a fellow officer is worthy of all respect, your french navy holds no quarter here. This is Aquitaine land."
His thumb caressed the gun, watching the other man intently.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 05:06 PM
"And I certainly don't wish to question your authority," the Admiral replied smoothly, giving the other man a polite nod. "But whoever this lady is, I did not accuse them on her account. I am a stranger here, I'm afraid; I would not know if these vagabonds sailed for Aquitaine or elsewhere. You must pardon me."
He shot both children a sickly smile. "But attempted thievery is attempted thievery regardless of who commits it, is it not?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 05:16 PM
"Of course it is, but we are men of the world mon Admiral, and we both know that while thievery is thievery, the consequences depends a bit on who is doing the thieving. I wouldn't have challenged the right of you to shoot someone had it been a common street urchin... but since it is a sailor under Madame Ni Dowd's command things are a bit more... tricky."
The thumb kept caressing the gun, and the thin smile never left the angular face.
"Realpolitik mon Admiral. A sailor under Madame Ni Dowd attempted to steal your purse. You shot a sailor under the command of Madame Ni Dowd. Regardless of what has happened before, we can't ignore that face. So let me ask you again. Do you consider the blood enough to wipe that slate clean? You said it yourself, your purse is reclaimed. Or do you wish to press for further punishment?"
He did seem more interested in how this would play out than standing up for either party.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 05:31 PM
The Admiral looked thoughtful. "If the issue is the...reputation and position of the child's mistress, perhaps I can deal with the lady directly?" he answered, giving the Commandeur a hopeful look. "I would like an explanation for the behavior of these...children in her service."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 05:48 PM
"I think that would be wisest. This is a calm and quiet port mon Admiral, and I prefer to keep it that way. And they might be une petite fille et un garçon but they are sailors. Age doesn't matter much on a ship as long as you can do your duty, that's the truth of the seas, n'est-ce pas??"
He nodded curtly, a look over his shoulder to make sure that the girl was properly bandaged.
"I will take custody of Mademoiselle Romain" He stressed the name, giving the other man a curious look "and her companion in the meantime. I have no stake in the matter, but I must admit I am curious to see what this will amount to."
Regardless, this was more amusing than a quiet drink.
Quite possibly even the whorehouse.
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 05:54 PM
"Watch your purse," the Admiral answered dryly, shooting a smile at Renaud. He reached for his own. "May I buy you a drink, perhaps, for your pains?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 05:57 PM
"Probably poisoned," Elaine muttered dazedly.
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 06:03 PM
"That would make me less the impartial observer, non? But the thought is appreciated mon Admiral. However, the mademoiselle is bleeding, and there's quite possibly a bullet lodged somewhere. I am afraid we will have to postpone."
He turned to look over the pair, half an eye still on the Admiral. You did not turn your back on a gun.
"My ship is the Mistral, down by the eastern dock. I will take them there. Will you contact Madame Ni Dowd or will I have that pleasure?"
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 06:06 PM
"Oh, I am sure I can deal with the Captain," the Admiral answered affably. "And I hope the Captain deals with those two little rapscallions."
He gave the other man a short bow. "Commandeur. I hope to have the privilege of speaking with you again soon."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 06:13 PM
"If you stay in town mon Admiral, chances are that you will."
He smiled amiably at the other man, returning the bow.
"And madame Ni Dowd tend to be most capable of dealing with rapscallions of all sorts." Perhaps because she was the grandest one of the all, but still...
It was not a bad stroke of luck this, to get to know that the woman was in port before she left, and be in custody of two of her sailors. Of course the last bit was tantamount to juggling burning barrels of gunpowder, but it sure livened up the day.
"Now, if you excuse me, we'd better deal with the wounded."
Posted by: Admiral Romain Sep 19 2007, 06:16 PM
"I'll leave you to that, then," the Admiral replied politely, giving both children an amused look as he exited the premises.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 06:18 PM
"He's a lying bag of fleas," Elaine managed, though she looked as if she was having a hard time keeping her eyes open. "He's my-- grand. He's my grandfather. He's trying to make me go back to school, only...I think he's possessed by something that wants to kill me."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 06:27 PM
"Shush mademoiselle. Lying bag or fleas or no, the man is out and your hide is still intact if slightly leaky." He cast a glance at the Galli sailor that had bandaged her. "Don't worry, I won't let her get harmed, Madame Ni Dowd and I are old acquaintances and colleagues. And she needs more care than that." He nodded at the makeshift bandages, already soaked with blood.
"Merde, this doesn't look good."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 06:36 PM
Elaine paled. "I thought you said it was all right," she said worriedly. "Wasn't I intact just a minute ago? I--" She swallowed, looking ill. "What's wrong?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 06:41 PM
"What's wrong, Mademoiselle Romain is that you are bleeding through your shirt." He cast a glance at the Galli, frowning. "Did the bullet pass through or is it still in there?" Now that there was no need to keep his eyes on the gun he knelt at Elaine's side, pondering the wound.
"We are going to have to sew her up, aren't we." He was speaking to himself at this point, as if he had already made the decision.
Posted by: Fortuna Sep 19 2007, 06:47 PM
"Yah, the bullet he just slid on by. He not in there now. Sew her back up, she be fine." The dark man stretched back to his feet. His eyes twinkled in reassurance at the girl. "Your ship gotta doctor, little sister?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 06:50 PM
"Not any more we don't," said Starling. He drifted nearer. "He jumped ship. We've got a sailmender . . . " He let that suggestion trail off with a tight look at Elaine.
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 06:56 PM
"There's a doctor on my ship Mademoiselle. It would not be the first wound he has sewn up." It would be more gracious this way, if they would realize that they were better off coming with him.
He really didn't want to cause a scene.
But neither did he have any intention of letting them go.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 06:57 PM
"And our sailmender's not going to be sober," Elaine said gloomily. "Um." She winced, looking at her side, then back at the man, then at the boy. "I. I suppose, if that's all right?" she asked, taking a short breath. She looked to Starling to see his response.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 07:00 PM
Starling looked nearly as uncomfortable as Elaine at the suggestion. He was visibly torn between helping the girl and distrust of the whole situation. "Someone'll have to let our captain know where she's at," he said as gruffly and officially as possible. "We were to be back before the town curfew. If we're not, she'll want to know why. She'll probably come lookin'."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 07:07 PM
"Oh I'll send someone over from my ship to tell her." Satisfied that the girl could be moved, he rose again brushing a finger over the butt of his gun. "Besides, it would be safer considering Admiral Romain might want to finish whatever affair you two have going between you."
He offered a hand to Elaine, raising a questioning eyebrow.
"It might be wiser now before you faint Mademoiselle. It might be shallow, but the blood still pours."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 07:10 PM
"He's trying to kidnap me," Elaine answered woozily. "The thing possessing him is trying to kill me."
Her eyelashes flluttered. "Does it hur-- whatever you have to do," she answered. "Just. Sew me up? Ow."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 07:14 PM
"Elaine, don't try to talk anymore, what?" With a wary look at the officer, Starling decided quickly: "You take her to your doctor. I'll run back to me ship to tell the captain what's happened, and she can send someone to you to fetch Elaine back." Starling chewed on the inside of his cheek; this plan involved both leaving Elaine and a risk of running into the Admiral again.
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 07:22 PM
It was obvious the girl was fading fast, so after a moment's consideration he bent down and scooped her up in his arms. She quite little after all. The blood was an annoyance, but what could you do?
Part of him pondered billing Judith for it.
He was most certainly doing so for the surgery.
"Shush Mademoiselle, everything's going to be alright." Luckily they were not that far from the docks, which was one reason he frequented this establishment.
"Do as you wish monsieur, but it's not very gentlemanly to abandon a wounded girl to a stranger. I already told you I would send word to Madame Ni Dowd."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Sep 19 2007, 07:26 PM
Elaine wrapped her arms obligingly around the man's neck, her head dropping against his shoulder like a rag doll's.
"I'll be okay, Starling," she managed, although what she meant by that was unclear.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Sep 19 2007, 07:32 PM
Starling's fists balled up at his side. "No offence, sir. This is the way I were told to handle these things. Just tell me the name of your ship; someone will come for her."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Sep 19 2007, 07:38 PM
"As I already told Admiral Romain, the name if my ship is the Mistral, and it lies at the eastern end of the docks. And please make note to mention to madame Ni Dowd that there is still the matter of the alleged theft to consider. I have nothing except people's words to listen to so far. But she will be well taken care of."
His thin lips creased in a smile before he turned, his last words spoken over his shoulder to Starling. "Oh, and please, give her my regards and apologies. It seems like someone always ends up getting shot every time we meet."
This was going to be interesting.
No, more than interesting.