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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > Weathervanes my one and lonely
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 03:13 AM
The big, broad-shouldered, barrel-chested man paused at the pier's edge, where he loaded pipe with another measure of tobacco. Sucking thoughtfully on the stem, he studied the ships silently, scrutinizing their rigs and sails and how they sat in the water. At length he began to walk, his stride confident, scanning the wharf for notices indicating which ships were hiring on men.
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 03:26 AM
"...And see if that damn ship is still in harbor," Andre said, frustratedly, to the girl at his side. "But th--"
He stopped, eyes fixing on the older man.
"Oh, holy hell," he whispered, going rather white.
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 03:33 AM
"Oh holy hell what?" Spider, less inclined to freeze, followed Andre's gaze outward. "That's not him, is it? No," she answered herself immediately, "no stupid moustache for one. Trouble?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 03:37 AM
No stupid mustache indeed--the man's lower jaw from the nose down was engulfed in a thick beard which disguised much of his expression. His eyes were topped with bushy brows. He tore a flier from the notice-board he'd been studying and folded it neatly into a square, pipe clenched between his teeth.
When he turned, his eyes slid past Spider and Andre--and then it was his turn to freeze and look twice.
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 03:39 AM
"That," Andre said weakly, "is my old first mate."
He stared, long and hard, for another moment, before putting a hand up in the air.
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 03:58 AM
Sturges let out a guffaw of disbelief, and in a moment he was bearing down on them, pulling the pipe from his mouth with one hand, the other arm spread wide. "Do my eyes deceive me? Certainly older, possibly wiser - surely you are not Alexandre Olivier Vincente Romain!"
He did not wait for an answer but threw his arms wide, broking no resistance as he took Andre by the shoulders and planting a kiss on each of his cheeks.
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 04:03 AM
"Wait, who?" Spider did not appear emotionally prepared for large men to appear from nowhere and smooch the father of her child. After a moment, she moved to intercept. "Wait, wait, we got another one now?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 04:06 AM
Andre stumbled back a bit, certainly taken off-guard. "Ah. Spider. Er."
He rubbed his forehead. "This is Sturges. I told you about him. Ah. Sturges?"
He looked at Spider for a long moment.
Then back at the older man.
Then back at Spider.
Then he smiled, and looked more confidently at the older man. "This is my wife, Spider," he said.
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 04:10 AM
"Wife! A wife by god, well done Andre me boy, well done indeed," Sturges appeared exceptionally pleased, and thrust out a massive hand in Spider's direction. "Olivier Sturges at your service, Madam Romain, I've known your good husband since he was a wee little thing, all elbows and skinny knees," as he spoke, his bushy mustache trembled and puffed.
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 04:18 AM
Spider stuck out a significantly smaller hand and shook politely, if with some reserve. "Oh, have you?" She looked amused. "Well, we've got somethin' to talk about, at least. Might I ask how long you've been in town here, sir?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 04:24 AM
"We do indeed, you may rest assured, I've stories about that one that would curl your hair," Sturges laughed. "Not six days, though what days they've been! God's honest truth, if you're not the last man I expected to meet here, Andre," he looked the Frenchman over again, disbelief apparent on his heavily-lined face.
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 04:28 AM
"I could say the same," Andre answered cautiously. He looked toward the iron ship. "Come aboard? I-- did you know Deck's here? How did you-- how did you even get here, mate?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 04:32 AM
The bushy brows shot upwards. "Deck. You've got to be joking," Sturges exclaimed--and then, upon reading Andre's face, shook his head. "I'm here with me boys, a pair of 'em, first time out in the big waters. We worked up through to England, bumped into an old mate--before your time, me boy--and took a favor. Unbelievable, first your, now.... You mean to say this glorified metal coffin is yours?"
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 04:35 AM
"Via the sea-witch, the Empire, and a whole bloody mess of dwarves," Spider clarified. "I don't know where the deed is but I'm sure it's all o'er in red ink." The girl fell back noticeably, a bit intimidated.
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 04:43 AM
Andre put an arm around the girl. "Sturges knew Laivine," he explained to her. "He was part of the first crew, when we started running firearms."
He hesitated a moment, then looked back up at the older man. "It's our ship, at least till we can find a place to settle. Spider's expecting."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 04:48 AM
At this news, Sturges glanced back at Spider as they walked, giving her a long look and a slow smile that crinkled in the corners of his eyes. "A baby! I love babies. Félicitations and congratulations to you both, that's blessed news to be sure. Settling down? Does that mean the girls are with you?" He looked hopeful.
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 04:52 AM
On instinct, Spider put a hand to her stomach. She returned the man's smile while secretly trying to will herself to shrink up like a wood-louse. "Elaine's gone off to 'prentice under me old captain. Si's . . . " She gave Andre a wary look, leaving that explanation up to him.
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 04:56 AM
"Sylvie's apparently decided to strike off on her own," Andre answered. "We were about to go see if there's any chance she's still in port, since she didn't bother to tell any of us about this before leaving, apart from our sailmender's assistant, who is a self-righteous ass who thinks he has to please everyone, particularly teenaged girls."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 04:59 AM
"Every ship's got one," Sturges said, stirred to mild anger at the thought. "Sometimes several. Though I would have thought Sylvie had a better head on her shoulders than that, she's a sensible girl. And now Elaine's taken to the sea?" Sturges looked genuinely surprised by that. "Far be it for me to distract you from that errand. If you've that to see to, I can wait. The little ones trump our reunion tenfold."
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 05:08 AM
"Aye, we could've been on this last night if the ijit had bothered to tell us he knew where the wee chit bugged off to." Spider fidgeted in the direction of the gang. "You want to stick around, you can help us grind him into the deck."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 05:12 AM
"Oh, good, and then he can't blame us," Andre put in cheerfully. "We're looking for-- hell, we still don't even know the name of the ship, but the captain's a fellow named Mortmain."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 05:21 AM
Sturges' face went still, his eyes narrowing slightly. "Diogenes Mortmain? I sailed into harbor under that man, from England--the Commonwealth. I can take you to his berth."
He looked from Andre to Spider, and shook his head. "Fate is a strange thing, these many days."
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 05:26 AM
Now Spider began to look a little frightened. "Fate's not the half of it," she muttered. "Again! It's done it a-bloody-gain. See, we just figured out it's Mortmain, and he's an old . . . I-don't-know-what-they-were, exactly. But he knows me old captain. And I know him. In the social sense," she added hastily, then growled, "Bloody pervert."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 05:33 AM
"In the Biblical sense, you mean," Andre added dryly, squeezing Spider's shoulder. "They're still in port, then?" he asked Sturges hopefully.
Then he paused. "Have you seen a girl in black, by any chance?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 05:37 AM
"He's an old mate of mine," Sturges said, with a half-shrug. "Years and years and years ago. He does seem to know everyone," he said, casting his eyes briefly skyward. He changed direction and walked a bit faster, striding towards the berth where he'd last seen Mortmain docked. "We were going to stay here for a bit and rest up, or were, before things fell apart around town. I've no idea when he meant to set sail."
He raised a brow at Andre. "Not that sticks out in my mind. Do I want to ask why?"
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 05:41 AM
"There's been a spot of . . . oh hell, I don't know if I want to call it 'trouble' or flat-out catastrophe, but there's a lady in black who seems to be at the centre of pullin' together a lot of things she has no right bein' involved with." Limping ever so slightly, Spider brought up her speed to walk even with the two men. "I ain't seen her either. Andre has. So have a few other folks."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 05:45 AM
Andre slowed to let Spider catch up. "All right?" he asked softly, catching at her back. "She's seemed to be-- there have been a lot of coincidences associated with her," Andre explained. "And having you, and Deck show up..." He shook his head. "You didn't happen to be looking for work, did you?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 05:49 AM
At Andre's words, Sturges seemed to recall Spider's condition and slowed his pace. "I was. Didn't want the boys stuck someplace like this, with dogs running mad and the weather gone so strange."
He drew the flier he'd torn off the wall from one pocket and gave it a contemptuous look. "Wages are shite these days, I'm afraid."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 05:54 AM
"You think those wages are bad," Andre answered cheerfully, "wait to see what I can pay you. You might not be so disappointed."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 06:00 AM
The big man gave Andre a long look, then burst out with a booming laugh and crumpled up the flier. "Looks like I'm not through taking orders from you just yet, little Alexandre--though, I do have me boys," he said in warning. "The younger's but a child, knows naught about anything useful. The elder's eighteen with three years sailing the coasts under his belt. He'd be useful wherever you stick him. Have you the need?"
He looked up and down the street, and pointed. "Just up here, across from that warehouse--the brick one, with the shutters."
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 06:05 AM
"Juniors." Spider managed to sound jaded, despite that she had scarcely just graduated up from the junior rank herself. Her eyes scanned ahead, looking for likely suspects.
"The thing is," she said to Sturges, with a quick nod to Andre for approval, "we're sort of in thick with the Empire just now. Not in a bad way--" She held up her hands to reassure him. "Just a bit roundabout. We're on a two-month commission for 'em, and they're bein' more'n a little hedgy about what exactly they want us for. They've already come after the ship herself once."
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 07:42 AM
((Just then, the board went down! We all had to post elsewhere, like so:))
"And put me in prison," Andre said cheerfully. "Pleasant sorts, all the way around. Which is why i don't know when they'll deign to pay us."
He gave Spider an amused look. "We were all juniors once. If they've got experience; I'll be happy to have them."
"I'll keep 'em in line, I promise you that," Sturges rumbled. At Spider's explanation, his brows knit with concern. "I was going to ask about the uniform, it seems out of character for you," he told Andre, nicely. "Two months under their flag--and then you're free to go? I hope you don't expect me to wear a uniform too."
He eased up, and came to a stop, frowning at the empty berth. "This is it. Was it."
The best Spider could do under the circumstances was a weak laugh, and a clap of her hands as if knocking off dust. "Well, that settles it. Back to the ship to stomp on Jochy."
The joke fellow hollow in the open air. She blinked at Andre. "Your call, Captain. If you want to pursue, they can't be far gone."
Andre's face fell, and he punched one fist into his empty palm. He swallowed, gritting his teeth, and looked to Spider. "Judith knows this bastard?" he asked. "Maybe we should...get some advice before...running in there..."
He looked a bit ill.
Then shook his head at Sturges. "The Navy skimps too much to give us more than one uniform."
"That's a small blessing." He frowned, folding his arms over his massive chest. "I do not speak to ease your mind--knowing nothing will manage that--but Sylvie is a smart girl. I don't know Mortmain well, it's been a lifetime since we last sailed as mates, but I don't think he would harm her, provided she's well behaved. He's not the sort to take advantage of a child."
"Really?" Andre asked. "Spider here keeps telling me he's a filthy pervert."
"Don't mean to be a wet blanket, but he didn't have much qualms puttin' his hands on me when I were Si's age," Spider said in a rather clipped tone. "He's a git, as far as I know."
"Sylvie's age? Surely not, she's a child, barely --" the hesitated, and then frowned. "...sixteen?" he asked, looking between the pair of them, expression darkening. "They grow up so quickly."
He looked at the empty berth uneasily. "Would that I have stayed aboard, I might have seen her and prevented her leaving unprotected."
Andre shook his head. "Not your fault, Sturges," he assured the older man, then gave him a thoughtful look. "Have you ever met the Sea Witch, by any chance?"
"Not a once. I've heard stories, a'course," the bearded man admitted, frowning. "...and naught but stories, or so I've thought."
Spider smiled sweetly and held her hand roughly four feet off the ground. "She's about this high and cheats at seven-down and she's yonder-ways down the docks."
((We now return you to "Seas of Erin", already in progress.))
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 07:47 AM
"Right. I say we go see what Judith has to say about the man and whether he happens to owe her any large sums of money or nonsense like that," Andre said, starting for the other ship. "We've got to return the mirror, anyhow. Maybe she'll have something we can use. And then we beat Jochy to a pulp."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 07:49 AM
Sturges raised his brows. "God's own truth?" he asked Spider, stroking his beard. "Well. Well, well. This world is yet full of surprises."
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 07:56 AM
"You don't know the half of it." Spider ran her fingers through her hair, then reached out for Andre's arm. "Buck up, no damage done yet."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 08:02 AM
The Frenchman leaned down to kiss Spider's hair. "You want to go give Jochy a reaming while I'm not there to stop you?" he asked cheerfully. "I'm going to take Sturges to meet the witch."
He tousled her hair, then nodded for the older man to follow. "Come along, old man."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 08:05 AM
Sturges chuckled, shaking his head. "I can't believe I'm hearing this in earnest, but in the interest of our newly-forged business relationship, I'll try to believe. Take care, my dear," he said to Spider, with a little smile.
Posted by: Spider Ceallaigh Apr 27 2008, 08:14 AM
Spider gave Andre a warm if rather wry smile. "I'll try not to do anything you wouldn't do." Then she nodded to Sturges. "Hey, you're the ones headin' in to Judes's domain; you take care yourself."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 08:16 AM
Andre gave Spider another kiss, and then started off toward the Red Morning.
"Judith!" he called as he approached. "Fair warning! You're being boarded by the Imperial Navy!"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 08:17 AM
"The Sea Witch is named Judith?" Sturges asked Andre, his voice a low, amused rumble--disbelieving.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Apr 27 2008, 08:22 AM
After a moment, the woman herself appeared, leaning against the rail with her face in her hands and a weary expression. "You're gettin' far too much amusement outter wearin' this uniform, Romain," she said. "I give you another month before the new wears off. Get up here. Who's this other one, then?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 08:27 AM
"It'll be less than that before Spider picks it up off the floor and uses it for nappies," Andre answered cheerfully. "My child will be the only child in the worl with Aquitainean Naval diapers. This is Ollie Sturges; he's an old mate. An old mate who sailed into town with someone by the name of Captain Mortmain?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 27 2008, 08:34 AM
Sturges looked Judith up and down, surprised to see that Spider had not exaggerated in her depiction of the woman's height. "The pleasure is entirely mine, madam," he said, friendly--and guarded.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Apr 27 2008, 08:38 AM
"I'm not really this short," Judith replied, pleasantly amused over Sturges's expression, "I'm actually just very far away." She hitched a shoulder and became business-like and brusque. "So. You know Gino. How's that bent son-of-a-bastard been since he got brought back from the dead, anyhow?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 27 2008, 08:41 AM
"Apparently well enough to ship out with my daughter," Andre said. "Not Elaine. The one who usually doesn't do horribly rash things."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 30 2008, 05:39 AM
"Alive an' busy, like any God-fearing man should be," Sturges said pleasantly, the words wry. He continued to study Judith, curious. "We sailed together when we were young, yet somewhere along the line he surpassed me properly. Never dreamed he counted the sea witch amongst his acquaintances."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Apr 30 2008, 05:44 AM
"Oh gods, what's he got Si for?" She sounded more annoyed than dismayed, in her usual manner of realising that, somehow, this one sentence meant she was going to be busy for the rest of the day. "I've not known him all that long," she said to Olivier. "Long enough to know I'd trust him with my purse or my ship before I'd trust 'im with me daughter."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 30 2008, 05:47 AM
"That's what Spider's opinion seemed to be. She's under the impression that he can get her back to Africa," he said, holding his hands up in the air. "I'm not certain what to do. Spider told me talking to you was probably best."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 30 2008, 05:50 AM
And it was Olivier's turn took look displeased, and he favored Andre a worried frown. "How can that child have so little evident sense? She should know better. Why's she so keen on getting home?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 30 2008, 05:57 AM
"Because she's meant to inherit her birthright," Andre reminded the older man. "She's sixteen. She was meant to be home a month ago to prepare."
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Apr 30 2008, 06:02 AM
"What, she want me to hold the ship and let you go in and take Sylvie off?" Judith didn't look as if this were precisely a bad option, but it didn't appear to be at the top of her list, either. "Is that what you want done? Because they're--"
She paused long enough to hold out her palm toward the horizon, and to turn slowly in a semi-circle, finally settling with authority on the south-west. "--less than four or five hours out, I'd say. You'd be back before dinner, unless he slips."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 30 2008, 06:05 AM
The Frenchman hesitated. "I'd like her back, yes," he answered. "If it isn't too much trouble, and-- do you think it's the right thing to do?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 30 2008, 06:09 AM
Olivier looked as though he would speak again, then merely folded his arms over his chest, sighing a sigh that left his whiskers fluttering. He watched Judith move impassively, trying to decide whether or not he believed she spoke true.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Apr 30 2008, 06:18 AM
"She's your daughter," Judith pointed out. "I'd just like to mention that if I hold him up, he's gonner know I did it. I'm not in the mood to get triped by Aquitaine and Gino. I say let her go."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 30 2008, 06:20 AM
"Is there...anything we can do to keep an eye on her?" Andre asked, resigned. "Favors you can call in on this man?"
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 30 2008, 06:22 AM
Olivier's bushy brows shot skyward, but he had nothing to add. He was too busy wondering how exactly Andre was proposing Judith hold a ship five hours out of port.
Posted by: Judith ni Dowd Apr 30 2008, 06:27 AM
Judith put a hand to her forehead as if checking for a fever. Perhaps she was. "I'll hold him. You negotiate. Run up a white flag or something. Unfortunately Gino and I are level quits or I'd whip up some blackmail material in a right hurry."
Posted by: Andre Romain Apr 30 2008, 06:30 AM
Andre nodded, looking grateful. "I'll hurry," he assured the woman, and looked to Olivier. "You ready to help handle a hostage negotiation?" he asked the older man cheerfully. "Thank you, Judith. We'll manage it as fast as we can."
And he stepped back. "Back for supper."
Posted by: Olivier Sturges Apr 30 2008, 06:32 AM
"Whatever did I do without you in my life for excitement, boy?" Olivier asked, shaking his shaggy head and following just behind.
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