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 Old World, Old Ways

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PostSubject: Old World, Old Ways   Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:25 am

“A new blade Mistress? It looks beautiful.” Cathern nodded at Jazelle while examining the knife. The small knife was called a Sgian Dubh. Its sheath was made of rosewood and inlaid with pink coral and a silver dragon. The blade was of Damascus steel and the pommel was of pink coral. “Mr. McDraig gave it to me. And yes, it is quite lovely. He does seem to enjoy gifting me with beautiful things; rubies, my small crucifix, the knife.” Jazelle smiled and continued her needlework, patching a rent in one of her dresses. “And what is it you give him?” Cathern sheathed the knife and tucked it away. “Well I gave him a set of cutla…” Cathern paused then continued, “What I give him is none of your concern girl!” Jazelle and Cathern both giggled. “As you wish Mistress. It is nice to see you in good spirits despite what happened over the holiday. Mr. McDraig will make a full recovery?” Cathern snorted a bit, “If the darn fool of a man doesn’t overdo it. Men can be such idiots when it comes to these things. I did warn him to take it easy. I hope he listens.”

There was a tapping at the door of their rented room and an unfamiliar man’s voice echoed through the door, “Mlle La Fleurs?” Cathern looked at Jazelle, shrugged then answered in her accented French, “Yes, who is it?” The voice answered, “I have a dispatch for you, from France. May I come in Miss?” Cathern motioned for Jazelle to open the door while patting her new knife hidden in her dress. Jazelle unlatched the door and slowly opened it. Upon seeing Jazelle the man exclaimed “You are not Miss Flowers!” Cathern stood thenmade herself visible through the doorway. “No, she isn’t. But I am. And who might you be?” The man relaxed a bit then bowed. “No one of consequence. I just was instructed to give this package to you. She didn’t fit the description given to me. Now if you have your family’s seal available to verify who you are…..” Cathern was a bit surprised but produced the seal and stamped it next to the one on the package. They were identical. The man examined the two marks and nodded and handed her another paper to act as the receipt. Cathern again stamped her seal. “Thank you Miss Flowers. Sorry to disturb you. I’ll be on my way now.” Cathern opened her change purse and gave the man a couple coins much to his thanks. She started to question the young man but thought better of it. He was just the delivery boy and likely wouldn't know anything of value. Cathern closed the door and sat down again.

“What could it be Mistress?” Cathern looked at the seal identical to hers. The package or more correctly, the large envelope, was of fine quality. “I am not certain. Never the less it has the family seal on it, which is very strange. I thought I was the last of the line. Perhaps some extended family my father never mentioned? I guess there is but one way to find out.” Cathern pulled out her new knife and sliced the envelope open. There were a number of papers inside. Pulling them all out Cathern started reading them.

[more to come]

Last edited by Cathern Flowers on Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:06 am

Cathern twisted bits of her hair while reading through the papers. Cathern started talking softly to herself “Blessed Madonna….” Jazelle watched, the curiosity being almost more than she could stand. “What is it Mistress?” Cathern kept reading and muttering. “Amazing…” “You have got to be….” “How dare they even presume…...?” The papers were tossed across the room in anger. Jazelle backed away. Cathern’s face was splotchy red with anger. “Wha…what is it Mistress?” Cathern picked up some of the papers, scanned over them again then crumpled them up and threw them at the wall. “Mistress, what is it? I’ve never seen you like this.” Cathern unstoppered her flask of Scotch and chugged the contents. Cathern coughed and choked a bit on the strong alcohol. Cathern looked at the slave then quietly said, “I am to be married.”

There were a few moments of silence then Cathern flopped down on the bed. Her head started spinning from the Scotch. After several more minutes of silence Cathern spoke again, “I’m going to be sick.” Jazelle rushed to get a basin and stood quietly near the bed. Cathern heaved and vomited, mostly Scotch, into the basin. Another minute passed and again Cathern heaved into the basin. Jazelle handed Cathern a cup of water. Cathern swished it around in her mouth then spit into the basin. “Thank you Jazelle”. The slave removed the basin from the room and returned a few minutes later with a fresh one.

“Did you want to talk about it Mistress?” The slave knelt next to the bed, Cathern laid on her back looking at the ceiling. A small spider was crawling along one of the corners of the room. “It appears I have some half brothers. My father apparently was unfaithful to mother. I suppose that’s why he never mentioned them. I thought the remaining holdings in France Papa had been sold off to finance our move to the New World. It seems that was untrue. He gave it to my bastard brothers to handle. They have done well in restoring the shipping company. They found new markets and have generated a lot of wealth. Still, they are having trouble as new bourgeoisie getting the access they needed to expand their business; the kind of access that only nobility has or can grant.” Cathern paused a few moments to collect her thoughts. The spider was still crawling along, apparently working on a cobweb.

“Anyway, they decided that the easiest way to get that access was to be married into it or rather, for me to be married into it. Many of the nobles were flat broke. They had their lands and titles but almost no money. One way to get money was to marry bourgeoisie women. The nobles get a bride and an infusion of wealth. The woman’s family gets access to court and titles. The Crown does sell titles but this is a more cost effective way. So my brothers’ brilliant plan is to marry me off to some poor baron. Me. Married off! Can you believe it? I am 25 and far too old. If I was fourteen or fifteen I would be suitable but not 25! My life is probably over half done with. In any case they have little idea what sort of woman I am. I could do their cause more harm then good. The fools! And they expect me to get everything in order here for them to take over the holdings then to leave for France in a month’s time.”

Jazelle stood then assisted her Mistress to undress for the night. “Let me ease the tension in your muscles Ma’am.” Cathern rolled over to her tummy. Jazelle began working and kneading the tense muscles in Cathern’s neck and shoulders. “Is there nothing that can be done? And what about Mr. McDraig? Won’t he be upset and have something to say about this? You seem fond of him and he is absolutely fond of you.” Cathern rolled her shoulders a bit as Jazelle’s hand worked the muscles. “Yes, I need to tell him. He’ll undoubtedly want to go to France and slay this baron whatever his name is. Of course I couldn’t allow such folly. It would be his death and would accomplish nothing. There are plenty of poor noblemen looking for wealthy brides, even if they are at an advanced age like me. No, my brothers would just arrange another marriage.” Jazelle interjected, “Surely there must be a way out of this web. Can you not just ignore them? After all France is so far away.” Jazelle’s fingers probed and soothed the tension away. “No, ignoring it won’t make it go away. I’ll need to think more on it. Think more when I am not so exhausted. I will rest now Jazelle.”

Jazelle stopped her massaging then got up and prepared herself for bed and blew out the lamps. Jazelle stretched out on the floor to sleep, her eyes closing. “Jazelle?” The slave opened her eyes, “Yes Mistress?” The voice in the dark answered, “Join me, I don’t want to be alone.” Jazelle rose and slipped inside the blankets then whispered, “Do you want me t….” Cathern tiredly cut the slave off, “Just sleep Jazelle, just sleep.” In a few minutes both women were sound asleep. The spider went about its business, not caring that the room was dark.

[more to come...]
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:02 pm

“Do you Cathern Flowers take this man in the bonds of holy matrimony….” The priest didn’t get to finish his words before Cathern drew out her cutlass and thrust it through the faceless man all dressed and dapper beside her. “I do”. The priest resumed his litany, “In sickness and health, for richer or poor.” Cathern shouted at the top of her lungs, “He’s dead Father! I killed him! How can I marry a dead man?” Another voice was heard, “Mistress, wake up you are having a bad dream.” Jazelle was gently shaking Cathern, still in bed beside her. Cathern flicked her eyes open. She was sweating a bit. “I…I am awake now Jazelle. Just a bad dream.” The slave stroked Cathern’s hair. “I know Mistress. With your shouting it’s likely the whole in inn heard. It is dawn anyway I suppose. Shall I fetch you some coffee or tea?” Cathern sat up and answered, “Coffee, yes some coffee would be good.” Cathern got out of bed after the slave left and padded over to the chamber pot. After finishing her business, Cathern poured some water into a clean basin from a pitcher and splashed her face and hands with the water.

Jazelle returned with some fresh coffee and biscuits for them both. “Here we are Mistress.” Jazelle set the items on the desk then offered a cup of steaming coffee to Cathern. Cathern accepted it and sipped. “I need to see Hew…Mr. McDraig today. I believe he is in port as well.” Jazelle sipped on some coffee too, her owner not caring about the typical slave and owner protocol. The two chatted about the situation till the coffee and biscuits were gone. Jazelle helped her owner dress and they packed up their things. A porter was called for to carry their things back to the ship. “I’ll meet you at the tide. I am going to go find Mr. McDraig. Have the crew ready to sail.” Jazelle nodded, “As you command Mistress.”

Cathern left the inn and walked the narrow alleys to the dockyards. The port town was waking up. Already there were merchants setting up their goods and beginning to hawk their wares. A few beggars asked for coins which Cathern ignored. Reaching the docks she scanned the various vessels moored and at anchor in the harbor. There was on of Hew’s vessels at anchor in the harbor. Cathern went to one of the longboat operators, paid a coin to him, and soon he was rowing her to the ship. They had much to discuss. Cathern hoped that this man who was becoming important in her life didn’t disown her or turn violent. There was still much to learn about the Scot.
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:52 pm

There was a knock at the cabin door. "Yes what now Connally? I am at the ledgers."Hew barked.

"Its Miss... I mean Captain Flowers to see you sir she just came along side." Hew ordered "Kick the cook in case she needs something to eat. Oh Connally its Captain I hear Miss from you again its your spleen for garters dismissed" Hew gathered together his jacket and went to greet his paramour.

Cathern looked liked she just saw her dear departed parents. "Hew I need to talk to you." as she held back a tear. "Certainly my dear" as he took her arm and ushered her in "Connally station young Duncan here in case we need something."

Hew offered scotch as usual, Cathern gulped it down. That is not usual he thought to himself. Cathern started retelling her story. She was teary eyed, Hew gave her his handkerchief. He bade her to sit on his bed. Hew paced in his cabin. "I don’t know where to start...The Baron must die of course. Your brothers would you miss them? Of course not they are family I cant kill your kin. Hew stopped pacing and knelt to kiss Cathern. " I love you we will figure this out " They brainstormed on ideas murder, lies, a convenience marriage, and all manner of plots. He saw she was exhausted "Rest my dear, Young Mister Duncan is outside if you need anything he is at your call"

" Mister Duncan, this is your post the most precious treasure in all the Caribbean is on the other side of that door. Only I, Mr. Van der Beeke, or Jazelle are allowed In there. She may do or go as she pleases." The Boy looked wide eyed" Did you hear me boy?" Hew was using his command voice now. "Yes sir" good lad Hew replied. He then handed the boy a pistol.

Hew looked to the sea. He thought of school and his history teacher "Remember your Tacitus and Machiavelli Young master it will serve you well."

"1st mate send messengers to my brother, Angus and the foreman of wrecking crews. Have them meet me in the pub for breakfast. Oh and call my lawyers to be there as well." Connally crossed himself. "Lawyers sir" Hew replied " Yes both of them." Ill be in the pub having coffee.

Hew chuckled to himself I finally got her in my satin sheets. He sighed shook his head and disembarked.
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:51 am

Several days went by and Cathern still had not decided on a course of action. One thing was certain, she had no desire to go back to France and be the proverbial field waiting to be plowed by the Baron and planted with his seed. The thought of being intimate with a man scared her after all the tales she had heard. The thought of being with a strange man she had absolutely no desire for was even worse. Something had to be done and putting it off wasn’t going to make the troubles go away. A number of options had been considered then discarded. Through it all Mr. McDraig….Hew…had been nothing but supportive. He was doting on her and Cathern admitted to herself that she liked it very much. Oh yes indeed. Any thoughts of family duty to her bastard half-brothers had vanished over the past few days due to Hew’s affections.

He had given her a silver Irish Claddagh ring which was supposedly becoming quite popular. It had a pair of joined hands, a heart and a crown as part of the ring. He explained to her how it was meant to be worn as which hand it was worn on and direction it was facing signified different things. She had put it on trying each of the positions imagining the significance of each. She decided to wear on her right hand with the heart and crown pointing outward, signifying that she was considering love. She wasn’t quite ready to put it on the left hand signifying more. She hoped she hadn't misremembered the order of wear.

Jazelle slipped into the cabin, carrying a tray of smoked meats, hard cheese and bread. “I brought you some lunch Mistress.” Jazelle set the tray down on the desk, noticing the ring for the first time. “That is a lovely ring Mistress. Is it from Mr. McDraig?” Cathern smiled and nodded. “Indeed it is lovely and yes, he gave it to me.” Cathern went on to explain the ring and how it was meant to be worn then gave it to Jazelle to examine closer. The slave sat next to Cathern while tracing her finger over the ring. She tried to slip it on her fingers but it was too small to fit. Jazelle gave it back, watching how Cathern wore it. “Do you think it will be on your left hand any time soon Mistress?” Cathern shrugged and smiled. “It’s entirely possible.”

Cathern helped herself to the assortment of snacks and offered some to Jazelle. The slave politely declined having already eaten some while in the galley. “Have you…decided what to do with the arranged marriage situation Mistress?” Cathern shook her head no and continued eating. In between bites she added, “Not decided on what to do but decided I won’t go back to France to become my brothers’ influence whore. Cathern continued eating while Jazelle sat silently. “Are you sure you don’t want anything Jazelle?” The slave declined the offer then said quietly, “Forgive my impertinence Mistress but wouldn’t marrying someone else solve your problems? Someone like Mr. McDraig?” Cathern choked on a bit of cheese. In a coughing fit she grabbed some wine to help wash things down. Jazelle blushed, regretting immediately what she said. “Yes Jazelle that would solve one problem. It could open up a whole host of others though. In any case I am not at all certain being a female sea captain is very conducive to being a wife. I’m done eating now Jazelle. Clear this out of the way then go see Johan. He was going to give you some lessons on deck today.” Jazelle picked up the tray then made her way out of the cabin. Cathern whispered softly to herself, “Yes Jazelle, that would solve the immediate problem but it’s not something I can do right now.”
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:22 am

Cathern sat at her desk staring at the stack of blank parchment in front of her. Her fine silver tipped quill pen and silver clad inkwell were beside it sitting in a specially made recess to prevent ink spilling in rough seas. The vessel was making best speed to Tampico for the party. Hopefully nothing dramatic happened. No attacks, no sinking of ships or friends tossed in British prisons. The crew was looking forward to visiting Tampico again despite the raid during the last visit. Cathern took up her quill pen and tapped it against the desk repeatedly. After much discussion she and Hew had decided on a course of action. It seemed ideal, though it wouldn’t come cheap and there were no guarantees it would even work. Still, it was worth a try. If nothing else it would buy some more time to think of something else, or more time to preempt one marriage with another. He wanted her she knew but it was far too soon for her taste to even think about such a formal arrangement. Cathern dipped her pen into the well and started writing.

My dearest younger brothers Luc and Philippe, I bid you greetings and salutations from the New World. I recently received your letters and was overjoyed at the thought that I had more than just distant relations in France. Papa had never mentioned that I had brothers, let alone one’s so accomplished in business. I can imagine it was because he was ashamed at his dalliances with your mother. I don’t blame him of course. Men have certain needs and Papa was away from home more than he was at home with Mother. Perhaps Mother knew of Papa’s indiscretions and never said anything. In any case they are rejoined with our Lord in heaven as you already know. I can only guess as to how you were informed but it doesn’t matter I suppose.

As I said, I am overjoyed at having brothers. I am however less than enthused over your presumption that I should marry this Baron de Ligney for the sake of the family. I certainly can understand you are desirous of the added prestige and access that having familial ties to the nobility would bring, I can only assume that you have been misinformed as to my status. For one I am twenty five, much older than the typical bride. Secondly, Papa raised me in an unconventional fashion much to mother’s consternation. Believe it or not I am a ship captain of some skill. Papa taught me the ways of the sea BECAUSE he professed he had no sons to teach. He wished for a son and I can only assume he meant a legitimate one since again, no mention was made of you two. Thirdly, I am already being courted by someone, a minor noble in his own right. He is the head of a Scottish clan here in the New World by the name of Hew McDraig. Lastly, Papa’s lands and property around Tampa and Cayo de Marquis were passed directly to me after his death; therefore you have no claim to said properties. I am enclosing copies of the inheritance documents signed and sealed by the Magistrate here in Tampa.

Having said all that, I am still aware of my duties to the family, now that I know that I have one. Mr. McDraig and I believe we have a solution that would be mutually beneficial to all of us. It is my understanding that the Crown as usual is strapped for money and is continuing the process of titling nobles via noblesse de letters. Titles bought and paid for by those that can afford them. Mr. McDraig has offered to petition the crown for just such a title. Assuming the Crown is interested and grants the title and lands, Mr. McDraig agrees to act on our family’s behalf. In return, you my brothers will assist Mr. McDraig and me in finding markets for our goods back in Europe. You will cease all claims on my properties and of course, cease trying to pawn me off to the nearest broke provincial noble! Under no circumstance will I be forced into a marriage not of my choosing so you may as well give that idea up.

Cathern looked over her work so far, lightly blowing on the ink. Cathern stood up and stretched a bit then went back to writing about life in the New World, about her mother and father, and the turn of events that led them to the New World. Satisfied with her labors, she set the papers aside. The boat that was supposed to carry her back to France would not be leaving for a couple more weeks. The letters would just have to do as there was no way she would be on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:47 pm

*Hew recieves a post from his lawyer in France*

Dear Laird Hew McDraig of McDraig,

I have secured a Barony for you per your request. The three frigate deeds you suppled were sufficient payment. The Barony is located in Alsace, it is the Barony of Obernai. I am finalizing details this week. It is not a large Barony but the area has some history of wine and beer making. Your brother is here and sends his regards.

Your servant,
Henri Howe esq
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:08 am

Tortuga was a den of stinking evil, depravity, loose morals, and crime. Every sin was catered to for those with coin or the wherewithal to take what they want. People could disappear into the crowds with ease, and people could make others disappear just as easily. Backstabbing and guile were as useful as brute force. The wise resident or traveler slept with one eye open, kept a tight hold on their coin purse and walked the streets well armed. It wasn’t Cathern’s first visit to the port and likely wouldn’t be her last. It was however, the first time to come to this town in search of a wise woman, a witch.

Cathern wore some of her older clothes. The hem of her brown dress was tattered and there was a patch here and there. It was a well made dress but time and use had taken its toll. She had the small Sgian Dubh knife Hew had given her tucked away, not wanting to draw attention to herself. She could have taken Jazelle or Johan or other crew with her for protection but she wanted no one to know what she was doing. Cathern walked through the winding streets. Drunken sailors sang their songs and shopkeepers hawked their wares. People lay here and there, some undoubtedly dead, the rest asleep or in drunken stupors. Cathern made her way deeper into the city.

“Hello pretty. It be lookin like you have what I be needen under them skirts of yours. I be given you a gold coin for yer time and charms.” A large man stepped out of the shadows and blocked her path. His breath reeked and his body was sour. Cathern took a step backwards. “I think you have me confused with someone else sir, now stand aside.” The man gave a hearty laugh. “I offered to pay you pretty to spread them legs for me now I be takin what I want for free.’ The man lunged for Cathern grabbing her by the arm. Cathern pivoted and the large man fell forward but his grip was strong and he pulled Cathern down on top of him. The man quickly rolled on top of Cathern, using his superior mass to hold her down. His right forearm pushed under her chin, across her throat. Cathern gagged and choked as the man pressed hard on her throat. The man reached down with his left hand and pulled Cathern’s dress up. He then used his legs to force hers apart. Cathern scratched and fought back but the man’s mass made it difficult. Her assailant started loosening up his trousers. He got a little off balance and Cathern managed to get a leg between his. Using all her strength she kneed upwards. The man groaned a bit and Cathern used the moment to draw her blade. She stabbed the man in the side of the neck though it didn’t bite too deeply and missed the artery. He gave a scream of pain and rolled off of her, holding his hand to the wound. Cathern scrambled to her feet then kicked the man in the face then spit on him. “I told you, you had me confused with someone else.” The man continued to roll on the ground in agony as Cathern darted away.

Cathern paused for a breath after getting clear and out of sight of her assailant. Her throat hurt and she had some scrapes but was otherwise no worse for wear. A bit of the man’s blood had gotten on her but in the ill lit streets it wasn’t very visible and could have been mistaken for anything. Cathern coughed a bit then threw up in a corner. She felt dirty but she blocked those thoughts out. She came to Tortuga for a reason and she wouldn’t be deterred from her goal.

Cathern approached her first stop. Numerous ladies of the night were out, plying their trade. Men walking by were cajoled by the women selling themselves. The two sexes bantered back and forth, the men eyeing the “goods” and the women doing their best to entice. Cathern approached one of the whores whose cleavage was near bursting out of her bodice. “Excuse me miss. Might I ask you a question?” The large breasted woman gave Cathern a look over. “You are new. I hope you paid the fee to work here lassie. You work here without permission and you’ll be a deader.” Cathern shook her head. “No, I am not here to work. I…I just had a question.” The whore laughed. “Make it worth my while lassie and I’ll answer you true.” Cathern opened her small purse and pulled out a couple of coins. The whore held out her own opened change purse and Cathern dropped the coins in. “Now then…what can I be doing for you lassie?”

Cathern took in a breath, and then spoke her rehearsed story. “Yes, I have a problem and I thought one of you ladies would have an answer for me. My husband is not a bad man, but he is always out to sea. I miss him but I have met someone new. He is very charming and handsome and…well…he makes my nethers tingle with excitement just being near him. I love my husband but, I get so lonely and I have desires.” The whore laughed and responded, “Come work with us lassie and you’ll be cured of that!” Cathern blushed a bit then continued. “I intend to be with this man but don’t want to get with child. I have heard that there is a wise woman good with herbs that can keep a baby from taking root? Might you know where to find her? “The prostitute laughed again. “Sure honey. I know where she be.” The woman told her how to find the witch and wished her luck.

Cathern walked the alleys till she got to the shop the whore told her of. Entering the shop her nostrils were assaulted by the scents of many different herbs and concoctions. From a backroom a voice called out. “In a minute deary.” Cathern looked about the shop lit by whale oil lamps. Dried herbs and plants hung from the rafters. Jars containing all manner of things from plants and tadpoles floating in some sort of brown liquid, odd colored powders in mortars to a small piglet also suspended in a colorless liquid were scattered about the small shop.

A striking woman with raven black hair appeared from the back room. She appeared about the same age as Cathern and was very beautiful. Cathern was a bit surprised, expecting some old, gray haired crone. The woman smiled and winked, “Expecting an old hag were you?” If Cathern didn’t look surprised before she did now. “How did you..” The woman cut her off. “I could see the surprise in your eyes. There was nothing magical about it. I’m Felicia. What can I do for you?” Cathern smiled a bit sheepishly. “I am Cathern.” She had thought to lie about her name but figured the witch would see through the lie. “I need a powder or poultice or a magic charm to keep from getting with child. I was told you could help.” Felicia smiled. “Indeed I do have some things that can help. Mind you, if a baby wants to come no manner of herbs will stop it from starting but in that case I have some other cures to keep it from coming to term.” Felicia instructed Cathern on how to use the medicines. “There is something odd about you Cathern. You don’t seem a simple wife or a painted lady. I can tell things about people and you are unusual.” Cathern laughed a little while pulling some coins out of her change purse. “You have your secrets, I have mine.” Felicia smiled and accepted the coins. “You had someone try to rape you this evening. Be well Cathern.” The “witch” laughed then and turned headed to the back room. Cathern was a bit stunned but gathered up her magic herbs and left the shop. It was always an adventure visiting Tortuga
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PostSubject: Re: Old World, Old Ways   Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:02 pm

Hew sat in the pub waiting he had been up since before dawn. He didn’t like the news Cathern gave him. Sleep was not visiting him this night. There was only one thing he could do. In earlier days chiefs were the judges and arbitrators of the clan. Today he was judge and executioner. Cathern was more than family to him, and you don’t mess with a Scottish mans family. He knew If he waited long enough the man would appear. Shortly before noon a man with a neck wound a Head taller than he was came in for his rum.

Hew went to the bar for another whiskey or what past for whiskey here. He slammed it down. He walked behind the animal and dispatched him with a dagger to the base of his skull. There was a satisfying snick as the atlas bone gave way. He lite the grenade fuse, then tossed it behind the bar. Hew walked calmly away from the ensuing chaos. Off to Havana he thought to himself.
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