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 A Freshening Breeze

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Merchant Captain
Merchant Captain

Number of posts : 669
Localisation : Belle Isle (Virginia, US)
Registration date : 2007-05-22

Character sheet
Locations: Belle Isle, New Orleans, Irish Point
Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

A Freshening Breeze Empty
PostSubject: A Freshening Breeze   A Freshening Breeze Icon_minitimeFri Nov 21, 2008 1:36 pm

It had been a good decision to do this early in the morning. The steady onshore flow was keeping the temperature within a range of moderately tolerable, although Deoiridh could already tell that in the gap between the death of the morning wind and the steady afternoon breezes the day was going to be cripplingly hot.

She looked up and caught the eye of Captain Larkin on the other side of the slipway. He smiled, waved, and then went back to cursing out his workers in demotic French, his mangled pronunciation rendering the profanity somehow even more terrible. She shifted her attention to the clean lines of the bow of the Trader's Sloop poised above her. The smell of oak, tar, and fresh caulking filled her nostrils, mingling with the tang of salt and the constant dead fish stench of the dockyard. Out in the harbor, the Lady's Maid swung lazily against her chain; keeping station nearby, her frigate Whiphand, designated escort on account of the cargo of zinc in the Maid's hold, rode serene and newly painted, her rails and rigging filled with watching crew.

Down in the slipway Patrice scrambled across pieces of timber, barrels, expertly avoiding slithering trails of rope before climbing a ladder to join her.

"All is ready," he said, barely out of breath. "We await your pleasure."

She looked around. In addition to Patrice a few of the crew, a more or less permanent escort for her on land now since the attempted abduction, shifted restlessly. From the folds of her dress she removed a large bottle of whisky at the sight of which the crew became suddenly attentive. Grabber sent a gob of expectorant arcing into the slip, narrowly missing one of the workers.

"Aw by all saints, yer not bleedin serious," he muttered. "Bloody disgraceful waste of $%$% liquor if you ask me."

"I don't recall as how anyone did," snapped first-mate Macklin, "So shut yer ipfiquant mouth."

Hefting the weight of the bottle for a moment, Deoridh drew back her arm and hurled it with all her might against the bow of the vessel. As she did so she couldn't repress a smile. Time was she'd have had a hard time breaking a china plate against a stove; now the bottle shattered with a satisfying crunch, dissolving into spiralling shards that played restlessly with the morning light as they rained down into the slip. Impulsively, she threw herself forward, noting Patrice's barely suppressed lunge in her direction and pushed her face into the stream of whisky cascading from the planking. She drank some, but let the rest run through her hair, over her face, drenching her clothing. "Now we belong to one another, you and I" she murmured. Pushing herself back from the bow, she glanced in Namo's direction and nodded. He snapped out orders, the stays were knocked away, and the sloop began to move, reluctantly, then picking up speed toward the water like a thoroughbred released from the stables.

Abruptly she turned and was racing along the length of the slip. "Madame, No!" shouted Patrice, starting after her with a muffled oath. What in the name of God's bollocks was she up to now? She'd been so unpredictable since. . .well, that night. But she halted at the end of the slipway, just as the sloop crashed into the water in a shower of spray and a wave that swept over the top of the slip causing Deoiridh to stumble and fall to her hands and knees. But when Patrice reached her she was laughing with pure delight. "Ah, Patrice, there is nothing like this, the birth of a ship, new life in the world."

The rest of the crew arrived in a group. "Is herself alright?" asked Macklin.

"I'm fine, thank you very much Mr. Macklin."

"What's she to be called, then?" asked one of the seamen?

Deoiridh paused, suddenly serious. "Na Sgoran Fo Cheo," she whispered, then, more forcefully, "Na Sgoran Fo Cheo. It's the language of the old country, of home. It means "The Mist-Covered Mountains""

"Well why didn't ye just call it that then?" demanded Grabber. She turned to look at him.

"Grabber, I'm very sure I must be mistaken, for it sounded indeed as if you were questioning a decision of mine." Her gaze and voice were mild, but Grabber seemed to shrink a good six inches.

"Alls I meant, was to be sayin that it's a bit of a mouthful, is all" he grumbled.

Abruptly, Deoiridh caught sight of Aidan McDiarmid, the only other highland-born member of her crew and was shocked, yet unsurprised, to see tears coursing down his cheeks. A deserter from a British privateer, she had known Aidan only as the most bloodthirsty fighter on the crew; she had seen him do things during a boarding action that could not in safety be recollected beyond the heat of battle. Everyone knew, however, the man had been locked in his own private hell since witnessing the outrage and murder of not only his wife but--a thought barely to be formed--a son not yet breeched, at the hands of pirates. No one was surprised when that hell was unleashed, and all made sure never to prompt its emergence in anything but the common cause. Now he stood there with salt on his face, his eyes far away.

"No, Grabber," she said. "Not a mouthful. A heartful. Na Sgoran Fo Cheo." Turning her back on the sea, she walked back along the slipway. She paused next to Aidan and put a light hand on his shoulder. Without looking at him she said, "Na sgoran fo cheo. No matter where we are sailing, that's always our destination."

Deoiridh D'Alembert, Freetrader.
Merchant Captain of Le Rire de Dieu
out of Belle Isle, New France
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