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 Travelling Light

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

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

PostSubject: Travelling Light   Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:36 pm

October 21, 1719

Hamish McBane
c/- Pascal Trouveville
The Raven’s Rest
Rue du Colonel
Martinique

My Dear Hamish


I hope that you will make allowances for the rather roundabout way that
this letter has reached you. By now you will no doubt have heard of the
fate of the recent abortive attempt to rouse us to arms. The people, as
is their wont, called it, yet again, a “rising,” but the more truthful
among us are already calling it the “little rising.” And methinks even
that a grandiose term to describe the complete destruction of Eilan
Donan, the fiasco at Glen Shiel. As you have so often remarked, my
friend, our curse is our lack of confidence in ourselves. Here again we
waited on the efforts of foreign allies, the clans sitting on their
brains while we waited for the great invasion in the south that never
happened. We pride ourselves on our long memories. Why then could we
not learn from history? It is almost laughable that we seriously
trusted our fate to the prospect of the Spanish trying to sail another
Armada to our shores. Fair weather sailors, the pack of them! Had we
trusted to our own arms and our own leaders, things might well have
been different. Matters here are still in a very delicate state. I
trust you will understand if I say that I cannot go into more detail.
While I trust the contacts through whose hands this letter must pass,
who knows but that they might meet with some deliberate or accidental
misadventure in the course of executing their charge?

I
sincerely hope that this letter finds you well as it has been long
since any of us have had news of you. A letter from Captain Martin
announced you safely delivered at Martinique but that was the last we
heard. My friend, it seems an age since we were shooting together on
Lord Dunmore’s estate and you announced to me your plan to “set up,” as
you put it, in the West Indies. I trust that your little “business
venture” is proceeding profitably, for all our sakes. But we are hungry
for news; in the gloom that has settled over all of us here, the only
light seems to come from our many brethren abroad, their words our only
assurance that the spirit of liberty has not died completely. News from
far away, it seems, is all we have to remind us of happier times long
ago.

Enclosed you will find a sealed letter from one Deoiridh
D’Alembert. While I have no knowledge of the letter’s contents, I have
no doubt that the woman will do an admirable job of introducing her
situation and any additional words from me in that regard would prove
redundant. Nevertheless, I will presume to risk such unnecessary
supplementarity; in my acquaintance with Mrs. D’Alembert I have often
been struck with the reticence, so characteristic of her sex, to
advance the many personal claims that so manifestly recommend her to
those so fortunate to have been able to spend time with her. You will
find her to possess all the usual accomplishments of her sex, to which
she adds the benefits of an extensive education. And far from having
the pernicious effect that education so often has on women of lesser
character, her teaching has had the effect of simply improving her
innate good sense while preserving her modesty and mildness. She
converses as readily in French and Spanish as she does in her native
tongue and possesses an uncommon level of understanding for a woman
when it comes to matters of politics and business. When you add that to
a level of fortitude and initiative that many men would envy, I assure
you that I have no qualms about her ability to undertake the rigors of
a journey to the New World; nor do I doubt that she will delight the
many new friends she makes there to as great an extent as she saddens
those she leaves behind.

I am sending this letter by an
English courier vessel bound for Port Royal; the captain owes me more
than a few favors. Madame. D’Alembert has already left Scotland to take
a somewhat roundabout route to France, whence she has booked passage on
a merchantman. She should be arriving toward the end of this year or
the beginning of the next. I know that your resources in the West
Indies are stretched thin at this point, however I hope that you will
be able to provide accommodations befitting a woman of her age and
state. I am confident that you will find that Madame. D’Alembert has
resources and personal gifts that will more than adequately repay your
investment in her.

I myself am still hopeful of being able to
join you in the not too distant future. However it looks as if my
employers interests may take me in to the belly of the beast, to
London, of all things. At this time, of all times, every bone in my
body revolts at the thought. But there may be other things that I can
accomplish while I am there. At any rate, I look forward to hearing
from you, even a few brief lines, confirming Deoiridh’s safe arrival.
Until such time I remain,

Your obedient servant, and friend,

Duncan Lochartte

Brailton House
Beauly
Inverness-shire
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Deoiridh
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Number of posts : 669
Localisation : Belle Isle (Virginia, US)
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Locations: Belle Isle, New Orleans, Irish Point
Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:37 pm

October 20 1719

My Dear Sir

Mister Lochartte has
generously offered to write a letter that will both introduce me to
your notice and vouch for my character. When you receive this letter I
will be on my way to the West Indies; at present I am about to leave
for France. It is with great sadness that I must confess myself
recently widowed. My husband, Gustave D’Alembert, died suddenly but two
months ago (has it been that long already? It seems only yesterday that
I found him in his office, where he was wont to labor far into the
night, that face on which I used to gaze with rapt attention stricken
with the unmistakable pallor and fixity of death. . .the memory is too
much, forgive me). My husband was a French merchant, who divided his
business interests between here and the Continent. I confess that there
are some difficulties and embarrassments surrounding the settlement of
his estate (due, I hasten to add, not to any lack of integrity on my
husband’s part, but which arise chiefly from the actions of a number of
employees in which he trusted too liberally). Nevertheless, I believe
that I will be able to satisfy all concerned parties once I have
consolidated and disposed of his various assets.

Unfortunately,
this will leave me with very little in the way of resources for my
self; regrettably the complexities of his business enterprises
preoccupied my husband to the extent that he neglected to provide as
fully for my wellbeing should he predecease me as I am sure he would
have wanted to. He did, however, possess several small business
ventures in the West Indies, and I am journeying there to take over
their administration. I imagine that you may well find this an unusual
step for a woman, particularly one whom is well-born, to take. Rest
assured that the perils of the journey do not frighten me, nor the
prospect of encountering a variety of discomforts and vicissitudes upon
my arrival. And in truth, while Inverness-shire will always be my home,
the beauties of my native land hold little appeal for me any more,
associated as they are, ineradicably, with the presence of my husband,
and the many pleasurable times we had there together.

I do not
intend at all to be a burden upon you, sir. I wish only a modest place
to stay until I can put my affairs in order and make a new life for
myself. Mr. Lochartte has mentioned, in the way of conversation, some
of the other interests you possess in the Caribbean, and while it would
be inappropriate to go into those matters in too much detail at this
time, let me just suggest that should my businesses prove as profitable
as I expect, then I would be more than happy to discuss how we might
align our separate interests into a mutual profitability.

With anticipation and ready thanks for your kindness
I remain

Deoiridh D’Alembert
The Soldier’s Rest
Beauly
Inverness-shire
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Deoiridh
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Number of posts : 669
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Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:39 pm

October 23 1719, on board the Ariane

I write simply to take my mind off the unpleasantness of my body; though it is late, everything is tossing and turning. The mal de mer is everything they warned me about, and more; even the sailors admit that this crossing is unusually rough. I think things would go better with me if I could be on deck, but the Captain has firmly insisted that the women—poor, gentle, helpless creatures that we are—stay below, “to be safe.” I think he might revise his definition of what counts as safe after spending an hour in a small cabin with three desperately ill women. The sounds of their suffering surround me even now as they struggle to feign sleep in the hope that it will fool their malady into passing them by. The attempt fails, regularly, accompanied by the sounds the likes of which I can’t bring myself to describe lest I lose my own fragile sense of control; the air in the cabin is hot, close, and sulphurous.

Duncan fulfilled his promise and wrote me a letter of introduction to his good friend Hamish McBane in the West Indies. It was while we were at his residence near Beauly, a modest house, to be sure, but betraying not so much a healthy reticence and lack of show, as an utter lack of imagination. I sat quietly in the drawing room, pretending to be occupied with my needlework, while he wrote. As I had hoped, one of the many interruptions that punctuate his work day occurred and he was called to the parlor to consult with a client. I seized the opportunity and quickly read the almost completed letter. It was both everything I had expected and more than I had hoped. An exceedingly generous letter to be sure and I breathed a sigh of relief that he does not seem to possess (or at least chose not to disclose) those suspicions that I am sure his employer possesses. There may yet be a chance that the public face of my shadows will not follow me to the New World. Can it really be possible to start anew?

At the same time, the letter confirmed what I already had begun myself to suspect: Duncan has formed a strong attachment to me, probably stronger than he is allowing himself to recognize. It is flattering, in the way that all such attentions are flattering, especially to a woman of my age. Yet there is a part of me that feels the injustice of his attentions keenly. I cultivate, unwittingly, the attention of men like Duncan: modest men, sound men, solid men, men of good sense adept at transacting the business of the world. Men without imagination, cold men, shallow men, and men who are carelessly, casually, thoroughly cruel in the way that kindly men always are. The kind of man who seeks to make a woman obliged to him by foreswearing all claim to place her under any obligation. I am sorry for Duncan, obviously, the more so because his inevitable disappointment will barely rise to the level of an awareness that he has been disappointed; it will weave itself into the fabric of his life, becoming another thread in the tapestry of meager expectations with which he surrounds himself.

It is no doubt churlish of me to write this way of a man who has done me much kindness, more kindness than I have received at the hands of many. Yet there is something about Duncan that seems to me to embody the spirit of my country, or at least the part of it I would fain leave behind: a seething superficiality that masquerades as passion, a desire for stability that presents itself as a rage for change. That things need to change in my homeland I have no doubt. That my countrymen, at least the ones left at home, can be the agents of that change, I no longer believe.

And it may well be that Duncan’s awakening will be quite abrupt. He heads to London, where Simon the Fox has taken up residence. Duncan was terribly upset at the fate of the last rising, but I don’t think he yet knows, or admits, the role his employer played in supporting (in the best possible construction) both sides, or, worse still, the cause of Tyranny. Duncan thinks of himself as a faithful employee, bound to execute the will of his employer as efficiently as possible. He doesn’t think he has a choice about whose money he takes. I only hope he is able to secure for the Fox the only thing he really cares about, his lands, and then extricate himself from the man’s clutches as soon as possible. Of course, his time with the heir presumptive to the Lovat title may be a shock in other ways. That the Fox knows the real reasons driving me to flee these shores, and the long chain of misadventures and flawed decisions that led me to this point, I have no doubt. He made it all too plain in our last meeting. That he provided the money for my departure simply indicates that he feels I can be useful elsewhere and more useful to the degree that my sense of obligation grows greater. My desperation, the driving force of my life, undoes every attempt to break free. I hope for Duncan’s sake that the Fox chooses not to share his information.

It is later than I realized when I began this. I do not know what awaits me in France. I will try to wrap up my husband’s affairs as expeditiously as possible. I think I will be able to call in the few favors owing me to ensure that my stay will be brief and as anonymous as possible. The West Indies is also a terra incognita, fascinating and threatening at the same time. Duncan has told me a little of Mr. McBane and his confederates, their ambitions, their plans, but only time will tell whether it is all more than the large talk in which my countrymen are so proficient.

I look around my reeking cabin and I think: all this for freedom, and the slavery that goes with it.
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Deoiridh
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Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:54 pm

October 23 1719

My darling traveller

You know I do so detest letters that commence with an apology; nevertheless it falls to me to employ just such an opening gambit. I know that we agreed upon certain methods of communication, certain safe routes our letters to one another will follow. That I have not followed those in this, my first letter to you since our farewell you may be tempted to put down to my character as sketched so often by my slight acquaintance: light and forgetful, flighty, unable to follow basic instructions.

But it is only urgency that forces me to send this letter by regular mail in the hopes that it will be waiting at the solicitor's office when you arrive in Paris. I do not know if the man can be trusted; he was your husband's solicitor after all. And if he reads that last. . .oh dear, my mind runs with so many awful possibilities that I find myself distracted from my news and I will think myself into silence.

I have just this morning had a visit from that dreadful man. And oh my sister, I think he knows. He knows everything! More I cannot commit to paper; but this will suffice between us.

He called on me after Lawrence had left to visit with one of his patients. As you can probably imagine he was all unctious courtesy. Few people I'm sure would have found anything to quarrel with in the content of his address: his solicitous concern for my health, his delicately phrased allusion to our family's recent loss, tasteful observations on the paintings in the parlor. But you know the man, and you know how his words are all bubbling surface, all the force and direction of his intent hidden in the murky manner of his address.

You will be pleased, no doubt, to know that he expressed a "sincere" hope that you would have good weather for your voyage! The conversation turned inevitably to your husband's passing and--I still shudder to think of the way the dreadful certainty stole over me, like the clammy stillness of a highland fog--that he was in possession of certain private correspondences describing the last moments of Monsier d'Alembert. It is always a pity when the world has to part prematurely with a such a good Christian (those were his exact words), and he would be sorely missed. You know his manner of speaking. You can imagine the slight, deliberate hesitation before he uttered the word "prematurely."

You would have been proud of me; I was always the better actress! I responded as civilly, seriously, and lightly as would be expected of a woman in my position. I do not think he knows how much I know.

Yet his intention was plain. He knows I will write to you immediately and tell you of his visit. And how it sickens me to give the man the satisfaction of his plan. And yet you must know.

My sister, my dearest Ri, please, please be careful. You know I was not convinced by this "plan" of yours to travel to the Carribean, and my feeling that it is a rash hope at best has not changed. Yet I cannot but wish you as far as possible from that man's conniving, grasping reach.

I miss your company so much already that it pains me to wish you even further away. The world grows emptier by the minute. Please write. Please.

Your devoted sister

Alanna
57 Harcourt Close
City of Westminster
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Deoiridh
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Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:27 pm

October 27 1719

Dearest Alanna

Finding your letter waiting for me at Monsier Salpace's chambers immediately filled me with a mixture of emotions. It was an unlooked for pleasure, especially after the last few days (the North Sea passage is nothing like even the worst Channel crossing; it is not a journey for the faint of heart but useful preparation, I imagine, for the longer seagoing journey that awaits me). At the same time, however, it reminded me yet again of how important your letters have always been for me, but particularly so of late--and how I will soon not have the luxury of such frequent and timely communication.

Regrettably, your news does not come as a shock to me. The Fox paid me a personal visit only three days before my departure and as in your interview with him, he insinuated much while saying very little. Mulling over our conversation afterward I would like to have convinced myself that he had suspicions only, and was trying to trick me into revealing more. But the presumptive Lord Lovat is not a man who acts on mere suspicions.

I smiled at your comment about your acting talents, my love. I was sorely tempted to play the role of the grieving (and aggrieved) widow and respond with a scandalized air to his gross effrontery. This, however, would simply have confirmed all for him. Conniving and grasping the Fox may be; easily fooled he is not. Nor did I insult his intelligence nor my own by taking refuge in pleasantries. "I would remind you sir," I said to him, "That no one knew my husband better than I. His death was regrettable." And that, apart from a brief dismissal on my part and a civil departure on his, was that.

Rest assured that there have, as yet, been no consequences from his visit. I have thought about it and believe also that this is not an indicator that he is not aware of all or most of the details, but simply that he has not figured how to use the information to his advantage.

I am so very sorry that he saw fit to involve you. As you say, his intent was to ensure that others were aware of his knowledge, and probably, as you say, to ensure this information was transmitted back to me. It does trouble me, however, the thought that his target may not be me, or even you, but Lawrence. We both know Lawrence is a man who prizes his position in the world very highly. Such men are vulnerable to even the hint of rumor and innuendo. I hope for your sake that the Fox's quarry is myself.

By the way, you shouldn't concern yourself that your letter will have fallen into unfriendly hands. Like you, I trust Monsier Salpace hardly at all given his close friendship with my husband and an extensive involvement in his affairs. However I do trust Madame Salpace, a valuable friend in this city and a woman whose friendship is further secured through being in debt to me for several favors. She is watching her husband's mail and securing any communication intended for me.

With the help of those few Paris friends who survived the determined efforts of my husband I have satisfied all remaining creditors and disposed of Monsieur D'Alembert's few remaining commercial holdings. I have secured a small sum for myself, enough to secure my passage to the New World, and to provide for myself for some months. Regrettably, information on my husband's financial holdings in the Carribean is more limited than I would like. That news will, I am sure, confirm you in your feeling that I am embarked upon a fool's errand! And I can still say nothing more to reassure you than that somehow this massive leap of faith just feels right to me, something I have to do.

You'll be pleased to learn that I have secured temporary lodging at least in Guadeloupe. Your letters can reach me at a tavern (a tavern! I have shocked you again, I think!) called The Albatross. It has been recommended to me by Duncan as a gathering place for members of a group called the Highland Confederacy, a band (I sincerely hope) of likeminded malcontents.

The next time I write, it will be from the far side of the world.

Your devoted sister

Deoridh
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:30 pm

October 30, 1719
Aboard the Soleil de l'Ouest
Anchored off Le Havre

It is a relief finally to be settled somewhere again, even if it is a space no bigger than a closet that I must share with three other women. Women, each of whose characters appears decidedly questionable. But our first acquaintance is only just past, and I dare say they have formed the same opinion from my own appearance so I'm sure we will get along just fine. It occurred to me, looking at my new companions, that while most men head for the New World, a spirit of adventure pulling them along, women journey thither to escape from something, one or another species of shame propelling them from their pasts.

My journey from Paris. . .ugh, I can barely think on it. A shamefully cramped coach, and most of the way my only companion a merchant smelling of whisky and a sickly camouflaging cologne. He spoke little but cast frequent, surreptitious glances and my chest and smoked at every opportunity. It will take me an age to get the smell out of my clothes and longer still to get his eyes out of my skin.

It rained constantly, rendering the French countryside I have known and loved invisible or bathing it in murky squalor. The country of France is, I must say, playing its part in my grand design, conspiring to keep me unsentimental. There is nothing that will stay with me from this final journey except a sense of fuzzy greyness, as if my past has simply been erased.

If only it were that simple.

A friend of mine when I was younger, an eminent French philosophe, then much older than me and now sadly departed, once told me that there was a difference between memories and the power of recollection. Recall is whas we in some sense choose to put away and recover. But memories are those things that enter, often unbidden, into the texture of our being, and once there they don't remain as they are but continue their own lives; growing, changing, laughing all the while with the knowlege that when they erupt unbidden--a certain scent, the feel of a particular fabric--we take them as holy writ (such blasphemy was, with him, routine, but without the intention to be deliberately shocking evident in so many of his younger colleagues). So I guess that I will have many recollections of this trip to France. My time here has been well spent and I have gathered much information that should prove useful, all of it carefully catalogued and correlated; my husband often said that I had a book-keeper's mind, a remark that was not always kindly meant. But I suspect that my memories from this trip--and it is a kind of mercy--will be only an overwhelming impression of grey. I can only hope that my life is moving toward color.

Awaiting me in Paris was a letter from Alanna. I contained the unwelcome news that she has been contacted directly by the Fox, and his suspicions are fully aroused; the majority of them fall upon me, yet I don't think Alanna realizes the danger she is in. I tried to warn her without causing too much alarm. I well know how brave my sister is, but her courage is all in the instant of action against the known; just as developed, unfortunately, is a capacity for panic after fretful anticipation of the not-yet and the might-never-be.

Her concern for me is obvious. She addressed me by the pet name she formed for me as a young child, Ri, something she only does when she is either very happy or very worried.

Unfortunately, I know she has little cause to be happy. Not for the first time I wonder how a woman who was able to rise above the limits of our education and upbringing to act so decisively on my behalf, to save not just my body but my immortal soul even at the expense of imperilling her own, should be so incapable of acting to better her own situation. A situation that I have come to appreciate more recently during my recent visit to Paris (myself I am not sure how much she actually knows, although she cannot be blind) to the extent that my guilt is now compounded. I leave the country to save my sister, yet I am abandoning her at the time when I am one of the few people she can turn to. That a woman so capable and determined to change my life should shy away from taking her own destiny in hand--should, indeed, avert her eyes so insistently from the true circumstances of her life--I confess I would not understand it at all. . .had I not been a similar creature a short time ago.

Perhaps the grey that surrounds me is indicative of something else, a kind of formlessness. I am no longer what I was and it is not entirely clear what I will become.

The sound of boots on the deck overhead, the creak of timbers (a sound, oddly, that I am beginning to like), muffled calls of the sailors as they talk to their invisible fellows across the water. Everyone waiting for the tide to turn.

Tomorrow, at last, there will be no turning back.
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Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
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PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:58 pm

January 4 1720
Aboard the Soleil de l'Ouest
In the port of Biloxi

It seems I only have the time to write in my journal these days on the eve of a departure. My life is so full of the doing of it nowadays, and it leaves little time for reflecting on things. I own that it take some getting used to; my previous life (already it feels like a life lived in a different world) was all reflection with such a limited range of action available to me that half the time I feel as if I am constantly short of breath.

I had anticipated being settled amongst the French colonies in the West Indies some weeks prior to this, but the sea had other plans. Our journey was all but over when we encountered a storm possessed of the kind of ferocity about which I have only ever read. It transpired that it was one of the hurricanes to which this region is so prone. Our captain, experienced in the weather of these parts, read the signs aright when we were still able to influence our own destiny, and we were able to skirt the worst of it. But our experience was still a fearful one. The ship pitched so violently that people were thrown against one another; some husbands tied their wives into their bunks to avoid them being injured, although what would have happened to those poor women had we foundered I shudder to think. Anything not lashed down was flung about as if being used in a game by mischievous imps. The ship groaned with every roll, thudding into the trough of every wave as if striking hard against the bottom of the ocean itself, water poured down hatchways as the crew took turns on deck and manning the pumps below. The torment continued so long that the screaming of people gradually gave way to intermittent sobs from the women and children, occasional muttered imprecations from the men, all of it a vague murmur against the shriek of the wind. Many of the passengers had fouled themselves most dreadfully in their fear and the smell below decks does not bear description. There wasn't a single moment, for three days straight, that I wasn't in mortal fear of losing my life.

And yet, I was at the same time oddly exhilarated. It struck me with the force of a spiritual revelation when the storm finally ceased, and we were allowed up on deck, trying not to look at one another in shame of our previous terror. . .it came to me that I am in love with the sea. I look back on my previous journal entries bemoaning the seasickness, the cramped quarters. . .and yet now I know I will be loathe to quit this ship when we finally reach our destination. I have learned so much already on this voyage. The sailors are a superstitious lot and not happy about having any women on board the ship, as is the way of most of their kind, I understand. But the captain and the master and some few of the nautically experienced gentlemen have indulged my curiosity about the mechanics of sailing, often with an air of great condescension, but if the knowledge is sound I care not how I come by it.

The sea, as I have so recently learned, is terrible and unforgiving. It is harsh and unyielding nature that suffers our presence only reluctantly. And yet it does not pretend to be anything else. Unlike the perverse human world, it is simply what it is in its nature to be. That we don't understand that nature fully, and often mistake our judgments. . .the misfortunes that follow cannot be laid at the door of the sea, which in any case cares not a whit for our suffering. The sea is the closest thing I have yet experienced to hearing the voice of the implacable, merciless, disinterested God that presides over the universe. I feel comfortable amongst the vicissitudes of the salty depths in ways that I have never felt comfortable on land.

Having survived the storm, albeit at the price of being blown way of our course, we made landfall at the port of Biloxi (how the names here fall so strangely on my ear and come even more reluctantly to my tongue). Our repairs complete, and some few passengers too shaken to contemplate more sea voyaging now disembarked, we are ready to depart. The sea cooperating, I should be in Fort du France in a week where I hope that I may yet be able to meet up with representatives of the Confederacy. When I left Scotland, I anticipated the Confederacy would serve me as little more than a few fellows from home to provide me with temporary shelter. But much has changed in the weeks of the voyage, changed within me. Now I begin to contemplate a greater task ahead of me and am eager to ascertain the measure of these men who would set themselves against the might of the British empire, and do it so far from all that is known and dear. I wonder if it is possible for orphans such as myself to learn to make a new kind of family?
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Locations: Belle Isle, New Orleans, Irish Point
Production: Shot, Cannons, Fittings, Powder, Unrest Supplies
Requirements: Saltpeter, Limestone, Doubloons

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:21 pm

January 29 1720
23 Place Du Chien Jaune
Belle Isle

Dearest Alanna

Yes, I know you will laugh at the quaint name of my new abode but I swear to you that it is true; people really do name places after mangy dogs in this part of the world. At any rate, you can write to me here for the forseeable future; managing my business ventures means that I am often traveling, but this is the address of my offices. I have two rooms to myself above the office; small, but all I require. I live more on my ship at the moment in any case.

You heard me, my dear sister. My ship! I have become a merchant captain. Incredible, I know. I have men under my command, men who take orders from a woman! Not any woman, mind you; we're in the New World but it is the same world after all. Only one they respect, and what I had to do to earn that. . .well, it's a long story, and one for another time. I hope for this letter to catch the the early packet to Port-au-Paix and thence across the seas.

I have a number of. . .well, business acquaintances, as good a term as any, here. They are a rough, unusual lot, but honest, at least after the fashion of the world. But I am glad to be part of such a company, because this is a turbulent place indeed. Why, on one of my first nights here one of the Confederacy's ships was burned at the wharf. As yet we have no idea who perpetrated such a deed. That was my first introduction to the Confederacy. That was the night I met a Monsieur Bontecou, a charming, courtly man, whose civility does not quite mask the fact that he keeps his true thoughts and motives very close. I have since joined him for dinner at his residence--yes, such behavior for a respectable woman is not at all looked down upon here--a wonderful meal, every bit the equal of the finest I have had in Paris. It was very easy to forget that our first introduction had been the Monsieur pointing a pistol at me and accusing me of being a spy!

I am only half-heartedly trying to shock you my dear; we both know that I have endured worse. But these people are no fools. I did think I might have to tell them the story, but it has not yet come to that.

And I have no reason, I assure you, to think that it might. I tell you, my sister, I feel a lightness that I have not felt in years. Life is a struggle here, but meaningful in a way that it had long ago ceased to be for me. I feel that I can be someone here, make something of myself. My romanticism is alive again and warring with my pragmatism. Because I have no illusions; this is a violent place, rent and torn by politics and the only slightly less bloody vicissitudes of commerce. I know the smell of slowmatch. . .and of blood. I have watched men die. My orders have caused the death of others. Pirates, I hasten to add, lawless brigands deserving of little mercy. . .that's the conventional view, of course. It is hard not to feel that they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. We know how that goes, you and I.

But I am happy. Some days I am almost giddy. That doesn't sound like your sister, perhaps, at least not as she has been for many years. But in other respects I have not changed.

I am, as always, your loving sister,

Deoiridh
Merchant Captain
L'Oiseu
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Deoiridh
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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

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:11 pm

January 3 1720

Dearest Pilgrim

Having heard nothing for so long would be reason enough for one sister to write to another; how much more so for two such as we, joined at the heart. But dear Ri, I write with an even greater urgency than your everpresent absence, so uncomfortably like the emptiness of grief, affords me. It seems that we were overconfident that the Fox was, in his endless duplicity and the caution of his cunning, not like other men, that he would delay and defer endlessly in a situation were he could not see any clear advantage. But no man likes being thwarted. And a thwarted man is the most dangerous of men.

You know it was always my manner to dither and delay against the moment where I must profess news of an unsavory or distressing character. But I say plainly now: I fear our best efforts have come to nought, and you are in great danger. You are now widely, if not yet publically, spoken of as the woman who killed her husband. You are called murderess, unnatural, viper. . .and a thousand other names that I cannot bear to repeat. The story circulates as rumor and innuendo, without ever quite rising to a declaration that would demand the satisfaction of evidence. That alone has all the marks of the Fox's handiwork. I have no proof, nothing that I could defend confidently before a magistrate, but I flatter myself that I am a woman of no mean observation and, despite what men say, a creature of powerful reason.

It started, as I recall, with a visit from Duncan, early last month. He was all kindness and asked to be remembered particularly to you in my next letter, and there, I have discharged that duty. But he was as a man carrying a great weight. His legal responsibilities for the Fox have aged him; he seems like a swimmer suddenly feeling the depth beneath him. For his own sake I wish that the Fox might secure his blasted estate and have done with it. Yet his kindness could not mask his nervousness; I think he was trying to warn me of something but he couldn't bring himself to the point (perhaps too much the lawyer yet, although that is uncharitable). He mentioned the Fox had been insistent in questioning him about you, inquiries that he did his best to defer. However the Fox had acquired knowledge of contacts within the Confederacy and Duncan learned that he was intending to write to them. Duncan had no doubt that it had to do with you, and he knows the Fox well enough not to doubt that it could be to no good end. I believe Duncan may have tried his best to help you by providing the Fox with false information about some kind of leadership dispute in the Confederacy? It made no sense to me, doubtless it will perhaps make sense to you.

It distresses me to have to acknowledge that my dear Lawrence is party to these rumors and while his natural delicacy forbids him from discussing them openly with me, I catch him looking at me sometimes when he thinks I am otherwise occupied. I see what he is thinking. Wondering if it runs in the family. I know you two have never been close, but please do not think badly of him. Indeed, I fear the hand of the Fox in this also; Lawrence is often in the company of one James Lamont these days, a name that will not be unknown to you. I have heard you talk many times of him as a man in the employ of Simon Fraser.

I find myself thinking often of our childhood games in the Highlands. The quality of the light. It always amused us, even as children, when Father's visitors from the south would complain about the gloom, the mist, the dullness. But we learned to appreciate subtlety, the gradation of tone in the heather, the dense solidity of the mountains, the hundreds of different textures hidden in the mist. Do you remember the summer when we visited with Aunt Poillaidh? The cottage she had near Drumnadrochit, the one that burned during the Winter of 02? When was it that we visited. 94? It was after the Grants had abandoned the Urquhart castle, that much I remember, for we played ladies of the court every day atop its walls. Or at least I did. You persisted in wanting to play the knight, as I remember, and I wouldn't take you seriously until you fought off those two boys who tried to share the castle with us. Perfectly nice boys, as I recall, but you would have none of it. You would get lost in your game, sometimes, so much so that perhaps you don't remember even now. But you would go off on your own, inhabiting a glorious adventure in your own mind. Not that it bothered me in the slightest; you know I loved to watch your wildness at work. But sometimes when you were off somewhere, present to me only by the crashes and shouts of you vanquishing our enemies, I would sit and stare at the waters of the loch, wondering at their depth, watching the strange delicate, movements of the surface, the waves so unlike those near Beauly. I always had the impression that the loch was thinking, somehow. Pondering its place in the world. Silly I know. But I long for that tranquility these days. Perhaps I will have the chance to take a family there, as Lawrence has decided that the time is right for us to try again to receive the blessing of a child.

I know I am rambling. Forgive me. It's just that we, or at least I, always believed that you would one day be able to return, my Ri. It is hard for me to admit that the possibility is now remote at best.

You will, however, never leave me.

I am, for always, your sister

Alanna
57 Harcourt Close
City of Westminster
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Deoiridh
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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

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:39 pm

February 6 1720
Aboard Le Ris du Dieu

I am a woman of not inconsiderable experience. I have felt the stings the world repeatedly delivers the unwary. I should have known better.

I sit here staring at the letter from my sister. I can almost see on the notepaper in front of me the impression of my own letter so recently dispatched to her, our words crossing the seas in opposite directions. And I am sickened by what she will read, the ravings of a thoughtless child. She will think that my travails have completely unhinged my reason.

Ultimately, however, that is nothing. Her letter contains terrible news, the worst news. News that she does not want to tell me. And I can do nothing. I can't be there. I took an oath never to feel this helpless again. And here I am.

Burn me for a heretic, chastise me for an apostate. But I am face to face now with the hollowness of a universe confirmed devoid of direction. Our lives are only a narrow mockery of control.
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Deoiridh
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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

PostSubject: Re: Travelling Light   Fri May 01, 2009 10:23 pm

February 14, 1720

My Dear Mrs. Brockville

I sincerely hope this letter finds you in the very best of health. As you may imagine, this side of the world is very different in so many respects from the old country. I have seen so much, done so many things I never envisaged I would ever undertake. My former life seems almost like a dream. . .a not altogether pleasant dream, as you well know. Yet I recall your dear face with the utmost clarity. Scarce a week goes by that I do not wonder what you and the dear children are doing. Fiona must be almost eight by now! I hope they enjoy the sugar cane; it is a popular treat here, and there are countless creative ways of hardening the sugar. I trust that you will make good use of the calico; it is the very best in the Caribbean. I have also made provision to send you a shipment of cochineal; it should fetch a pretty price with the dyers in London, but I thought it safer to send it as part of a merchant convoy rather than with the courier vessel. I should mention as well that you may trust the man who bears this message and the goods with your confidence and any business you would see fit to have him perform. As a loyal associate of the Confederacy he can be trusted implicitly; he also has no desire to make himself widely known in London.

While I heartily desire that I should have no other purpose in writing than to recommend myself to your love, you will perhaps not be surprised to learn that matters are more complicated. I find that I must rely on your expertise again, to enlist you in the old campaign against our common foe. Alanna wrote me recently and you will be pleased to know she is very well. . .for now. My sister, the consummate actress, has never been able to lie to me. After many evasions and substitutions she finally confessed that Lawrence is once again insisting they initiate proceedings to start a family.

You know well the cost of that man's selfishness. Alanna does also, but she can refuse him nothing. Her sense of loyalty and duty, of which I am a such signal and material beneficiary, will kill her. Once again, therefore,I must prevail upon you to exercise your talents and provide him with a winning diversion. Your own sense of discretion is legendary, as is that of those whom you recruit, and should the fish take hook then Lawrence's own hypocritical sense of propriety can be relied upon to keep the material proof of it absent from his wife's ears. At my request you have achieved as much in the past; you can do so again. This time, however, I fear we must do more. Lawrence is a fine representative of his sex: it is sons, sons, sons, a daughter at a pinch, but the river of familial bloodline must flow unchecked. Therefore you will need to find a very special companion for him, one who relishes the thought of being got with child. Such will not be cheap, I know, but you should find the purse my man carries will more than suffice. The man will not leave off my sister until he has brought forth his likeness into the world. I think he will not much care which side of the blanket it appears as long as it does so in a timely fashion.

You need not provide me with further correspondence pertaining to this matter, although I as usual look forward to your letters, although I know you are often busy and have so little time to write as the children get older. Further correspondence from my sister will let me know whether or not you have been successful. Were I there I would take care of matters myself, although I think it not a coincidence that Lawrence chooses to renew his campaign believing me safely out of the country. My dearest Mary, I need you to act for me in a place where I cannot, to save the life and preserve the wellbeing of one of God's own angels. I look forward to your speedy and deliberate assistance and remain

Your friend,

Deoridh
Belle Isle, Lousiana Territory

P.S. I now remember me of a factor that may or may not prove to be a complication. Lawrence has fallen into the company of one James Lamont, an associate of the Fox. I do not know if this association be by chance or design, nor what influence it may have upon your endeavours. But pray, keep a sharp lookout for Mr. Lamont. I have never met him, but he was known to my husband, and even he would have no dealings with the man.

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