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 Drastic Measures

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PostSubject: Drastic Measures   Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:49 am

Seamus knelt at the church's railing and bowed his head but his thoughts spun around denying him the solace of a brief prayer.
Crossing himself he looked around the darkened room to insure privacy.
Seamus made his way into the confessional and began the familar ritual after the priests window opened.
"Forgive me father for i have sinned, It's been two months since my last confession." The gentle tone of the voice that issued from the window took Seamus aback for a moment. "What are your sins my son?"
"Sadly father they number far more than they should but it is one sin in particular that vexes me at the moment."
After a pause the priest spoke once more. "What sin is this that weighs upon your head my son?" Taking a deep breath Seamus spoke quietly.
"Father, If you had a friend who was too fond of his wine would you feel obligated to do all you could to help?"
The Priests response was measured, almost flat suddenly with a barely audible sigh serving as it's preface.
"Is it not said we are our brothers keepers?"
Seamus smiled to himself in the booths darkness. "Would you say that father if you knew your friend would have to be dragged away from the wine kicking and screaming?" The priest responded immediatly "I would say it even more then my son." Now Seamus had reached the part he'd been worried about. "So let me ask you father, would you still say it if it were Celestine?" The priests gasp echoed among the empty churchs walls for just a moment before he started stammering. "I have n--n-no idea whom y-y-you speak of." If Seamus hadn't felt sorry for the poor man he would have laughed at his sudden ineloquence. "Have no fear father i meant what i said before and i apologize for the misdirection." As the priests breathing returned to normal Seamus continued. "Father you know as well as i that she can't go on much longer in the state she's in, I have a plan but i'm going to need your help."
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:01 pm

"You are looking for me," the queen stated matter of factly, slipping out of the shadows surrounding the stairs of the tavern.

Seamus seemed a touch startled by her sudden appearance, but quickly recovered. "I've been thinking about some of the things we've discussed as of late," he said.

The queen yawned, disinterestedly. "And?"

"I tried to talk sense into her last night. And when that did not work, I tried to anger her, but again I could light no fire within her," Seamus told the queen. "She has to be saved from her damn fool self."

"I told you this already," the queen sighed. "Was it so hard to believe?"

"Well, you'll just have to forgive me for ascertaining it myself before acting," Seamus replied with an unpleasant edge to his voice. "I was hoping that some of her old spark might be rekindled."

"Ah, yes, good move with all that. Dragging up the memory of her dead... whatever they were." The queen waved her hand dismissively. "Certainly focusing her on what ails her most was going to generate results, hmm?" she laughed coldly.

"She's been running from it too long as it is," Seamus defended.

"Such is her nature. Or, rather, what has been allowed to become her nature." The queen sighed. "I suppose it is my own failing, for choosing to intervene so late."

Seamus paused for a moment, not knowing quite what to make of that statement, and eventually deciding to ignore it for the moment. "I have made arrangements to isolate her, and can be ready as soon as I can distract deMontfort with some fool's errand to avoid his interference," he continued.

"Do not trouble yourself with deMontfort. Leave that much to me. There is a threat I have yet to make good on," the queen offered menacingly.

"Do you intend to kill him?" Seamus inquired.

"You wouldn't mind if I did."

"Not that I so much disapprove. I had just wanted the pleasure myself. A shame I'll be too busy to attend."

"Yes, quite the shame. A pity I can't handle the duties personally as well, but I have trust in my associate. If deMontfort returns from his business in Orleans intact, I would be much... surprised." The queen smiled.

Seamus nodded. "Then all that is left is the matter of finding a discreet apothecary. I'll require sedatives and purgatives. I assume you might know of one hereabouts?"

"I have one on retainer. I'll send him your way if we are finished here. He'll provide anything you need. And if he doesn't, kill him."

Seamus took a deep breath. "There is one last thing I'd like to remind you of," he said.

"Oh?" The queen raised an eyebrow.

"I am not your creature in this. I am here for Chantilly."

The queen laughed. "And what will you do if things turn sour once your little debt is finally paid, and she no longer wants your sword by her side?"

"I think after I've helped her regain a life, it won't be the last I see of her. Hell, if she railed and threw me out of her sight, I'd be glad to see her backbone returning," Seamus replied defiantly.

"I hope you keep that attitude. This will not be easy," the queen chided.

"I'm already familiar with the withdrawal symptoms," Seamus answered.

"It might turn out a bit differently than what you'd expect. Beyond the natural responses of the body, her mind will finally be forced to adjust to dealing with the visions." The queen looked at Seamus, with a hint of sadness lining her face. "I trust that you will not be undertaking this alone?"

"I have... reinforcements. And I intend to have her well restrained so that no one else gets hurt."

"See that you do. You may want to consider gagging her as well, for her greatest weapon will be words. I do not fully trust your ability to handle every thing she might say to you."

Seamus shrugged. "As long as it is that little bottle doing the talking, I won't be listening."

"She will be in a great deal of pain, after her mind's eye is fully uncovered for the first time. It is a... natural byproduct of our condition." The queen closed her eyes for a moment, as if recollecting. "When she speaks, I very much doubt it will be the laudanum's doing."

"So... she won't find peace after this?" Seamus asked uncertainly, doubting for a moment his role.

"You put words in my mouth, O'Flynn," the queen snapped. "She will have to find her own peace. Just be aware that all you and I are doing is saving her from herself."

Seamus sighed. "Well, angels and devils aren't my forte. But sobering someone up, I've been though that before."

The queen nodded. "If you are truly prepared to begin, deMontfort has already departed for Orleans as per his regular business, and my associate will be meeting him there."

"Then I will call upon Chantilly for some dinner this very evening," Seamus replied.

"Good luck to you, then. I would hope that you won't need it... but I know that you will." The queen gave a knowing smile and walked out.
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:59 pm

The note was sudden. Uncharacteristic. "Before you leave town, please come and see me. I'd like to catch up. In Christ, Father Carvell." The reversal of roles - him seeking her, and not the way around - was confusing and troubling. The minute she'd been handed the letter by her personal assistant on her way back to the ship, she'd felt the twinge of another horrible vision, reminiscent of her time with the Umbra, only the pain... She shook her head as if to dislodge the thought of it, and instinctively took a sip from her bottle of opium tincture. It was running dangerously low again, she noted. All the more reason to get on her way back to Pensacola as soon as possible, but she knew she could not refuse the old priest's request in good conscience. He had always been good to her. Surely she could pretend for a little while that things had improved since they'd parted ways. She put on her signature black hat to cover the gray hairs that would threaten to betray her lies and made her way through the streets to the church she knew so well, and quietly went inside.

"Chantilly... I am pleased to see you," Father Carvell greeted her immediately. He had been waiting in the foyer, his face a strange mixture of expectant joy and nerves.

"It is good to see you as well, Father," Chantilly answered. "And... it is good to be home again."

The priest gave a smile, but Chantilly noticed it was tighter than normal, nearly forced. "Come in, child. We'll talk in the study," he ushered her in, taking her by the arm to lead her through the church. Chantilly noted with some dismay the stripped altar and covered crosses, the Lenten season taking its toll on what was already a modest sanctuary on even its best festival days. The place seemed almost as a graveyard, as dead as Christ himself, and the father's palpable anxiety only heightened the dismal environment.

They both entered the study and Father Carvell closed the door behind them. Chantilly could not help but utter a small gasp of surprise to see a wine bottle on the priest's desk, freshly opened, with two glasses already poured. "Father... wine? During this season?" Chantilly asked in disbelief.

"Well... I figured God would forgive a special occasion..." the priest mumbled a bit with a sheepish shrug, picking up one of the glasses and taking a drink.

"Seeing me is a special occasion?" Chantilly sat in a chair opposite the desk and took a sip from her own glass. The wine had a brash aftertaste, and she instinctively made a distasteful face after swallowing. "Father, this is possibly the worst drink I have ever tasted," she teased lightly.

"All the more reason to help me get rid of it," Father Carvell replied.

Chantilly gave a small laugh, then threw back her head and finished the glass quickly. "There... I've helped," she said, wiping her mouth. "Now throw the rest out."

"Perhaps I'll inflict it on the particularly sinful parishioners instead..." the priest said, the first hints of a genuine smile finally showing through, but it quickly faded as they both fell into an awkward silence. The sun was hanging low in the sky, and it seemed to Chantilly that the room was getting darker by the minute - or was it her imagination? She wasn't sure.

"Father... why did you ask me here?" Chantilly finally asked. "It isn't to catch up, is it."

The priest sighed. "I must admit that I have heard some... rumors... as to how you are doing these days. A lot of time spent in taverns. And your constant laudanum use."

"I'm here for a lecture?" Chantilly abruptly cut him off. "Father, you kicked me out of here. I don't think you really have any right to tell me how I should be coping anymore."

"I thought you were ready to rejoin the world. Getting accepted back into the Confederacy was the best thing that I could imagine for you. But you aren't thriving at all. Chantilly, look at yourself."

Chantilly scoffed dismissively. "There's nothing wrong with me."

"You're practically skeletal these days. Are you even eating? Sleeping? And your hair..." Chantilly noted with horror that a loose strand of her graying hair had fallen out of the hat, dangling just behind her ear and within the priest's full vision. "Chantilly, you're dying. Why?"

"You wouldn't understand," Chantilly replied defensively.

The priest blinked. "What wouldn't I understand? After all we've been through together?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize that your visions had gotten your friends killed, and that those who are left are in constant danger of the same fate. Please, tell me all about that," Chantilly snapped sarcastically.

"Chantilly -"

"You're as bad as Seamus. Just..." Chantilly had tried to stand to leave and storm out, but found her muscles unwilling, her body limp.

The priest bowed his head. "I'm sorry for this, my child. I am so sorry," he whispered.

"What did... why..." Chantilly mumbled breathlessly before her head finally dropped to one side, having fallen asleep where she sat.

The priest rose and opened the door to the study, where Seamus stood there waiting. "She's ready now," the priest said quietly.


Last edited by Chantilly on Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:02 pm

Once Father Carvell had opened the door and Seamus saw Chantilly slumped over in a chair he turned to the crewmen behind him.
"Liam you and the others get her on the stretcher so we can get moving."
While the sailors made ready Seamus took it upon himself to remove Chantilly's sword belt and pistol, then the slim stiletto from her left sleeve, then the small throwing knife from her right boot, and finally the tiny but wicked punch dagger concealed in the watch pocket of her waistcoat.
Both the sailors and the priest watched the growing pile of steel at Seamus' feet with everwidening eyes.

"That should be all of them." Seamus said as he rose motioning for one of his crew to collect Chantilly's gear.
As she was layed on the stretcher Seamus quickly examined her to make sure she was breathing properly. Quickly taking his place in the lead of the small party he paused in front of Father Carvell.
"I'm sorry i had to drag you into this Father but for the life of me i couldn't fathom any other to handle her that wouldn't have endangered her."
A wee smile passed over the priests features. "Fear not for me my son, You'll likely need my prayers once she awakens so know that i'll be saying a Mass for the both of you." Father Carvell gave Seamus a blessing as he led the party into the dark night of St.Augustine.

With the help of Father Carvell, Seamus had rented a fairly large sized but run down farmhouse on the outskirts of the settled area around the city.
The carriage ride to thier destination was uneventful except for Chantilly
tossing and turning then murmering in her sleep startling them all.
On arrival Seamus sprang back into action. "Right let's get her moved in lads, Liam you're in charge of getting her into the downstairs bedroom."
The sailor saluted and quickly the stretcher bearers took Chantilly where they'd been ordered to.

Seamus called for his steward. "Dupre!" As was his custom the valet practically appeared in front of Seamus. Dupre saluted with a smile. "What are your orders Captain?" Pacing the room he went over his preparations mentally. "Dupre, you stocked all the provisions and gear i ordered? Any problems i need to be apprised of?"
The valets smile grew bigger. "Yes Captain everything is in order with the provisioning, and i've already had the surgeon collect his things and move into one of the upstair bedrooms." Seamus took Dupre's hand and shook it rendering the man speechless for a moment.
"Dupre you've outdone yourself and on such short notice, Well done indeed." Seamus checked the time and rebuked himself for taking so much of it double checking work he knew was done already. As he made his way to the downstairs bedroom he spoke back over his shoulder to his men. "Liam, set the watch afterwards Dupre open a couple of bottles of my best wine for you and the lads, Careful though i don't want any drunkards about tonight.' Both men saluted. "Aye Aye Sir!"

In the bedroom he walked over to the bed where Chantilly had been deposited checking on the padded cotton and leather restraints she was already bound with. As she slept Seamus' mind was certain he was doing the right thing by Chantilly but his heart railed at him in silence damning him for his betrayal no matter how minor, no matter how helpful in the end. After the span of six hours Chantilly's eyes started to flutter open.
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:03 am

The first sense of awareness came when she realized her body was still immobile. What was in that damnable wine? She tried again to bend herself skyward - this time realizing that it wasn't her own muscles that were betraying her wishes, but the feel of taut straps pushing back against her limbs. She jerked her head around. Where the hell is -

Her thoughts stopped short when her eyes settled on the sight of Seamus' silhouette sitting a short distance from where she had been imprisoned in bed. No. He hadn't. He wouldn't. "What did you do..." she asked, her dry throat making the question hiss. He looked at her then, his face conflicted, but said nothing. "What did you do!?" she asked again, this time managing to find her voice, yelling at the man.

"I have to do this, Chantilly," Seamus replied quietly.

"No. No. You don't." Chantilly began to wrestle violently with the leather straps to no avail, then screamed in frustration. "This isn't your choice, Seamus! This was MY choice!"

"I would not stand by and let you poison yourself with that bottle any more. You aren't thinking straight."

"Like hell I'm not! You don't know what you're doing! You don't -" Suddenly Chantilly seized up, her eyes rolling back, and she shuddered violently. Seamus quickly rose and came to her side, steadying her head from hitting anything too hard. Her forehead was covered in tiny beads of sweat, and the shadows of her face fell such that the darkness against her frighteningly pale skin gave the impression of a bleached skull instead of a woman's head between his hands.

It made him ill to see it. "My God," he gasped the prayer under his breath.

Mercifully, she came out of her spell as quickly as she'd entered it, her eyes refocusing, her tongue loosening again. "Let me go, Seamus! You don't know what you're doing! People are going to die if you don't let me go! Please. I'll be more careful with the laudanum, I swear it," she begged, practically babbling as the words tumbled out of her mouth.

Seamus shook his head, visibly upset yet resolute. "I'm sorry, mo chera," he whispered.

"Please, Seamus, don't do this to me. Don't force the visions on me, please." Chantilly's eyes were filling with tears of helpless rage and fear. He'd betrayed her. He, of all people, had finally turned his back on her. "For the love of God, Seamus, why?"

"Someday maybe you'll understand," he muttered sadly.

"You can't... you..." Chantilly's voice trailed off, the outbursts having exhausted her strength, and she drifted back into unconsciousness.
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:35 pm

As those inside the farmhouse went about thier tasks a hush hung over the place. An expectant silence that the whole household could tell was a mere moment from another explosion.
Seamus was on the balcony trying to find solace in the quiet and his pipe.
It had been two days already and as Chantilly's condition grew worse the more vile and dire were the curses and threats that were her only words now. The only other sounds were inarticulate howls of pain each growing more desperate than the last. Gone was the insincere begging and neogotiating that had poured from Chantilly's lips the first day.
Seamus knocked back the dregs of his coffee grimacing at the taste but moving toward the kitchen to get another cup anyway.
He tried to move slowly through the bedroom so as to not wake up Chantilly but as he passed the bed her eyes snapped open her face and neck distorted by taut tendons as she strained against the straps.
As Seamus continued to the door he braced himself for a return of the shrill screaming but instead a rasping chuckle left Chantilly's lips as she stared at Seamus and smiled.
It felt for a moment as if his blood had frozen, he staggered a few steps then reached out to use the wall to hold himself up.
Chantilly's voice sounded far away as she began to speak.

"You've felt your heart catch like this before Seamus."
He was stunned and his eyes grew wide as she continued.
"I know where it was, I know why it was, I even know who it was."
She began to laugh again watching the colour draining from Seamus' face.
"Such the gentleman, Such the man of honour, Was it your precious honour that covered your hands in the blood of your own kin?"
Chantilly took a deep breath and was threw her head back as if to laugh again, As another seizure ran through her body she twisted and strained against the straps. Seamus ran to her side placing the leather bit in her mouth so she wouldn't bite off her tongue.
As the movement stopped Seamus quickly left the bedroom.
Reaching the kitchen he grabbed an open bottle of wine he thought for a moment about his Lenten vow to abstain. He drank deeply of the wine as he tried to keep his thoughts on the task at hand.
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:21 pm

Three pairs of evenings and mornings had passed, and the sun was nearly setting on the beginning of their fourth dusk. Each evening seemed a little darker and quieter. Seamus had scarcely left Chantilly's room lately - only to refill his drink, which had moved from his Lenten coffee to alcohol, much to the concern of his crew - and he had stopped updating them on her status entirely. For their part, the crew had nearly stopped speaking as well, grunting and gesturing to handle their duties during this most perilous waiting game, as the sound of their own voices seemed to spook them. When they did speak, it was in whispers, and often to express the same sentiment: they had preferred this when they had heard her screaming in pain. The silence was infinitely more menacing.

A knock at the door that fourth night made them all jump. Dupre opened the door to find Father Carvell standing there, and ushered him in.

"I couldn't wait any longer," the old man apologized upon seeing their frightened faces. "How is she?"

The crew traded glances back and forth, unsure what to say. Finally Dupre sighed. "We're not sure, Father," he said, motioning towards the bedroom where Seamus was watching Chantilly.

The priest looked a bit stunned, but made his way to the door and cracked it open. Seamus' head, which had been hanging exhaustedly to one side in an exceptionally light resting position, snapped back up to glare in the crack's direction, and he hastily came over to the door. "Don't come in," he instructed tersely.

"It's me, my son," the priest said. "Might I see her?"

"I don't think that's best," Seamus advised quietly. "She is not well."

"She hasn't been well for a long time. I think that I can handle it," the priest insisted.

Seamus sighed and opened the door a little farther to let the priest come in. "Mon dieu, are you all right?" the priest asked, having finally seen the man's tired, tortured appearance up close.

"I'll live." Seamus heaved another sigh. "So will she." He sat down again and motioned toward the bed where Chantilly lay motionless, her limbs still strapped to the bed.

The priest approached the bed and knelt down, making the sign of the cross to begin his prayers. "In nomine Patris, et..."

"You should speak to me instead of God," a chilling voice came from the bed. "At least I will listen."

"Chantilly..." the priest rose again to greet her. "I didn't realize you were awake." He leaned over the bed, attempting to meet her hollow gaze.

Chantilly spat in his eyes, sending the priest stumbling backwards in shock. "Yes, you fool, I am 'awake'. Thanks to you and your accomplices."

Seamus leaped from his seat to assist Father Carvell, but was waved away, and he unsettlingly returned to his seat. The priest determinedly wiped the spittle from his face. "Please, Chantilly, let me explain -"

"There is nothing to explain. You helped this bastard circumvent my wishes. My decisions." Chantilly's lips curved into a frown, her red eyes far away. "Now there will be death for others instead of me."

"You can't be sure of that. No one but God knows the hour of death," he replied tenuously.

"I know yours."

The priest blinked, and looked back to Seamus, soundlessly asking all the questions. Seamus looked away. Father Carvell looked back to Chantilly. "That's not possible."

"Next time we meet, Father, I will be there to kill you." A tear fell from the corner of Chantilly's uncovered eye and curved down her face.

"You won't do that, Chantilly," the priest gasped, his eyes wide. "You will forgive. I know you."

"I'm sorry." Chantilly sighed and closed her eyes again, sending a second tear down the same path as the first. "You should leave and make the best of what's left of your life. I've given you all the warning I can."
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PostSubject: Re: Drastic Measures   Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:13 am

Days passed before another visitor would stop by the farmhouse. The queen made no pretenses of a formal entrance and simply laid a hand on the dozing Seamus' shoulder to announce her arrival. He woke with a start.

"Good lord, woman, don't you knock? How did you get up here?" he snapped.

The queen pointedly inclined her head in the direction of the balcony, then smiled. "It's time for Chantilly to leave," she instructed.

Seamus snorted. "You're as daft as she is if you think I'm going to unbind her now. She's been threatening death for all of us since she came off the laudanum."

"Oh, yes, that is a fairly common side effect it seems. Homicidal tendencies." The queen gave a menacing grin. "Also runs in the family."

"Is that supposed to be a convincing reason to let her go? She doesn't seem any better than when we started." Seamus sighed. "In fact, she seems to have lost her grip entirely."

"I told you that all we were doing is saving her life. The rest is up to her." The queen started loosening Chantilly's bindings, disregarding the protests of Seamus. Chantilly looked at the queen with deadened red eyes, conscious, but detached from what was going on around her.

"This isn't a good idea," Seamus warned, his hand threateningly on his pistol. "If she kills me when you let her loose, I can't say that I don't deserve it. But I won't have her murdering my crew, or heading back to town after the priest."

The queen shot Seamus a poisonous glance. "I have yet to lie to you, or harm you in any way. Do you think I would start that now?" she hissed.

"I would not dismiss the idea," Seamus replied.

"Wise, but an unnecessary caution." The queen loosened the final leather straps keeping Chantilly bound to the bed, and slowly helped her sit up straight.

Chantilly blinked slowly and looked at Seamus, who tensed, ready to disable her should she lash out. To his great surprise, she weakly slipped off the bed onto the floor, then placidly requested, "I have need of my weapons. Please retrieve them."

"No," Seamus refused.

"They aren't to be used on you," the queen insisted.

Seamus crossed his arms defiantly. "Then she doesn't need them."

The queen sighed. "Celestine, tell Seamus why I am here."

"To tell me that Emile is dead," Chantilly answered tonelessly.

"And what do you intend to do now?"

"I intend to find Emile's killer in Orleans and avenge him."

"See?" the queen said to Seamus. "She'll need her weapons."

"Buy new ones," Seamus replied tersely.

The queen shrugged. "If you insist." She turned to Chantilly. "We should go." The two began making their way through the house towards the front door, leaving Seamus behind.

"That's it? You're just leaving now?" he called out after them in confusion.

"You've done your part. Let me do mine," the queen answered back. Chantilly turned her head around to look at Seamus a final time. The look was unreadable, but Seamus knew it would haunt him.
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