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PostSubject: "Gentlemen of the Court..."   "Gentlemen of the Court..." Icon_minitimeMon Apr 13, 2009 8:21 pm

"Gentlemen of the Court..."

'Gentlemen' may have been something of a stretch. The 'gentlemen' were busy lounging back in chairs of smooth oak, most likely pilfered from an unsuspecting monastery. One was trimming his nails with a wicked-looking stylet, and another was occupied with the two women sitting on his lap, thier shifts torn, faces smudged with cheap makeup. The rest of the captains looked like they would be hard pressed to tell you what a 'bath' was, much less have taken one.

"Gentlemen of the Court. I don't claim to be a scholar, a prophet, or a priest. But I can tell you this much, and on this we can all agree - life is $%$%."

This remark elicited the immediate attention of every man in the room. A cheer went up among the pirate captains, and Reynaud struggled to stifle a grin. There are certain ways to catch a pirate's interest, and blatant profanity is among them. Rogues, thugs, thieves, swashbucklers, cutpurses and cutthroats all pounded on the table, shouting in loud agreement. "Hear, hear!"

"...and we live in an age of slavery. We are prisoners to old laws, to primitive ways of thinking. The governments of France, Spain, and Britain are all run by men whose claim to power is purely hereditary, and whose knowledge of leadership is limited to the dining hall and the bedchamber. You've met them. I've met them. The Brethren Court may claim to be independant, but we all feel the wieght of royal rule. Remember where you came from! You, Semeur..."

Reynaud's hand shot out towards an imposing figure huddled in a corner.

"...an orphan. Born and raised in the streets of Port Royale. Your sister sold herself to make ends meet, while the governor feasted..."

Kield Semeur's eyes darkened at his, hands clenching into tight fists. But he could remember the older days, the darker days. His anger faded, and he gave a soft nod.

"...why? Because of an outdated system which lets power go to wealthy, highborn pigs. But what about them men on the streets? The laborers, the sailors, the tradesmen and the slaves - who will tell thier story?"

A low murmur rose from the tables as captains and mercenaries pondered this. They were outcasts, born on the fringes of society. They knew hardship better than any.

"Men call you criminals, they call you bandits. They mark me down as an outlaw. But do we have any other choice? When the laws are unjust, the only thing left to do is to break them. Sometimes we must, if we are to survive. The world grows smaller by the day, gentlemen. And with each passing month, the nations grow stronger. Britain. France. Spain. They will never be satisfied until they sit astride the world, never resting until they rule the Carribean. And can we let them? Will we let them?"
The crowd began to cheer in approval, but were quickly silenced byb a tall and imposing buccaneer. He rose to his feet and moved to the center of the council chamber, his step slow and predatorial. His voice was smooth, cold - and it carried a frightening authority.

"Clever words, Langford. But are we to believe them? The Brethren Court has survived this long without dabbling in diplomacy. We're opportunists, not idealists. And you swagger in, proposing that we unite under a cause that will ultimately fail? We're powerful, yes, but not strong enough to conquer the Americas, much less change the way the world thinks. Corruption is a way of life. The Court isn't a tool, to be used to further your own ends. What makes you think I'll listen to a prick with a grandiose notion of 'right' and 'wrong'? What makes you think I won't kill you, here and now?

A hand reached into a holster and emerged, holding a heavy pistol. Reynaud winced as he felt the cold iron pressed against his neck. Kidd yanked harshly on his hair, forcing his head back. Reynaud didn't move, didn't flinch. His face remained blank and stoic, his voice level and calm.

"What do you think, Kidd? Pull a trigger, end a life. But don't turn away; stare into my eyes and tell yourself that you'd rather see me dead." He met the captain's gaze, his eyes burning. "...you're hesitating. Why?"

The pistol was lowered silently, and Kidd's air of command seemed to falter. Reynaud turned once more to adress the court.

"If anyone else has doubts about my intentions. Let them stand. You have an open target."

The room was dead silent, save for the rustling of cloth as the pirates shifted uneasily. This man was different. Something in the way he moved, the way he spoke, the fire in his eyes. It was dangerous. Unnatural. Unnerving.

"...the offer still stands, gentlemen. But now is not the time for bickering. The time has come for chance, good captains. To act, to-"

"Cut the shite, Langford. What do you propose?"

"My proposition? Simple. Revolution. A new world, founded on freedom. Justice. Governed by the people, and for the people. A haven for the convict, the sick, the hungry-"

"...and then what? You'll kiss babies? We aren't your personal angels, Langford. We're brigands. We have our own intrests-"

"No, not brigands. You're men who aren't afraid to act. To get your hands dirty, to fight for what you believe in. And you believe in freedom, am I right? The freedom to act, the freedom to speak, the freedom to think!"

The room erupted into noise. Cheering, jeers, murmured conversation. Kidd, the impromptu leader of the Court, called the room to order.

"I ask you again, Langford. What do you want of us?"

"Help. Men, guns, and ships."

"And why should we help you?"

"Because you know the value of freedom more than any. And if we don't unite to stand against those who threaten it, then it's only a matter of time before we, too, become servants. Lackeys."

"And if we were to consent, what would you do?"

The room fell into an awkward silence. A heated tension filled the air. All eyes were on Langford, and he could feel a thin trickle of sweat run down his forehead. His words, here and now, would determine the success or failure of his dream.

"Change the world, Captain Kidd. Change the world."
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