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PostSubject: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeWed Jan 16, 2008 9:22 pm

No matter how he tried, he could never quite get a proper night's sleep in the pitching and yawing of his cabin. Marinus thought as he walked across the Grenville docks toward Le Bourbonaisse, where he had been lodged for the last couple of weeks.

It had been a long time since Marinus had a good glass of French wine, and today was going to be a red letter day. Just arrived were the cases of Château Lafite he had ordered from Europe. It had cost him a small fortune, but it would be worth it, he could almost detect the refreshing fragrance wafting up from the crystalware, and he hadn't even unpacked the first bottle.

The tavernkeeper had agreed to store his stock for no charge, after all, he had paid for a year's lodging in advance as well as starting a tab for any Captain of the Highland Confederacy who happened to stop by. Marinus needed the cover, and the thin crowds of regulars were not going to be enough. He even went as far as to pay some urchin named Gavroche to advertise the place for the wage of a thin slice of cheese and bread every evening, especially to any captains flying the HC on his main sail who moored at the Grenville docks.

Holding his breath as he pushed open the door he stepped into the dank and miserably lit tavern. Even after so many weeks, the smell of stale beer and tobacco was too much to take in all at once when walking in from the fresh ocean air.

He took up his regular place near the fireplace, where the stench and noise were least offensive and was quickly lost in his thoughts. Within moments, as was now customary, the tavernmaid brought him a glass of tepid table wine which he took in one hand almost dismissively. He hadn't heard from his sister or brother in weeks, surely a sign that things were not going well.

On second thought, he wasn't in the mood for anything special today. Good wine should only be served during celebrations, or to honored guests. Marinus wasn't attending either.
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeThu Jan 17, 2008 12:07 am

Exiting his office, Benoit was barely able to keep a smile off his face, "Non mauvais pour un négociant de feindre." He said under his breath. He had just finished touring his warehouse and going over the books with his Grenville assistant. His productions in the port were an after thought, more of a cover for his true occupation and therefore he never put much effort or thought into them. However, instead of having to help pay for salaries, maintenance, taxes, and the numerous other expenses that come with owning a business, they actually made a profit for the month.

He made a mental note to up his assitants salary in order to keep him loyal and then hire one of the warehouse boys to keep a secretive eye on the man to ensure that loyalty was maintained.

Assuming his long boat crew would have found their way to the tavern while they waited for him to finish his business he headed in that direction. When he turned down rue de la Savane he noticed the street was quiet; it was early evening and there would normally be some people walking about or at the very least a drunken sailor or two from the tavern two blocks over. Out of habit he loosend one of his pistols in the bandoller he always kept slung across his chest; he heard no voices or foot steps, but more importantly no metalic clicks from pistols being prepared of blades sliding from there scabbards. He removed his hat and turned around to get a good look at the direction he had come... nothing.

Shaking his head he continued on to the tavern and found that his men were in the back caught up in a game of liars dice and enjoying the local mead. Not being in any hurry himself he decided to take a seat and wait for the tavern maid to notice him.
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeThu Jan 17, 2008 1:07 am

The young Mlle. Genevieve noticed the tall dark gentleman almost the instant he entered the tavern. Business was mostly routine, and any new face was cause for excitement. Not wanting to keep him waiting, she intercepted the serving-girl and sent her back to attend the bar while she introduced herself to the newcomer.

She could hardly mask her excitement when she addressed the stranger.

"Bon soir monsieur, we do not see to many new faces around here, but tonight is very lively, non?"

Then, catching herself, she resumed her usual demenour.

"But I am ahead of myself, you must be thirsty."

From the balcony above the tavern floor, Marinus watched the proceedings with increasing interest. He wasn't sure why, but he was filled with a mortal sense of foreboding, and a profound feeling of dread. It had crept into his consciousness throughout the day.

He couldn't put his finger on it, but events were not preceeding in a fashion which mind could reconcile with his experience. Too many things were happening at once, and each felt out of place.

Today marked an entire month of correspondance he was missing from his brother and sister in New Orleans. The crowd of regulars was thinner than usual and more muted in their commotion than the usual raucous and bawdy behaviour he had come to expect from them.

Even the tavernkeeper seemed more nervous than usual, though he thought it was likely because she sensed something out of the ordinary as well.

Marinus crossed his arms and leaned forward on the railing, as much for comfort as to feel the reassuring pressure of the pistol he kept tucked in his coat against his hand, letting him know it was there if he needed it.
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeThu Jan 17, 2008 5:38 pm

"Oui, it is a good night. And I have reason to celebrate." He took his hat off and placed it on the table in front of him as he spoke. Nodding slightly at the comely proprietor he handed her a coin purse from within his coat.

"C'est un plaisir de vous mademoislle. I am Benoit Bontecou, if you would please, use this coin to start a tab for me. A glass of Sherry please, and if your kitchen is open please send out what you have. Also, I'd like to make sure those dice players in the back are taken care of. Merci"

Mile gave her thanks along with a deep bow and went to the bar to give orders and secure the coin purse. Benoit rubbed his face to wake himself up a bit and waitied patiently for his food and drink.
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeFri Jan 18, 2008 9:50 am

From his vantage point Marinus was able to overhear most of the conversation, but especially the name of the gentleman, which he vaguely recognized as being one and the same as a merchant captain who sailed with the Highland Confederacy. He was one of the handful of French captains who for whatever reasons had decided to throw in their lot with the exiled Scotsmen.

Marinus balanced his options in his mind. On the one hand he was a confrère, and on the other hand, he was also a Frenchman. Who was he? When did he arrive in the Carribbean? What were his political associations? He seemed a bit casual with money, and yet did not dress in same manner as Marinus would have expected someone of such success to adorn himself.

Realizing that his questions would never have answers unless he sought them, and seeing no other obvious way about it, he stifled his fears and did his best to appear genial and surprised.

Walking down the stairs to the tavern floor below he wondered if he wasn't making a mistake. Quickly he put the thought from his mind and focused on the immediate circumstances. By the time he reached the table at which Benoit was seated, he was already back in his element.

With a smile and slight bow of the head he extended his hand in introduction,

"Bon soir monsieur Bontecou, je m'appelle Marinus Marchand. Perhaps you have heard of me before, we both have something in common in the company we choose to keep."

Yes, he thought, it definately was a mistake.
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeFri Jan 18, 2008 2:51 pm

Benoit politely feigned surprise and stood to take the mans hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, mister-ehhh Marchand, oh yes Marinus Marchand, yes I have heard your name, you are with the Confederacy as well. Very pleased to meet you, please have a seat.”

As he motioned to the chair across from him the serving girl came into view.

“Monsieur.” She gave the slightest of curtsies and a cute smile, then placed onto the table a bowl of stew, a plate with a large chunk of bread, and a glass containing red liquor. She was hesitant as to what language to use as both men were quite obviously French but were speaking to each other in English, however it wasn’t entirely uncommon so she continued on in English. “any’sing else for ze kind sirs?”

She was cute and Benoit couldn’t help but to smile back. Having taken his hat off the table he sat and placed it over one of his knees. “Mon Captain Marchand, may I offer you some food or perhaps something to drink?”
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeSat Jan 19, 2008 3:00 pm

"You offer is most kind, but I believe that instead I would rather have mademoiselle bring me a bottle of wine from my stock."

Even though the serving girl was only a few feet away and looking at
him in anticpation of an answer, Marinus didn't so much as glance in
her direction. Partly is was an old habit he lapsed into on occasion,
from his days in the Château des Ducs de Bretagne.
On the other hand he was also being careful to maintain eye contact
with the man across the table from him. He was reading him, watching
for telltale movements in the face that might indicate what he was
thinking. What sort of man was this he wondered? What purpose drove
him, what is it that he values.

He also wanted to be careful about accepting the generosity of
strangers, you could never quite anticipate what they would expect of
you in turn. He wondered a bit what he would do if too many others
adopted this principle in turn. He supposed it would make his life a
bit more challenging.

Almost as an afterthought it occured to him that he was forgetting
something important. Reluctantly, he turned to the girl and in sotto voce,

"Ne laissez aucune nourriture pour le rat. Je ne subventionne pas
l'échec. S'il veut un repas, faites-dire à l'aux chiens que le
dîner est prêt.*"

With that the young woman turned about and set to the task at hand. Marinus then got back to the work at hand. To Marinus, conversation was like a game of chess, and he played an Italian Game, when he had the opening.

"Tell me monsieur, what brings you here to the far side of the world in the company of a nation of stubborn exiles?"

((* my French is not so good and derives from looking alot of things up in a dictionary...))
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PostSubject: Re: Special Delivery   Special Delivery Icon_minitimeMon Jan 21, 2008 12:58 pm

He felt the man's eyes upon him, he seemed a man of strong character with no regrets and the look somehow made Benoit uncomfortable. He adverted his eyes unconsciously; before he could remind himself to remain strong and focused under that gaze else be conceived as having a weak nature. Too late he realized what he had done and inwardly he had to laugh at himself. For a man who spent his life evaluating and studying others, how ironic it was that he should feel so out of place and vulnerable when he preceived another's focus onto him.

Thankfully at that time there came a small shout of "Commandant" from the back room and he looked up to see his men holding up their cups in a toast. They must have just received the round of drinks he sent over, he lifted his glass and saluted them back.

He offered up an explanation to Marinus, "Some of my men; I sent drinks over to them." He then proceeded to rip off a small piece of bread and soak it into his stew before placing it into his mouth. It was the French way to take their time enjoying each meal, it was almost a ritual the way they went about studying each taste and enjoying in the moment, so he had no thought of guilt as Marinus waited for him. He finished off with a little bit of Sherry, "This is not bad, not bad at all, especially for one accustomed to shipboard meals."

He carfully broke off another piece of bread and took another bite before starting his tale. "My father owns a manse in Montpellier, in the Languedoc plains, and it was always thought I would follow in his footsteps. However, while attending University in Orleans I met many people whose occupation were other than agricultural and took particular interest in the many stories I heard regarding seafaring. With a small financial backing from my father I started the life of a free trader up and down the coast of Europe. I've been as far North as Novgorod, a miserable time that was; the harbor froze over and I was trapped there for a season, and let me tell you, the winter season in Novgorod lasts a very long time. I stayed with the monks of the Vyazhischi Monastery, extreamely nice people, and I learned a lot that winter. I also ventured down into the Mediterranean on occasian. My runs took me as far south as Tripoli; the Red Castle of Tripoli was marvelous to behold, even in its ruined state."

He paused to reflect, telling his story deliberately, pausing for a bite of his meal or a sip of his drink. Marinus listened intently and politely, so he was encouraged to continue on. "When I started making the long haul delivering spices from the south and furs from the north I suppose my reputation grew and the money I earned helped carry me through that whole John Law's reform. I saw too many good men lose their livelihood and was an advocate against it from the beginning. It was at that time I came under the notice of a man by the name of Jean-Baptiste Fenellon of Bordeaux whom you may recall played a major role in drawing up the treatise of Urecht or what he prefers to call 'Le traite du commerce Anglo-Francais'."

Benoit gave a slight laugh, as if in a recounting of some past event. Breaking off his thoughts he finished rather hurriedly, "Anyway he implored me to do my part for France and next thing you know I was on my way to the Spanish Main with orders to manage some of le'Regents less significant holdings, an iron mine in New Orleans, a lumber mill here in Grenville, and a few others to the south. I was also order to deliver goods to a group calling themselves the Highland Confederacy and assist the group by whatever means should be deemed necessary by the companies Proprietor General." He grew silent at that point and looked down at his plate for a long time. Once he finally came back to his senses, he asked Marnius if he would care to tell his tale.

((My French is all converted from Babelfish; I hope to pick up some of the language as I go))
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