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 Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons

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PostSubject: Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons   Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 6:52 am

November 29, 1719 -- New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans was never peaceful. It was a quality Célestine had noticed the very minute she arrived; the place had a constant bustle to it, and even more at night. She hadn't appreciated the noise or crowds before, but now it had become essential to her very survival. No one had noticed a short, quiet girl moving amongst the constant stream of busy people.

She had even seen the authorities looking for her in the past few hours, asking merchants, standing on high balconies to search easily over a crowd. But no matter how close they came to her, mere meters even, they seemed to pass her by without even a cursory glance. Still, each close call splintered her nerves a little more, and after her adrenaline began to give and the sun set, she sought shelter in an unlocked, near-empty warehouse out at the auction hall's holding yards.

The hall was deserted, having closed before her arrival, and she finally felt safe enough to lean back against the wall and breathe deeply for a second. Her knees began to buckle under the stress of the moment. Slowly her back slid down the wall until her bottom hit the floor, and she sat there merely breathing with her knees at her chest for what seemed like hours, lost inside herself.

Her trance ended with a clatter coming from the other end of the warehouse. She was too tired to react properly, but mere instinct willed her head into an alert position. A pile of boxes, once neatly stacked, was spilled along the floor. Her eyes followed the trail of destruction up to where a group of rough-looking men wielding swords were laughing at their own rebellious act.

Suddenly, one of the men caught sight of where Célestine had been sitting along the wall. He reached for his cutlass, and slowly walked forward, his eyes locked with hers, waiting for her to make a move. The others, slow to notice what was happening, finally saw her too, and followed the first one's lead.

Célestine knew that she should be afraid of men with swords, but she could not muster the proper fear. This, surely, was God's retribution. A verse bubbled to the forefront of her mind. Matthew 26:52, when Jesus rebuked his disciple for cutting off the ear of a soldier who had come to arrest him, "Return thy sword to its place; for all who take the sword shall perish by the sword." She had done much worse than an ear, and for not nearly as noble of a reason. If this is how it ends, she prayed, I accept your judgment, O Lord.
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PostSubject: Re: Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons   Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 6:53 am

The cutlass-wielding men continued moving to where Célestine sat, but the leader's face had gone from one of eagerness over the coming battle to one of thinly veiled uncertainty as he noted Célestine's demeanor. The others seemed to sense his unease, as their gait slowed and they looked amongst one another as if to ask why. Célestine watched his approach resolutely, showing no emotion about her seemingly imminent death.

Finally, the leader reached Célestine. She still had not moved to defend herself, nor protested for her life. The leader crouched down to Célestine's level and pointed the end of his sword directly at her throat, waiting for a response. None ever came.

"Miss," the leader asked in great puzzlement, "You`re nay lily livered o' me, be ye??"

"What?" Célestine finally responded. "I do not speak... whatever it is you just said."

The man's face broke into a sudden grin, and gave out a full and hearty laugh, and the other men joined in as well. "Well then, I suppose 'tis good that I know me French, eh, Miss?" the man said. He pulled his sword away from Célestine and stood up from his crouching position, offering her a hand to help her up, which she hesitatingly accepted.

"That language you just spoke... where are you from?" Célestine asked, curious even in this awkward moment.

"'Tis Patois, miss, but 'tis nay a language as bits an' pieces o' others," the man responded. "And it be unimportant where we be from. We be Pirates now, an' we have no flag."

"Pirates?" Célestine gasped. She had heard stories of men like these when she had been crossing the ocean, but her boat had never crossed their path. She looked hard at the Pirate leader, remembering the monstrous horror of the stories, but could not seem to associate them with the rag-tag group of men that stood before her. After all, she had not yet been raped or murdered - though, whether the leader had ever any real intention of doing the latter was up for debate.
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PostSubject: Re: Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons   Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 6:54 am

The Pirate leader smiled at Célestine. "And now we be havin' a question fer ye, miss. Only reason a lass would be hidin' like ye are is fear - an' if ye not afeared of us, ye must be hidin' from the authorities. So what did ye do?"

Célestine looked away, avoiding the Pirate's gaze. "I haven't done anything," she said, unconvincingly.

"You be a poor liar, miss," the Pirate leader countered. "We saw th' military runnin' around. Now tell us what ye did."

The last few hours had been so taxing to Célestine that she could think of no reasonable excuses. "I killed a man," she conceded. "Someone important. That's why the military is out looking for me."

The Pirates erupted in laughter. "Ye killed a man? I'd nay believe it!" the leader smirked. "So tell us, who did ye kill?"

Célestine's eyes narrowed in annoyance. It was one thing to punish her for her crime, but to laugh? "What do you care?" she protested.

"Oh go on, miss!" the Pirate leader howled, unable to contain his amusement. "You be much too small an' weak for murder!"

The jeers of the Pirates ringing in her ears, Célestine's countenance darkened, and a rage swelled up inside of her. She pulled a small cloth pouch filled with doubloons out of her shirt-top, and hurled it at the Pirate leader. It struck his face solidly with a clinking noise before falling to the ground. The Pirate followers ceased their merriment in unison, drawing their swords and moving toward her with dangerous glares. Célestine returned their glare and quickly pulled a danger from her boot in a quick, swift move, to arm herself.
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PostSubject: Re: Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons   Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 6:54 am

But the Pirate leader, watching the encounter, finally began to laugh even harder than before. "Idiots, doesn't ye know th' sound o' treasure bein' tossed at ye?" he exclaimed, hastily pulling the drawstring of the bag open. He smiled upon seeing the money, but then pulled a small note from the bag instead and opened it.

His eyes grew wide and stared at Célestine in bewilderment. "Miss, ye can't be tellin' me ye killed Armand Maugan... did ye?"

Upon hearing Maugan's name, the pirates that had begun to threaten Célestine dropped their arms and began looking wildly between her and their leader in confusion. Célestine sighed and dropped her dagger-wielding arm as well. "Oui. I took that from his body," she explained. "As you can see, monsieur, that note is penned by his hand, and those are his doubloons. He was planning to give it to an associate this evening, but... he did not make it there."

The Pirate leader, clearly stunned, sized up Célestine one last time as he swiftly pocketed the bag of doubloons. "Miss, what did ye say yer name be again?" he asked.

"It's Célestine."

"Célestine. Let me tell ye somethin'. This Armand Maugan broke a deal wi' us. He had a logging business here, be gettin' quite important, on account o' marryin' that Admiral`s daughter. He only be gettin' rich, though, because he promised us ten percent to leave his shipping alone. But he hasn`t been payin' us lately. To be honest, we were about to kill th' man ourselves tonight, but it seems ye already done th' work," the Pirate leader explained.

"The Admiral's daughter..." Célestine mused to herself, sadly.

"Seems all thar be left to do be burn his ships," the Pirate leader continued. "An' after that, I would be honored, miss, if ye would join us in shippin' out to sea. Ye seem to have command of th' blade you carry, and ye have spirit. After all, ye be an outlaw now, an' what safer place fer an outlaw than with us?"

Célestine pondered this for a moment. She was here, in New Orleans, with no friend or family, no Armand, no safe place, and no home. What was there left to do now? These pirates were the first to treat her honestly since she'd arrived.

"You have a deal, monsieur," she answered bravely.

The Pirate leader winced. "Drop th' monsieur, miss. I be Captain Redcross, an' ye will address me as such from now on." Redcross turned to his fellow Pirates, and grinned. "Now, mateys, to th' docks!"
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PostSubject: Re: Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons   Chantilly Angevin and the Bag of Doubloons Icon_minitime

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