Cathern crumpled up the note and threw it against the wall of her cabin. She was angry with herself. Angry with her papa long gone. Angry at the seas. Angry at the turn of events that happened in the Confederacy. And angry at feeling utterly alone. Cathern’s mind drifted back to when her parents were alive…..
“My darling husband, stop teaching her the business of sailing ships. It isn’t proper! This has gone on long enough. It was a bit amusing at first but you have been at it for years, spoiling the girl’s mind with where her proper place should be. No man will ever want some weather-beaten young woman pretending she’s a man sailing the seven seas and waving a bloody sword about!”
The extent that Cathern’s father had taught her was beyond what even her mother feared. All the cross channel sailings and since moving to the Caribbean, island to island voyages Cathern had been on with her father were lessons. Lessons in leadership, sword play, musketry, business, discipline, navigation. Things a woman had no use for when she should be splayed out in bed ready for her husband to make her heavy with child. Navigation would be useless for the ordering about of the kitchen staff. What use was skill with a sword when it was skill with knitting needles that was needed for a woman? How would firing a musket help her arrange fancy balls?
“She will be alone all of her days! Did you tell her that? An outcast. Respectable society won’t have anything to do with her. Did you not even bother to tell her WHY you always brought her along? Did you not tell her that you and every other captain was lonely at sea? Did you?” Her mother was in rare form. Usually she was quite submissive about things as a good wife was and only mildly expressed her disappointment at her husband’s schooling of their daughter.
Her papa argued back but Cathern slipped out of the mansion unnoticed as the argument heated up. She went down to the docks to one of the small schooners her father operated. There crew was mostly onboard doing minor tasks like mending some sails or scrubbing their few clothes. They greeted the young woman they had secretly stared at when she was aboard. “My father has given me command of this ship. We set sail at once. Destination is New Orleans. To your places everyone.” The crew stared at the unexpected turn of events. Cathern noticed the hesitation immediately and shouted, “Quit your gawking and make ready the ship or I’ll have you keel-hauled! Now move!” The crew wasn’t used to such a stern voice coming from Cathern but there was ferocity behind the words and they complied. It wasn’t long before the ship was ready and they slipped the morning ropes.
“There is a storm brewing….umm..Capitaine La Fleurs. It feels like a big one though I think we can stay ahead of it.” Cathern gazed in the direction the first mate was looking and nodded. “Of course there is. And yes we can outrun it.” Cathern really didn’t see or notice anything too unusual other than surf being a bit higher than normal. She couldn’t let on that she was out of her element though.
The storm flared up quickly and tossed the small craft to and fro but they were well enough ahead of it to escape the worst. It was a hurricane and it was bearing straight for Tampa. Right for where her home in the New World was. Of course, Cathern didn’t realize it and wouldn’t find out for many days, but her parents fighting about her sailing was the last she would see of them. The hurricane hit and wrecked much of her family’s estate, killing many of the servants and slaves. Mr. and Mrs. La Fleurs, her parents, were also killed when a portion of their mansion collapsed upon them. At least they died together and after a full life for the times. Cathern was alone in the world.
Cathern looked at the latest note announcing that Mlle. Lesleque had a falling out with her family and had decided to leave the company of the Highland Confederacy. One by one the company had started its dissolution. She hadn’t made but a few close friends and now they were gone. Although she and the pretentious noble woman were not exactly friends, Cathern had at least enjoyed sailing with her chosen captains. Who was left now? Seamus? No, he had left the company too. Not that the two were really close. He invited her to the ball and she had rescued him from the clutches of the British. But they were not close were they? Lisette, also gone. To where? Who knew but the two had long conversations together and Cathern had escorted her around the Caribbean showing Lisette some sights. Josie….also gone. Perhaps the person she felt closest to though the times together in port or on the sea was rare indeed. Chantilly? Gone. The two were not close were they? Cathern couldn’t define their relationship but she was a bit amused by her antics and romance drama. Someone who was perhaps worse off in that department than herself. Who was left? Oh sure, pleasantries exchanged between captains in the Confederacy but nothing substantial. It was all very cordial, and also very distant. Maybe her mother was right after all. She would be alone for making the choice to be at sea. Perhaps it was better to be alone in fact rather than pretend otherwise.
Yes, better to be alone till someone found her valuable. Someone who would be there for her. Someone to sit on the ramparts of Tampa with and just talk about nothing and everything. Someone who would sail their ship next to hers and face danger together. Cathern started writing, “To the Officers and Members of the Highland Confederacy…..”
[Few feelings are worse than feeling alone in a crowd and that's how I feel now and have been feeling even before the mass exodus began. At least then there were a few people that seemed truely interested in doing things with me but now even they are gone. Maybe it's the nature of the game. I don't know. I was expecting something different when I joined HC. Maybe it was just me not trying hard enough. Whatever the case I don't bear anyone ill will in either HC or the splinter guild. I don't have any enemies in HC now but really no friends either. That is a sad state of affairs for me. I do hope HC can find itself through the turmoil and learn something from why it happened to begin with and make adjustments accordingly. Like the rest, give me a yellow name if you would. If not, I understand.]