“Well? What are you looking at? You have been staring since the sun came up and probably earlier when it was too dark for me to notice” Cathern looked at Marcelle who had been sneaking peeks out of the corner of his eye all morning. “Pardon me my Capitaine. It’s just….” Cathern’s temper flared a bit as Marcelle hesitated. “Speak up man. I’m in no mood for your games today Marcelle!” Marcelle wasn’t used to her acting this way. His captain was normally quite level headed and not prone to angry outbursts. The past few days her temper had been short and already one man had been flogged for a minor infraction. “May we speak in private Capitaine?” Cathern shrugged then started for her cabin, Marcelle close on her heels.
The two made their way to her cabin. Jazelle was there as usual, studying the lessons given her. She stood and curtsied when the two entered the cabin wincing in a bit of pain. Jazelle quietly asked if they needed anything and got a harsh reply in return. “Get out. If I needed anything I would tell you.” The slave curtsied again and quietly left. Marcelle took his usual seat and Cathern hers. “You beat her didn’t you? She tried to hide the pain. I have known you since you were but a young lass and you have rarely been in such a foul mood as these past few days. Talk to me my Capitaine! Beating Jazelle? Having a man flogged for something so minor? Barely eating and not sleeping…yes I noticed that too.” Cathern said nothing, staring impassively past Marcelle. “The crew is noticing too. A couple of the new crewmen are blaming it on a woman’s monthly curse.” Cathern’s eyes flashed a bit in anger but said nothing. Marcelle continued, “I told them to shut their mouths of course. Something is bothering you don’t even try to deny it. Is it the Confederacy? You didn’t have to part ways you know. Or maybe it is something or someone else? Seamus perhaps? Mlle Baudelaire? You can sit there and be silent but if there is one person you can trust to talk to on this ship you know it is me.”
Cathern nervously chewed on the ends of her hair, a habit her mother had failed to squash like so many other unladylike things that Cathern had done while growing up “You are right Marcelle as usual. It is pointless for me to try to hide things from you. Yes, I am troubled by many things. I bring my ship and crew to Port Royale and risk them and myself for Mr. O’Flynn. And do I hear a word from him after? Not one! And then, he leaves the Confederacy without even talking to me. As if that wasn’t enough he wasn’t the only one. Apparently I was not worth informing or talking to before making these decisions. Yes, the few I thought were my friends just walked away without even taking the slightest interest in my opinion. I guess my opinions are valueless.” Marcelle interjected, “Did they need your approval to run their own lives?” Cathern grabbed a silver mug from her desk and threw it across the room. “That’s NOT the point and you know it!” Marcelle winced a bit at the sound of the mug hitting the wall. “Capitiane, you need to let it go, let them go. If they valued your friendship at all they would have come to you. The fact that they haven’t is telling. They are not worth your troubled mind my dear. Others will see your qualities in time.” Cathern muttered, “I feel like a failure.”
Marcelle uncorked a near empty bottle of wine and poured the remainder into a mug that hadn’t been tossed across the room. “From Mlle Baudelaire’s winery?” Cathern nodded, “She gave it to me. I was saving to share it with her on a special occasion but that dream is slipping away. So instead I thought I would drown my sorrows with it.” Marcelle sipped the wine, “Others are interested in your captaining skills. That representative from Represailles made a tempting offer for you. We could sail in France’s arguably most elite flotilla in the New World. They seem close knit and there is no denying their competence. I don’t think they would have approached you on a whim.” Cathern starting twisting her hair in her fingers instead of chewing on the ends. “I told him I would think on his offer and I am. I am not sure they are right for me. They are very brave and very skilled. I am not in their league.” Marcelle laughed a little. “They sail in units of six ships in harm’s way. You take us in alone. Your bravery is not lacking my Capitaine.” Cathern got up, walked across the cabin and picked up her cup then returned to her chair. “I am flattered by the offer. Still, it’s not something I would consider lightly. There is still some hope for the Confederacy and there may be other options that will open up. Plus, I am not exactly close to any of them though their ships and names are certainly familiar sights. Of course the same could be said for the remainder in the Confederacy.”
Cathern pulled out a flask of Scotch and poured some of the strong but tasty liquid into her cup. She swirled the cup making the Scotch slosh around inside while staring at its motion. Marcelle watched her for a few moments but said nothing, sipping the small amount of wine in his cup. “You don’t have to decide now. But you do need to get a hold of yourself. You are taking your frustration out on everyone.” Cathern stopped swishing her Scotch about and drank some it. “You are right. I know you are right Marcelle. I am just so hurt and angry and…yes lonely too. The new Germanic captain is nice so at least I have one new friend, who will hopefully continue acting like a friend. Lisette has resurfaced and didn’t go back to Bravaria. So that’s also a bit of good news.” Cathern drained her cup as did Marcelle with his. “I’ll apologize to Jazelle. She’s a slave but she didn’t warrant the beating I gave her. Obviously the crewman will just have to live with the stripes on his back, but see that he gets some extra rum or something.” This was more like the young woman Marcelle had known for so many years. Maybe she was finally going to calm down. “Thank you Marcelle, for everything. I’d like to be alone for a while. Have Jazelle tend to me at the turn of the watch.” Marcelle got up and nodded. “As you say Capitaine.” He turned and headed out of the cabin, a small smile on his face, his mission accomplished.