The world is at war. Self-entitled Consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, continues to claim nation after nation in central Europe, supported by his brother in Spain, Denmark-Norway and his various puppet states, trophies from the last war, in the Alps and the Netherlands.
A Second Coalition has been put hastily together to impede his advance - led by Austria, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and the brand new United Kingdom; an uneasy union of Britain and Ireland. Sicily and Tuscany join the southern front, and allied Portugal desperately holds its borders against a combined Franco-Spanish force. Yet the French advance is unending. The future looks grim for Europe.
Elsewhere, the Great Powers continue their struggle to hold fast to colonial empires. Britain wars with African tribes and Australian Aborigines in their world-spanning realm, as France attempts to quell a series of violent rebellions in Haiti.
The 200 year old Qinq Empire's grip on the Far East finally begins to grow slick from age, and the Orthodox Greeks seem more than ready to take up arms against their Muslim overlords.
With chaos victorious, the world rests on the brink of a new age. An age of smoke and metal.
That's Where We Come In
The Barbary States of North Africa (Tunis, Algiers, and Tripolitania) have long dominated the coffers and nightmares of the European elite. For they demand a constant stream of tribute, in either money or sailing supplies, from the various nations that wish to trade in their “domain” of the Mediterranean sea. If they were to not receive this tribute from a certain monarchy, merchants of that poor country would be attacked; their ships stolen, their belongings taken, and their crew and passengers sold into slavery. Children on-board were usually taken by Barbary crew members for “comfort”. There was no choice for most of Europe, the Barbary tribute was a requirement for both commerce and security.
This ruthless cycle, beginning in the 17th century, proved to be more than an annoyance, but a grave danger. Such exploitation of lives for riches could only lead to war.
It was in 1796 that Yusuf, the Pasha of Tripoli, took no less than 8 ships belonging to the Kingdom of Sweden because his tribute was late. The tribute eventually arrived in the harbor of Tripoli, but was short compared to what had been promised. The Swedish captain explained that they had been attacked by a French privateer, who took some of the money intended for the Pasha, but his pleas went unheard. Yusuf instead demanded compensation for “his lost cargo” from the Swedish government. Later that year, three Swedish ship boys, who had been captured and converted to Islam by Barbary forces, snuck out of Tripoli and returned home to Sweden. Pasha Yusuf considered this an insult to his faith, and demanded the Swedes pay for this as well.
When Sweden’s response was too slow for his liking, Yusuf declared war on Sweden. More Swedish ships were soon taken and brought to Tripoli, where they were thoroughly plundered. But Yusuf was still unsatisfied, and demanded Sweden pay reparations for tempting him to declare war. This sum was the largest ransom yet. The Swedish government was already near bankruptcy, and decided to respond in force. A Swedish Flotilla was sent to war.
Barely an infant on the world stage, the United States was as well indebted to the Pasha. American merchants, previously safe under Britain’s tribute, were taken and enslaved as soon as their country’s War for Independance concluded. The American government was at first hesitant to become involved in foreign affairs, just recently coming into existence. But when a fleet of Tunisian ships invaded and massacred Sardinia in 1799, the King of Sardinia had no choice but to turn to the United States for help. He himself was poor from Napoleon’s war, too poor to afford the ransom, and the rest of the world was busy enough with their own wars, and denied to spare any aid.
The American government finally yielded, and sent over a tribute on behalf of both themselves and Sardinia to the Dey of Algiers. The Dey thanked them, and then took over the ship that delivered the tribute, and sold its entire crew into slavery. The Barbary States then demanded another, even greater, tribute when the US elected a new president, considering it a “regime change” which nullified the previous agreement. When these demands were unmet, Pasha Yusuf declared on the United States by cutting down a flag post at their embassy. The US Navy, a new force built specifically for this conflict, was dispatched.
The US and Sweden then petitioned the Kingdom of Sicily to join their cause, and put an end to the Barbary exploitation. King Francis of Sicily was in throes of war with Napoleon, and in a bit of financial predicament, and so couldn’t be a major help to their cause, but nonetheless agreed to loan the alliance manpower, ships, and supplies.
Also given to the US-Sweden force were the ports of Syracuse, Palermo, and Messina, which could be used as a base of naval operations if needed. Of the entire American-Swedish naval force, 1/10th of the crewman were either Sicilian or Neapolitan.
This Three-Nation Navy formed into almost one force during the war, sharing crew between ships, and sometimes even ships between crews. This means that you, the player, have the utmost choice in the creation of your character, completely undictated by the choice of your fellows. That is to say, if Inq wants to be Sicilian, Vess can still be American.
This RP will also heavily rely on cooperation and continue-the-story style posting. This means there won't be a GM, nor a DM, nor even an FM. Everyone contributes to the story in their own way, and everyone is excpected to build off of and take part in the plots of their comrades.
Also incorporated will be many democratically decided decisions. The first two will be the ship's class, the flag it bares, and eventually its name.
Be wary, the Med is infested with Barbary Pirates. We may switch ships often, as a result of boarding parties and damage. But do not fret. Let them take their petty prize. As the old North African saying goes:
The Wisest Falcon Struggles Not.
This time period, the Barbary Wars, is perfect in that it appeals to everyone currently on our site.
An obscure historical event (Sean)
Full of cool Swedes (Inq)
Lots of Naval Combat (Vessel)
An excuse to fight Muslims (Red)
An RP (CT, Das, Zero)
A convuluded political nightmare (Fire)
A balance between action and character development (Dab, Thel)
A Story With Pirates (Stars)
Name: Put yer name here.
Age: Age goes here.
Gender: Male for this time period, unless you can do a convincing enough backstory.
Nationality: Sicilian, Neapolitan, American, Swedish (including Finnish), or Greek/Arab (mercs)
Appearance: Hair color, eye color, height, build, attire, etc.
Rank: Any here except Commissioned Officers. We don't need all of these rolls filled, obviously but any of them are available. Note, the ranks are in English. If you know Italian or Swedish, you can translate them in your card if you want.
Equipment: Higher officers would have a sword of some kind, and possibly a pistol. Lower ranks would have daggers, axes, and maybe swords as well. All have some form of uniform.
Appearance: A man in his early 40's, with short, graying brunette hair, pale blue eyes, six feet exact in height, with a fit and muscular build. Being of Greek descent, he has a fair tan, several shades darker than an average European. His entire physique shows that he's had experience with sailing the seas before. He also wears a patched fur vest and baggy pants. He almost always has his father's Kilij sword holstered at his hip, affixed to a thick leather belt.
Equipment: Kilij sword
Biography: In the outset of the 18th century, Daidalos was born to a poor family with low income. To even survive in such a harsh time, he had to work with his father down at the docks, and learn all the trade secrets that were to come from a sailor. From his father, Daidalos learned almost all there was to know of the sea, and how best to sail it. In the passage of several decades, Daidalos grew from a child to a knowledgable young adult, who had shared his father's passion for the sea. Adult life had not been easy for him, however. A raiding band of pirates claimed his father, and his mother passed from illness. Now alone, Daidalos took to the seas to find his riches. He picked up his father's old sword and boarded the nearest vessel, headed out for their open ocean.
Ever finding himself strapped for funds, Daidalos took the life of mercenary work. He would play both the sides of authority and piracy in a quest to cure his eternal bad luck. The sea brought him many misfortunes, most frequent being that his employers would die before he could be paid. Thus, Daidalos often found himself sailing from city to city on the smallest boat he could afford, and selling himself out to crews that would pay for another ship hand. It was only by happenstance that Daidalos came across the Three-Nation Navy, and he soon found himself embroiled in the deadly conflict that would become known as the Barbary Wars.
Appearance: A rather unremarkable figure, with a long face and a flat nose. When relaxed, his mouth naturally forms a sort of frown, which can actually be descriptive of his entire existance. He's wrinkled for his age, especially around the mouth and eyes. He has brown hair a bit too long for regulations (not that he cared), and matching brown eyes. Around average height if he stands straight. He wears the standard dark blue frock of the American Navy, with golden buttons and lining along the cuffs, and the tail-portions of the coat, as well as golden epaulettes.
Rank: Master (Bascially Navigator)
Equipment: French-pattern sabre, telescope.
Biography: Issac Banks of Savannah, Georgia, lived in a family of coopers along the Savannah River. He was born just early enough to take part in the revolution, and served as a seaman aboard the captured British Brig, Lord Haddington. He took part in battles along the Georgian coast, as well as the Savannah river, until British forces took control of Savannah, effectively taking control of the entire Province of Georgia. What little remained of the rebel forces in the area fled north.
Banks saw little action in the rest of the war, and indeed for the rest of his life. He climbed his way through the naval ranks during peacetime, and eventually graduated Midshipmanship and was promoted to the rate of Master.
Notes: Despite his low-born Savannah upbringing, Banks has developed an undeniably Lousianian accent due to his time around people from this area during his naval service ("Aw's bon in Jawja, Dawlin")
Appearance: Slim, narrow face, olive skin, brown hair and eyes - all typical of southern Italy. At 170 cm, he is tall for the region. His build - slim, but muscular - shows how little he is exerted by his work in the navy, as do his unspoilt features: his aquiline nose is unbroken and his face clear, giving him an unfair reputation for avoiding combat.
Biography: Like many on the sea, Celino Crocisi was almost born with his sea legs. His family was comfortable, his father being a merchant, and they sailed the coast between Latina and Salerno to sell what they bought in one port to another.
Whenever they docked in one of the many poorer villages, however, Crocisi was always fascinated by the urchins working on boats and playing in the street. His life of comfort left him unfulfilled and he was never satisfied: he had an acute feeling of missing out. Because of this, he would seek adventure, which in his youth was limited to picking fights with the local children - which he invariably lost. His parents' discipline did little, however, and when he was 19 he found himself in trouble with his creditors in Salerno. A familiar face in the town and without money, he had nowhere to run - except the recruitment office. His adventurous spirit was not to be put down by the Navy, and he quickly showed his skill, which shortly saw him at the helm of the San Gennaro.
(People can still join. I'm just making the set-up. I'm looking at you, Sven)
Bermuda, 24 October...
A sole, lonely vessel drifted into the harbor. Sails torn, deck shattered, it longed for the safety of the breakwater, and the company of a mooring post. It was hurt, limping, travelling at a speed seen by most as pitiful. Still, it floated. Its colors had been made ragged by the rough storms of the Atlantic, too much so to discern its home port. And in times like these, something as simple as a flag could mean life and death. Allegiance was the greatest weapon, but also the most dangerous informant.
But no shots were fired, and, after a while, it became obvious that the arrivals came in peace. They debarked shortly after docking, with no swords drawn, and appeared more concerned about moving cargo than taking prisoners. A few of them broke off and headed for the nearest tavern, reinforcing their own stereotype.
The owner, a jolly old colonial, laughed and drank with them. He hadn't seen them arrive, but knew full well what they were. He knew sailors by their walks and faces.
Tavernman: Yes, I knew you were the sailing type! It's quite obvious, really, isn't it? Walking around like you have blasted mops on your feet, aren't you!
Tavernman: Yes indeed! How goes the war, lads?
Patron: Which war!?
Tavernman: Whichever one we're winning, that's the most important one!
Sailor: Well, pardon, we aren't British, sir.
Tavernman: Not British? Sailors with manners such as yours?
Sailor: No, sir.
Tavernman: Well. Nobody's perfect!
They laugh again.
They keep laughing, and he waits for their attention.
Tavernman: So then, tell me. Pray tell me! Where is the home of our 'sailors bold'?
Sailor: All, different.
Tavernman: The ship then. Tell me of her. Where was she born? What colors does she bare?
(Vote now Voting will be closed at 04:15 PM EST, 25/10/16)
Tavernman: Sweden, eh? Never much cared for Sweden myself. Far too cold for my old bones, you see. That's why I stay here in fair Bermuda, and surround myself with palm trees and unreasonably high morgages, yes. So we know the crew, we know their jack, but what of the ship itself?
(Poll here. Remember, people, speed is just as important as size. Voting for this will close 3:00 PM EST, 26/10/16)
T'was an uneasy day, or evening, it was hard to tell. Floorboards did creak beneath the muffled march of young sailors, off to carry out their doom on the high seas. Many a flag did wave high above the harbor, and all banners were accepted in this humble port. Merriment and joy was to be had, drowning in booze and sharing tales of victory and treasure. The most recent arrival brought forth a crew of various races, flying high with a flag of the Swedish variety. While most filtered into the tavern for a jolly good drink, one of them stayed behind.
He was of a fair build, old but not too much so. A bottle of booze clutched in one hand, affixed to fingers bound so tight, like a hand of a father who held his daughter closely. His attire was noticably foreign, his hair faded, his limited sorrows drowned away in the pits of alcohol. T'was no friend of his, but kept better company than the more common ruffians he sailed with.
Shattered wood strewn across the deck; torn sails flapping loosely; hull shredded and punctured: the vessel could hardly be trusted to stay afloat for long, much less to sail, and there was no crew who would try to do so, and no amount of gold that would make them. It would be a great labour of at least a fortnight before she was seaworthy again; were they lucky, they could find a well-manned shipyard who would see her on the water within weeks. In the meantime, however, the boisterous sailors - save the few, the rope-makers, carpenters and the like, who had the unfortunate obligation to help the reparations - would occupy themselves in the leisures of Bermuda. Beginning, naturally, with the nearest tavern.
Above the pied complexions of his companions was a thin, bronzed face. Much darker than the fair-haired sailors whose was the ship's ensign, who would not take to the sub-tropical sun as well as he, his olive skin betrayed his Italian heritage. Even a blind man would recognise Celino Crocisi's birthplace, for, though his English was as plain as anyone's in the Empire, the rapidity of his sentences and the trill of his words would enlighten any listener upon his home.
Presently one of the Swedes - Axel, one of his English-speaking compatriots called him - was babbling incomprehensibly to his fellows, and so Crocisi ignored the conversation as they strode towards the tavern. He entered, followed by two Italians, a few Americans and the Swedes, who chimed something sounding like "tacca" as they entered. Letting the door swing shut, he followed the Italians to the bar, pulled back a stool and sat down.
The Greek, as many had only come to know him as, minded his own business in that busy port. Sailors came and went, ventures to be had, pirates and whatnot, and sure as rain, tales to be told. Were his fortunes any better, the Greek might share in some of those ventures. Alas, he was bound to a shattered ship with no captain.He was doomed to wander the sea and hope that there be no death in his fateful voyage.
For his crewmates, he would join them. No companions were they but simple associates, acquaintances for which he could better complete his duties. He could already hear them celebrating in the tavern beyond; and for what? There was no joy to be had in having a broken ship, a sail that would not sail any longer. Perhaps therein laid the victory. Despite what hardships the vessel had endured, it still stood. It stood as a testament of defiance to whatever lazy arse militia or thick-coated baboon who would dare impede on freedom.
There was a cause to believe in. The Greek wished his fortunes were nicer, though. With tan digits swirled about the neck of his bottle, he pressed his back to the wall and stood upright. The figure walked in a gentle sway, and he entered within to the company of the tavern.
Talk on the Swedish table, suddenly illuminated as the door swung wide, became hushed for an instant, before bursting into uproarious laughter. Celino glanced over a glass of liqueur at the Greek giant. He didn't linger, however, and turned back to the Sicilian, whose story, judging by the empty glasses in front of him, couldn't be believed. However, no good story was ever marred by the truth, and so he listening, smiling, to him, and when it reached its climax he laughed alongside the others. "Barista", he called out, holding an empty glass, to the red-faced colonial barman, who, experienced in the trade, needed no more instruction to charge with rum the glasses there. Still smiling, Celino clapped the Sicilian on the back as he drank again.
The Greek, as ever in his impressive stride and intimidating presence, lumbered over towards the table at which his crew resided. He said not a word, wearing a frown on his sun-baked countenance. Glasses clattered as he carelessly dropped into an empty chair, and with equal lack of care, brought his half-empty bottle down against the table. His company was of a varied sort: Swedes, Italians, Americans, whatever the ocean willed to ferry across its surface. Truth be told, there was no barrier for this, no animosity among equals. The Greek wasn't a man of many words, and perhaps was the oldest among them, lest there be crew members unaccounted for. Some told their stories of him, and his endless misfortunes. It was all the same. He scoffed and raised his bottle back to pale lips, drowning away any thoughts of dissonance. All in all, so long as there was good booze to be had, the Greek would keep his misfortunes to the sea.
"The thing, as I see, is he's not like the rest of us." Leaning on the bar, Jacob Hancock stared at the giant of a Greek drinking amongst his fellows. The American sitting on the stool next to him looked up from his drink at this.
"How'd you mean?"
"For one, he's a mercenary, so should he ever find himself hampered he can be out and take someone else's coin. Not us, oh-ho." Hancock chuckled bitterly. "They take never kindly to their own men deserting - with which I have no trouble, mind - , but as for a Greek hired hand, they see fit for him to come and go as he pleases. Perchance that's why he's always so damned quiet, for I doubt I've ever heard him say aught. For aught I know, however, he just keeps himself to himself, but mayhaps, as I wonder, he knows he'll be sailing under another flag soon and doesn't bother with any of our like."
The American beside him nodded sluggishly, although in truth he had more interest in seeing the bottom of his glass than what his countryman said.
"Oh, what reasons have you to cavil over such a silly thing", comes a voice from the right, "He's under our flag for scarcely a week, and you're already 'bout to cry wolf. It's talking like this that births mutinies, you know?"
"Oh, what reasons have you to cavil over such a silly thing", comes a voice from the right, "He's under our flag for scarcely a week, and you're already 'bout to cry wolf. It's talking like this that births mutinies, you know?"
"You lot couldn't pay me enough to say my piece." The Greek nigh slammed his bottle to the table, producing a noisy clack.
The Greek spoke, perhaps for the first time all evening. The others of his company seemed to entertain themselves with telling tales of his presence and why exactly he was even here, but he elected to keep those things a mystery. Over the last few months, the Greek had sailed under seven different flags for seven different countries, all of which succumbed to a variety of ends: mutiny, piracy, scurvy, the like. There was a reason he never spoke a word; there was no use getting comfy when he had outlasted all his past employers. He held no stock in these new fellows, for he felt that they would be no different. T'was his curse to outlast others, despite the dangers of his profession.
The Greek lazily eyed his companions, with a foul look upon his countenance. One could read all the cues just by that stare.
Hancock was not to be put off by this; at least, he tried not to show it, although his quickly reddening face suggested otherwise. "I shall warrant that," Hancock retorted, "for see he mentions pay - there's naught of greater import to him!"
The Greek scoffed, lifting a half empty bottle back to his lips. The lion's roar of the tavern dulled to a cat's meow, as evening drifted away into night. Despite having been drinking all evening, the Greek didn't seem to show one bit of being drunk. His attention was turned by a uniformed fellow who now loomed over his company.
Banks pivoted his glance across the crowd of faces, watching with a cold contentment as each of them quickly saluted when cued, barring Hancock. The officer stared at the man for some time, or, rather, the back of his head, until he became uncharacteristically frustrated.
Cubs and glasses trembled, not unlike a few of the seaman, as a rattan crop found its tip against the tabletop rather superfluously.
"What's this man's name?"
Someone replies, "Sir, it's--"
"Don't 'sir' me, I work for a living", said the Master in such a way that one would wonder how many times he's said it before.
Another one this time, "His name is Hancock, Warrant Officer."
Banks casts the man a little less than half a smile, and turns his attention to the topic of conversation.
Hancock turned on his stool. Thankfully Banks' golden epaulettes made his rank abundantly clear, prompting Hancock to raise stiffly a hand to his forehead. Meeting the lieutenant's eyes, through gritted teeth he said, "I'm afraid I didn't see you, sir - for I'll believe you work for a living when I see it."
Banks stared at the sailor for some time, waiting for either a flinch or a shudder. When neither happened, he simply nodded. There was a certain hidden respect one holds for those who can be outwardly bitter with no remorse.
"Is this your establishment?", he says to the barman without looking in his direction.
"Indeed it is, yes."
"In that case I'm terribly sorry to be stealing most of your business."
A few moans of protest come from the far corners of the lower floor.
"Yes, that's right! All back to the ship, now, we're leaving to meet with the fleet. First stop is the Azores, then Tangiers. And clean up, will you, the captain won't have his crew looking like apes. That makes for a bad impression."
The gold-tippd crop, still against the counter, is dragged to the floor and replaced by the officer's side.
"What are you waiting for?", the tavern's doors are swung open, "Move, damn you".
As Celino rose from his stool, the two Italians were graveled as the room rose in like manner. "He says we're returning to the ship," Celino explained, causing them to nod as they stood and followed the varied crowd from the tavern.
With the hawser off the bollard, the frigates leaves it berth, drifting past piers and warehouses as it rounds the breakwater; where Bermuda ends and the Atlantic begins. As the island grows distant, only the ghost of the fort's sloped stone walls remain. Eventually, they too disappear.
(You may now enter ideas for the ship's name. My vote is for Falken.)
Rather in a slump himself, the Greek never uttered another word, merely grunting whenever he was refered to. He finished off his booze, a terrible beverage, and clutched hard at the neck as he arose. The varied sailors of his company had been ordered to return to their tattered vessel, and so would he. Just to be, all this would entail was another tale of the sea. The Greek didn't think much of it.
With a hand rested at the hilt of his father's Kilij, the Greek followed in a half-sober crawl, beholden to the exterior air after hours of that musty, sweaty sailor smell.
(Well, what class is she? The vote's a draw, and we never did decide it in chat, what with the confusion about the votes. I propose a name from a Swedish historical figure, perhaps a king or saint, such as AdolfKatarina. Maybe Inq. knows some more suitable figures, since I can't tell who's famous and who's not.)
(Well, 48 is the largest of the choices, but still small for the time. I made it the max because I knew people would vote for the biggest, and we'd end up with the fucking Santissima Trinidad. Including the fact that we have a fairly large sized crew (seeing as not all of them seem to know each other) the 48 might not be the worst choice. That said, Falken still seems better suited for a light ship, you're right. Other suggestions?)
Leaving behind the exuberance and festivities of Bermuda, Katarina fled like a bat before the orange sun. At the helm stood Celino, giving careful adjustment to her course as Zephyrus, her enemy as they drifted into the port, now sped her on her way. One of Celino's hands, which gripped the wheel as the ship gracefully rose and fell on either side, broke away from for the Neapolitan to rub his eyes: for they sped past a dark shape, obscured by the twilight, who shadow hid the very waves. "Troppa limoncello?" he breathed, but the spectre remained.
Steadfast in a mighty speed, the naval vessel cruised the open ocean, with a gentle sun dimming over its horizon. The Greek sat idly by, near towards the stern of the ship, where the Coxswain had resided. While Celino may have not seen what this shaded sillhouette be, the Greek caught a brief view of what it was; shredded wood and metal of a once proud ship, now reduced to debris, caught against towering rocks. It was sad to see, but no tears would be shed for the dead.
(Oy blin, this came out long. This is the product of too much time and caffeine... Hopefully it reads quicker than it looks)
Face down in the sea, floated the tattered remains of a white figure clad in blue. The crew of the Katarina who gave the cadaver even a passing glance could not have known that this had been Le Capitaine Jean-Luc Duboise of the Frigate Dauphin, who was sent alone into the Atlantic to find a British merchant convoy. What he found instead was a British armada. The winds, however, were behind them, and so turning to run was impossible. The Dauphin was struck 250,000 times with round shot, 10,000 times with grape, and 800 with chain. Its masts fall, its crew shredded to pieces, its hull reduced to a battered pulp. Its sinking was a mercy.
Yet, with the orders of Le Capitaine Duboise, the crew was rallied out of capitulation, and formulated a grand plan. As the British slotted in to accept their surrender, the Frenchmen took up arms and lept from their skeletal, sinking raft and onto the suprised deck of their enemies. Duboise joined them, jumping across the channel made by the two wooden worlds and into the fury of combat. But as he raised his sword to call the order to charge, he was run through the neck by a hot ball of led. He stumbled backwards over the edge, unable to summon the strength needed to finish his last sentence: "Vive La France". He died well, knowing his men would turn the tide against the English, take the ship, and sail home. Home to medals, to glory, to France. They didn't.
"Land!", called Hancock from the crow's nest, "Land ahead!" And with the discovery of a new diversion, the Dauphin faded from memory.
"Can't be land", Banks, the Master, called up with cupped hands, "It's too short a trip even for Spain--"
"Come and see for yourself! I see it!"
"'Course! But it's not where we want to be!"
"Then what is it!?"
"Well, it must be Africa!"
"No the other one! Yes that Africa!", Banks took a while to catch is breath, "The wind must've carried us too far--"
"It's far off yet!"
"What makes us since?", called the Coxswain, a Swede who preferred not to speak unless necessary.
"Get the Captain", Banks said, his voice hoarse from long-distance correspondance, "Tell him we'll be late for the Azores, and ask if we can bypass them and head for Tangiers. Tell him that the fleet's doctrine comprises almost entirely on quick voyages to rendez-vous destinations in order to operate sufficiently, so our alibi is acceptable in this scenario."
The Swede flushed, "Maybe another one?"
"'Course", Banks turned to a Greek dressed in rags, "You there, with the sabre! English?"
T'was an odd sight to witness, seeing bodies float among the debris, skin pale and pruned from the rush of water. Mangled corpses as they were, it would not save them from what ultimate demise had claimed them.
The Greek had left himself in a daze, not willing to believe what sort of forces would rend a ship apart like that. Another caught his attention, the likes of the one called Banks. "Aye, English." The Greek responded, bluntly and in a timely manner.
Banks took one look at the outlandish man's casual use of his tongue, and was slightly taken back. "I don't recognize you", he said, examining closely.. "Define", he spent some time thinking of a suitable test, "Define 'adequate'"
The Greek stared up towards the man who loomed overhead. Were he standing, the Greek would easily tower over Banks. "I don't think testin' me is an adequate use of your time... sir." He spoke in a nigh mocking tone, realizing that Banks must have been impressed by his English.
"Well, good enough!", Banks shouted, "To-to both things! Good enough. Now, go the Captain, and tell him that we're low on time, lost, and that we must to head straight for Tangiers if we aren't to warrant a search party. Get to it, then, I'm busy just as much."
The Greek let loose a groan as he arose, standing and towering over Banks. He had to be at least 6 and a half feet tall, impressive stature for a sailor of his like. He set off to speak with the captain, and relay what messages Banks wished to share.
The looming presence of the Greek entered, garbed in his rags and a morning scruff. "Yes... I've come to relay a message from our Master. He says that we are pressed for time and we must journey straight to Tangiers, lest we gain unwanted attention."
"Wreckage?", the Captain put a plume rather forcefully down into its place, nearly spilling ink on whatever papers he was writing, "What is going on out there? Ack! Nobody tells me anything, förban- Out of the way!"
And with that, the Captain storms out the doors, greeted immediately by a congregation staring at the wreckage of the ship, now more distant than before.
"Oj!", is the Captain's reaction, "What is the meaning of this!? Who gave the order to fire!?
Whether just oblivious or busying himself with other deeds, the captain hadn't known of the wreckage. When he had rushed past the Greek, the Greek merely stepped away and let him out the captain from his quarters.
Back on the main deck, there were still plenty of crew members watching the wreckage, watching as it became but another landmark to dot the ocean.
"Wasn't ours." The Greek said. "From the looks of it, whoever fired didn't play fair." He recalled just how destroyed the vessel was when they first passed it by.
"Pardon me, then", the Captain looked away from the scene, "I had seen the...the men were in blue, I had assumed that they were...". A box of powder or some other stuff is flipped onto its short side, and the Captain steps on top. "Have the guns loaded and the flags hoisted!", in the background, a bit of the Dauphin splits itself in two, "We will not to be mistaken for anyone or anything! Get to it!"
He stepped down.
"What was this you say about bypassing the Azores?", he asks the Greek as the rest of the crew scrambles to their orders, "Do we know where we are?"
"Aye cap'n." The Greek returned to the stern, sitting adjacent to the Swedish Coxswain who manned their vessel. The Katarina was bound for parts unknown or known, fully crewed and ready for whatever trouble might come their way.
(I described leaving Bermuda, and Das and I described the same setting sun. But I shan't protest, lest I slow down the RP again: so it's six weeks later.)
Katarina had evidently drifted southerly in her Atlantic crossing, for, rather any of the Portuguese territories which dotted the ocean near the continent, they were sailing near the African coast, which began to recede as they headed north. Celino pulled the wheel gently; the faithful ship obeyed, turning some degrees to starboard. On the deck below, Celino noticed the grim master berating some deckhand.
"Master!" he gave a shout. "The land turns east and not north. Are we to skirt the African coast all the way to Tangiers?"
In choler Hancock marched away. Celino relief in seeing Banks drop his castigation of the deckhand, for the master seemed too ready, or rather even willing, to scold the crew, was balanced against his dislike of the fellow.
"Can't trust no king..." The Greek mumbled to himself, as he remained at the stern, seated against a crate. He merely listened as the crewmates spoke back and forth, with whatever chatter they willed to have. As usual, the Greek hadn't much to say.
(I thought you would have been able to make that decision yourself in all the time you saved typing 'tho' instead of 'though'.)
The fair weather had followed Katarina, and only now, as the port of Tangier was spotted along the coast, did an unsightly dark cloud hover over the horizon. Many leagues away, as it was, however, it posed little danger to the frigate.
Their vessel (hah) finally did arrive upon the destination, a slightly coast of activity. The venture had been nice and fair thusfar, though dark clouds brought omens of a storm forth brewing. The Greek remained at the Coxswain's side, never moving. When they would finally arrive at Tangier, he would do what he was hired for and nothing more.
(Script style for quickness. Also, Inq, should you not post this minute, I will lose all respect for you.)
Crewman: You don't think that beauty will cause us any harm, Master?
Banks: What, that little thing so far away? I'd be surprised if it makes it through the night. The worst it'll do is delay our departure.
Old Voice: Don't be so sure of yourself, my friend.
Crewman: Did you hear something?
Banks: Aye. It's only old Dumzy.
The master rolls his eyes.
Banks: The Cook.
Crewman (laughing): Dumzy!?
Dumzy (mock laughing): Piddleton!?
Crewman: A spy!
Dumzy: A poor old eremita. Nothing more.
Banks: You recognize this man? But you can hardly see.
Dumzy: Don't worry, he's not much to look at.
Crewman: I rather dislike you ,Mr. Dumzy!
Dumzy: I never liked you, Mr. Piddleton.
Banks: A cook who acts as a constable. Extordinary.
Dumzy: A cook, signor, who once commanded men with sword in hand, not spoon. A drummer at my left, a portabandiera at my right. Leading whole battalions across the Alps to stop the deviant French from laying siege á Mantova. Pushing along the coast to save the merchants of Sardinia. Joining our brothers-in-arms-and-tongue in Veneto, to make one last stand against the blue-coated menace and their "revolution". Primo Capitano Dummiziano Volonte! Gloria! e...e la competenza, eh?
Dumzy: But all of that is gone now. 'Tis in the past. Because I cannot see, I cannot fight, that is what the King--what he says. That is the power of "that little thing so far away", signor Master. That, that is the same they said of the storm that left me a lame old man. So do not be too sure of yourself. For you may end up a Dumzy. As I am.
And with that, the fat old cook goes back to sleep, on his typical seat on a barrel of hardtack against the mast. The rant proved to take much longer than it seemed, and the spiralling minarets of Tangiers began to assert themelves agaisnt the brightening sky.
Banks: The sun! Thank heavens.
Crewman: That Dumzy! What an accent! Can't even understand a word he said!
With a soft and most gentle air breeze, the Katarina pulled into port at last. This port was bustling with activity, shouting ongoing over the waves that lapped against wood. It was as fine a place as any to remain for the time being, and conduct whatever business there was to be done here. The Greek did not know, for he did not ask.
As the vessel rolled into port, deckhands began the tedious process of securing the ship against the port, and dropping anchor as well. While all was well and fine, the Greek arose from his nigh meditative silence and went to oversee the process, arms cross and expression expressionless.
As Katarina tapped against the port, Celino released the ship's wheel and left it spinning loosely until it settled in place, before he descended from the poop deck. The officers would depart into the city to receive further orders, and concurrently Celino would join the steward, Valerio, in the restocking of the ship's provisions: as was expected, they were near exhausted in the oceanic crossing. Crossing the deck, the Neapolitan approached Valerio, who held a log book in his hand.
"Buongiorno!" The steward embraced him. "Are you ready to disembark?
"Not yet. I worry how the Moor will feel about us the two of us - unarmed though we're not - in his own city. We ought not to go alone." Celino could tell Valerio realised the peril they might face, as he scanned the deck, before his face was suddenly excited and he gestured towards a man standing by the edge of the ship. By his height alone, Celino knew he could only be the Greek.
The Greek was a man of impressive height, moreso than that of his colleagues. It was easy to see when another would point towards him, for no other matched his stature. None that he knew of, anyhow. They had finaly arrived at Tangiers, and although the Greek still hadn't the faintest inkling of their reason for being there, he knew it would dangerous. Katarina's captain would not have hired the Greek otherwise.
Rather than remain on the ship, the Greek descended down the gangplank after it had been hastily lowered by a couple of deckhands. He had never been even close to the landmass of Africa, so it was a new venture for him. He knew that the Coxswain and steward were speaking of him, but he couldn't understand what they were saying. For being a man so well versed in the ocean, the Greek only spoke a few languages.
Biografi: Som den ende sonen till en högt ansedd adelsman växte Teodor upp i ett liv av lyx. Med den bästa utbildning tillgänglig given till Teodor hoppades hans far att sonen skulle växa upp till att bli en värdig arvtagare. Så var dock inte fallet, då Teodor tidigt fick ett intresse för krigsföring. Han började fokusera sina studier på fäkt- och duellkonst, och lyckades efter mycket tiggande få sin far att hyra in en före detta infanteriofficer, vars uppgift var att lära Teodor militär taktik och strategi. Trots sitt val av framtida karriär såg framtiden ljus ut för Teodor. Så var fallet tills Teodors fars plötsligt avled efter en kort tids sjukdom. Tvärt emot vad de flesta av Teodors vänner, och Teodor själv, hade trott, visade det sig att fadern hade testamenterat större delen av sin förmögenhet direkt till kronans skattkammare. Utan familjens förmögenhet att stötta honom skulle Teodor hammat i Stockholms slum, om det inte hade varit för hans anslutningar till den resterande adeln. Med hjälp av dessa och den sista biten av de få pengar fadern hade lämmat honom lyckades Teodor få en plats på marinofficersskolan i Stockholm. Direkt efter avslutad utbildning blev han utskickad till havs som skeppskorpral.
What? Are you expecting an English version? There isn't one, go on and learn Swedish, pleb.
Valencio batted Celino's arm with his hand. "Tell him whither we go and why we want him." Celino strode after the giant.
"Greek!" he shouted at him over the narrow stretch of water. "As our provisions are in short supply, we're going to restock them in the city. Anyone considerate will see the glances these Moors give us, and we want to pray if you would accompany us into Tangier."
The Coxswain had called, this time in English. "Aye, I'll accompany you. Best we fill our holds before the storm comes." The Greek scoffed shortly afterwards, remaining just beyond the gangplank. Sailors of different sorts had also come to port, no doubt seeking shelter from what laid just beyond the horizon. "It seems like you lot can't hold a sword at all, anyway."
A scowl flashing across his face, Celino nodded to Valerio, who clapped his hands with a smile. As the two trod the gangway, resting their hands upon the pommels of their swords as they marched forth toward the city, Celino muttered in Italian, "He, with grudging complaisance, agreed, but I don't like the bastard, for he called us weak with the sword."
They must have taken some offense in that phrase. The Greek merely chuckled beneath his breath, before awaiting the company of his fellows so they might venture deeper within the city. Such seedy locales were not ideal to travel by the company of oneself, of which the Greek already knew.
Valerio looked up from his logbook as the Moorish crowd parted before the behemoth, closing just as quickly behind the three crewmates Valerio suggested accompany them to bear the goods. "Keep your eyes alert for a grocer's amongst these sand-soiled houses." The city face was scoured as Celino's eyes flitted characteristically between the buildings, before at length, no longer around the town's skirts, they settled upon the dirty glass of a squat building.
"Ecco!" Celino roused his friend's attention and brought his gaze to the shop. Both Italians were glad to enter, or rather they were glad to leave the streets behind, for the citizens of the city lacked the decency to hide their displeasure. The gladness faded as they ended the dank and dingy room, though by good fortune the shelves were well-stocked. Valerio gave a brief greeting in conventions, and as he knew some Arabic - for he was not a steward new to the region, and experience made him learn as befitted his job - he approached the shopkeeper, a balding, moustached Arab.
"Masaa al-khair. How much would 30 pounds of butter, 15 pounds..." Celino waited as Valerio looked hopefully at the impassive shopkeeper, having finished reciting his list.
"It all really depends, doesn't it?", the shopkeeper said so quickly that Valerio could hardly follow, "Inshallah your money will be good here, yes, and then you can take it for what I say you can. But I don't know how much you have, so how am I supposed to give you a deal? What am I, a sooth-sayer?"
While the company of his crew made their transaction with a lowly shopkeep, the Greek stood by with arms crossed a face that could turn a man's stomach into knots. He was here merely for insurance, a bodyguard he supposed. It didn't look it that the others held much in the way of a blade, as he had observed before. If they did, he would have been surprised.
Valerio pulled a pouch and rifled through its contents, then looked up at Celino. "I have 70 reales with me now and some dirham of the country. How much do you have on your person?" Celino drew out his own purse.
"No more than few pieces of eight and piastra, in silver, so our friend could use them. In total, maybe 35 reales and four piastra." Valerio nodded thoughtlessly and Celino could see his attention elsewhere, before he turned back to the shopkeeper.
"We have between us 13 pieces of eight, four dirham and more in silver."
The shopkeep, Celino and the steward continued their business. In this dark and dreary corner store, the Greek stood idly by and uttered not a word. Rather than pay attention, he peered outside and kept watch. The wind howled, running its course through trees and whatelse lay in a direct path.
Valerio cursed. "If he knew not bronze and gold, the Moor couldn't tell a ducato from a grano. He wants to bargain, as is the burden of all who deal with his like." Celino only answered through the grimness of his face, and Valerio turned back to the shopkeeper. "Unless, you say?"
(You may be doing it for the character, but 100 reales is not some 'shiny trinkets', especially when you suggested they have around 40.)
"I believe the blade was his father's, my friend. No price can be put on family - even a piece of eight, which, if you think cheap, take ten more." Valerio fished a few of silver coins from his pouch and held his palm open before him.
Storms had begun to roll in of now, with a soft rain pattering the back alleys and denizens of such a shady locale.
The Greek remained at the window, but became eventually wary of the way his companions eyed him, especially the sword at his waist. It had belonged to his father once. The Greek would put no price on it. He scoffed. "Wind's rising. Best finish your deals soon." He commented.
"No innocent man evades such an innocent question." Valerio realised the hypocrisy of his words, and added, "Its value to him is sentimental. If you won't take our silver, we'll find some shopkeeper who knows more the value of a coin." He pulled back his hand and almost made to leave.
"This is taking too long." The Greek muttered. Whatever language they spoke, he didn't understand. Not fully, at the least. He did pick up a few words here and there, but only common ones. Nothing enough to understand the full conversation. Though, gestures went a long way to indicate what it could have possibly been about.
Valerio sighed. The old shopkeeper would take nothing but the sword as payment - further bargaining would be futile - and the captain would return to the ship soon; they could not waste the hours haggling any longer, though another grocers might prove the same challenge. He made to gesture to Celino. "Where," Celino exclaimed, "is our sixth man?" Valerio dropped his arm and looked around: of the three crewmen Valerio had brought with them, only two remained. "Greek, did he go under your view?"
As it had become of note, there were some of their numbers missing now. The Greek hadn't noticed this before, on account of their other man being quiet like a mouse. Whatever dull expression the Greek had been wearing changed into a frown as he had come to realize this. That, and Celino nor the steward had made any headway with the shopkeep. "For God's sake... be it like them to get lost in this place." The Greek held his hand at his sword and stepped towards the door.
Whatever the gust of wind had been, it seemed to put everyone on alert. The Greek was no different, as he quickly pivoted on his heel and tore his Kilij from his hip. The slender weapon glistened in the soft light of the store.
The beauty of those outside the shop was not lost through the unwashed window, though the Greek might still have caught the anger of the assembling Moorish crowd. As neither Italian busied themselves with haggling, they could know hear the roused crowd. Celino's spadroon flew lightly from his hand as he turned, cursing, to the shopkeeper. "He frittered our time which they took to muster: tell him if he wanted my sword so much, marry, if he played a part in this, he may have it!" Valerio, feeling no less kindly disposed to the sweating merchant, swiftly delivered him the message.
Shouting could be heard from the exterior. "Burn it all down!" One man shouted in a foreign language. It must have been an angry mob or something of the like, but there was no reason to remain lingering about. The Greek peered out the window to ascertain their numbers. "Blast it. It'll be only a few minutes more til they crowd the streets completely." It was the Greek's understanding that they were only in Tangiers for supplies, then destined to meet with the rest of the fleet that were to participate in this alliance of sorts. Such a task would be impossible if they were all dead.
Valerio alone knew what the crowd roared, and his face was plain to read. The shopkeeper said nothing, though he quivered at the tip of Celino's sword; as such, he slid the spadroon to his hip again and turned to the source of the commotion. He could see the weapons ready in his crewmates' hands, their heads trained on the door, shy that the crowd's wrath may burst the door. "If leave hence armed thus, they will surely set upon us for our show of aggression; if we leave unarmed, they will do the same for our lowered guard," Celino sighed to Valerio. "How shall we make our way through that sprawling mass of Moorish rage?"
In the dampness of the exterior, with a fresh storm passed through, the crowd brandished torches lit aflame. Their motive laid unknown, but their purpose was much more clear. The anger of the crowd demanded they light their flames upon nearby structures, and wood ignited with a fierce flame. The Greek watched as they had begun this task, before backing away from the door. "Surely buildings such as these have a back entrance. We'll take the alleys." Moving over towards the counter, the Greek shoved aside the shopkeep and did discover a back door, though blocked with crates. Sheathing his sword, the Greek began to hastily move away the crates from the door.
Valerio followed the Greek towards the obscured door. Celino stopped before he joined them, as he noticed the shopkeeper standing uneasily. From the shelves he plucked a scarf and a line of cord, and went behind the Moor, grasping his hands together and tying them in the firmest know his naval knowledge taught him, before the scarf was tied similarly around his mouth.
"I'll bet they share no love for our kind." The Greek spoke of the crowd, and perhaps the shopkeep as well. He continued to move away heavy crates that shuffled and clanked as they were set down. No doubt, the shopkeep had previous incidents of break-ins and sought to remedy the situation by blocking the back door. Once all crates had been moved, the door itself was revealed as a shoddy frame, thrice broken over with wear and tear and splintered wood.
Valerio tentatively tried the door, afraid that the planks would break at too strong a push; it held firm, however, and creaked open to reveal a deserted, rain-spattered alleyway. Finding no one at either end, Valerio slipped from the shop and headed down the narrow street, away from the crowd - and deeper into the city.
The door fell open with a soft creak, presenting sounds of angry cries and compounded rainfall. The Greek exited as well, being nice enough to close the door behind them. With whatever crowds gathered among the main streets, it would have been best to stay along the alleys, at least for now. Though, the Greek had no qualms about killing someone.
Bending, Celino hefted one of the crates now removed from the open door and pushed it against the base of the front door, through which the incomprehensible fulminations of the crowd passed. The two sailors slipped their pistols back into their jackets and absconded into the alley, Celino a short distance behind.
With now a great distance put between them and the shop, the roar of flames consumed much of the city block, unhindered by the rain. Shouting continued. The Greek managed to escape with Celino and Valerio, but their destination was left unknown. "Where are we headed?" The Greek happened to ask, expecting his company to know more than he did. The possibility was that none of them had a plan.
"With his fresh set of orders, the captain will be soon returning to the ship, and we'd better hastily do the same. Valerio sent a junior steward on a similar trip, so we shan't be without food for weeks."
As the group passed between narrow lanes, Celino caught sight of the sea far to their left, beyond a wide marketplace. "Fermo! Stop!" Celino hissed, and pointed over the market stalls to the turbulent ocean. "We could pass there to the harbour, though it is thronged with Arabs and we should surely be seen."
"The Cap'n. Aye, a fair reason to keep onward." The company came to a stop just at the edge of the alley, with a lengthy bazaar between them and the sea. Whatever fiend kept their residence there would attempt to impede them as well, as Celino came to mention. "Then, what ought we do? I see no other way 'round it." The Greek kneeled and hid behind a barrel, dirtying his already dirtied trousers.
"The Greek thinks we ought to take our chances through the market," Celino explained to Valerio, "and find the dock thence."
"With haste, we will be through the harbour before the crowd, which is surely died down by now, can catch us. You and I will swiftly cross first, then the Americans, and finally the Greek." Celino nodded, though he neither expected bloodshed nor was unprepared for it, and kept a hand on his pommel.
"Would prefer we do this without killin', though I'm not averse to the idea." The Greek spoke, watching the thinning crowds among the bazaar. It was cold and wet and he felt no lingering desire to remain outdoors. The dank warmth of a ship's hull was a better alternative. The Greek huffed, clutching at the hilt of his weapon.
"Valerio and I will cross. After half the distance, the two of you follow us, and then you, Greek. Walk with speed, but don't draw attention to yourself." After nods of recognition, Valerio stepped from the shadows with Valerio, and the two made idle conversation as they walked.
"Sort of hard for a giant like me not to draw attention." The Greek commented, watching as Valerio and Celino went first. They made themselves more unassuming by conducting a mere conversation, and soon afterwards, the others did follow and mimicked them. The Greek awaited til they ventured far enough, before he himself entered the crowd. The rain seemed not to slow the demands of sailors and civillians, who mixed a company with less savory characters.
As Daidalos crossed, a flurry of motion caught his eye and a yelp followed. Before a crowd stood a bloodied man, and from the stones at his feet it was easy to guess what transpired. Though his clothes had torn and his face bruised, he might have recognised him as the sailor who disappeared.
For but a moment, confusion set upon Daidalos' expression. Fast movement occured just out of his view, and before him stood a figure. He recognized him to be their lost crewmate, now drenched in blood; his blood. The crowd had seized him and now, he was beyond saving. Hushed cries of help emitted from a voice that could barely speak, but the Greek ignored him and continued moving. As much as it pained him to do so.
Buildings on either side disappeared as Celino emerged onto the harbour side. The storm ere sighted had marched closer, and it seemed Katarina would, beyond the sanctuary of the mooring tether, be chased by it. Bobbing along the grey unsettled sea, assaulting his his shoes with brine, Celino caught sight of jack of Sweden, its colours bright against a black sky where usually only yellow could be seen, and the two Italians followed the quay to it.
Shouting consumed the distance, though waned as Daidalos distanced himself from it. He finally emerged upon the port, where ships laid anchor. Storms rolled in from the ocean, rocking the waters with an unhealthy bob. Be that as it may, he found himself steps closer to the fair vessel he called a seaworthy home. Now free from the prying eyes of the crowd, the Greek felt much less need to keep himself incognito. So he followed the pair of Italians, headed back to the Katarina.
The tumultuous crowd roared and shook, spewing stones and invectives alike in every direction.
The lurid-coated marines of the Katarina lined the stern end and prepared to fire into the surrounding their current dock. They had been volleying all night.
"Redo!?", called the master of marine. The men presented their arms as entailed.
The dragon unleashed its smoke and ash, the noise barely heard over the constant growl of its prey. Its fire seemed to pick through its intended target, however, and those who caught the led were almost shields for the others around them. Some became projectiles themselves, jerked into the air by the force of blackpowder, and leaving those behind tumbling backwawrds. To be trampled, if need be. The dragonfire, however, deterred not the anger of the gathering. In fact, it seemed to feed it.
Just off the ship, barricaded into a warehouse by nothing but hordes of flesh at the doors, were Hancock, Banks, the old cook, and two other men, who were sent to gather provisions when the riot was little more than a quarrel.
The marines fired again.
"I've had it with this!", Hancock shouted at the wall, and he quickly armed himself with a musket from the rack and reached for a window's locked shudders.
"Have you gone mad, man!?", Banks grabbed his junior by the shoulders, and jerked him back. He resisted and started again for the window, to be jerked back again. The officer reached for the seaman's arms and contested his grip. At first Hancock resisted, but, with no hope of fighting back, he gave in. The newly-armed Banks shoved him to the ground with a force only found in those fighting for suvival.
The seaman retreated to a corner, fell to the floor, and embraced his own knees.
The entire building shook.
"They're going to kill us!", one of the other two cries, "Why is this happening, where is the rest of the fleet!?"
"Probably still in the Canaries", Banks sighs an angry sigh, "Delayed by the storm"
The old cook picks up his ancient head, his eyes still closed in deep thought, "I told you not to underestimate the weather, Signor Banks"
In the time it had taken Valerio, Celino and Daidalos to make it back to the Katarina, the angry mob only worsened. A crowd of swear-spewing lads surrounded the anchored vessel, leaving no way to actually get aboard. Marines lined the ship deck and fired into the crowd, but with not much success.
"Oh, how could this be any worse?" The Greek muttered to himself. He noticed that there was a small storage warehouse nearby as well, with more of the enraged mob pounding at the doors like ravenous hounds. It was impossible to say what they were after. Rather than just rush in to find out, Daidalos required some thinking.
"Come now... there must be something here to help." Daidalos figured that he might find some gunpowder and create a distraction, or dispurse the crowd long enough for the Katarina to set sail. And perhaps find out whatever the mob was after in the warehouse. But would he even be able to ignite a fuse during the rain?
Confronted with the shouting mass of Arabs, whose harrying would only provoke it, with violent ends, Celino cursed as he whipped out his sword. If he could find no path through the crowd, he might make one: he could strike and pass a man in succession. Even as the populace turned violent could he throw himself into the sea and climb the ship. Before he made his way to the rabble, Valerio pulled his friend behind the corner of a warehouse. "Make no move against dozens: though he be destroyed who destroys you, both would be in vain." Though he did not sheathe his steel, sullenly, Celino lowered his sword.
Daidalos ducked into another warehouse on the harbor, one ignored by the mass of angry Arabs. All sorts of things had been stored in these various districts, prepared to be shipped abroad to parts unknown. The Greek quickly rummaged through the lot of supplies, singling out a barrel of gunpowder. There was always the man who feared the flame, lest they be consumed by it. He hoped it would strike fear into enough of them.
A few minutes passed since Daidalos disappeared into one of the warehouses. The crowd grew angrier, more volatile as time passed. They battered upon the other warehouse, and even attempted to board the Katarina now.
Seconds passed. An object was thrown out from an open door frame. There was some kind of sizzle, as though something was burning. Shouting now. People crying aloud in their native tongue. And then, a sudden explosion rocked the pier. The crowd scattered, showered with hot embers and shrapnel. Some jumped straight into the water as from panic or being seared alive by heated materials.
The blast rocked the pier as the waves never could. The sound captured all the sailors' attention and Valerio looked back, to be met with a scene of chaos of which Dante might have written. Agony burnt in every face, leaving men writhing and smouldering on the deck. Faint hisses emerged from the sea as vapour mixed with the spray, though the sounds were drowned by the cheers and jeering from the ship. Valerio stood aghast, bound to watch. A clap on the back from Celino broke him from his spell.
"Fire and brimstone! The Devil indeed. Come, let us make good of this." Leaving his sword at his hip, Celino walked straight towards the now-lowered gangway.
Their numbers broken, the angered crowd dispursed and disappeared, wishing not to incur the same wrath again. Those that stayed were those who writhed about in pain, faces left with expressions of terror and shock. Daidalos emerged from one of the warehouses, hands firm at his hips.
From those who scattered away, they had left the warehouse unhindered. For whatever soul rested within, the Greek intended to find out. With a powerful forward kick, his foot slammed against the already weakened door and threw it off the hinges. He discovered that some of the crew had sheltered themselves inside, from the storm and the Arabs.
"Look out!", a sword is drawn as the words are formed, but the manicity of the situation soon devolved.
The other man shouted, "Don't be daft, it's the Greek!"
"Well that was a spot of luck!", Banks threw open the door, "Come on, now! Quickly, quickly!"
Now that the sailors were, rather forcefully, ushered out of the warehouse, they hurried along to the ship, where the marines were standing guard on either side of the boarding ramp. The storm grew stronger still. Little did they know that their idle was only a temporary tribute.
"There they are, after them!"
Banks drew his sword and shoved the seaman to his front, "Faster, go!"
The crowd or, rather, what remained of it was just at their heels in seconds. And now they given up on inhibition. Hands extended toward the sailors, grabbing and tearing at whatever they could reach. The second wave was even greater than the first, for many of the newcomers were properly armed.
"Redo!?", the Marine Captain called again, unable to tel apart his own men in the chaos.
"Wait!", Hancock called in their direction, in vain.
The marines let loose a final time, and the wicked picketeers fired back with shouts of protest. One of the calls, however, was unlike the rest. It was Dumzy's voice calling, and he had fallen into their grasp.
"Unhan-let go of- stop you fools!", Banks drew his sword and attacked the group surrounding the old cook, but succeeded only in swatting them with the flat side. They let go, no less, but the damage was already done.
"Come on!", the Master called to the cook with some anger, not so directed at him a it seemed to be, and tossed him fore towards the gangaway. Hancock was there, with luck, and helped the wounded up the ramp. Sword-drawn, Banks to groped his way through the crowd, forced to cut through them like sticks in a thicket.
Now aboard, the plank was heaved up and the ropes were severed.
The crewmen in the warehouse rushed outward and darted back up the plank, boarding the Katarina once again. Some of the crew were grabbed at by the weakened of the crew, clawing at what they could reach. Though some might have succumbed to such trivial attempts, the Greek eagerly stomped upon chests and faces.
Anchored ropes were severed and the plank drawn up, with a new force of dissenters arriving, armed for a fight. Stopped just short of clambering up the ramp, Daidalos decided upon the next best thing.
The agile but large man leapt from the pier and grasped the side of the sea vessel, fingers well gripped on ridged edges. He quickly climbed, now being pelted by foreign objects from the angered crowd. Though it would not slow him, and he managed to crawl up and onto the ship's deck with an exhausted exhale.
Appearance: Well built, blue eyes and blonde hair. Clean cut, scar tissue all around hands.
Equipment: Uniform. Sword.
Biography: Simo Kalinen originates from a Finnish family not too far from Helsinki. He belongs to a woodworking family, having spent long years cutting down lumber, and shaping it for use elsewhere. Having lived on the edge of the thousand lakes, Simo dreamed of a life out on the water. Working his way out of Finland, Simo served as a seaman for several Swedish ships before finally applying for the Swedish navy. With his already learned talents, and a desire to set out in the world, Simo joined the crew of the Katarina, hoping to make a difference in the world.
Exiting from the ship's underbelly onto the deck, Valerio was relieved to know his junior steward had not encountered the same difficulties in Tangier, and the crew would not starve. They could not, however, sail - or fight, for the Mediterranean was the war's stage - on half rations for long, and another stop would be made. If he had only relinquished that sword, perhaps they could have returned to the ship laden with provisions; but the shopkeeper would never have allowed that and was liable to delay them at every purchase.
Crossing the deck, a sailor put down his rope and accosted the steward.
"Steward! Laurito accompanied you, did he not? I have not seen him since." Valerio put down his log book.
"I am afraid he disappeared into the crowd, though what befell him I do not know, for none of us saw him either."
Daidalos fought to catch his breath, sitting cross-legged upon a damp ship deck. It was a relief to be away from the crowd, and were it not for his quick thinking, there may have been more casualities than there were. Having sailed the sea for many years, the Greek knew what loss was. He overhead talk of how the other crew members considered bargaining with his father's sword. Were they even to acquire the supplies from purchase, it would have burned with the crowd's fury. Now they were forced to sail without proper provisions.
At the helm, the wheel strained against Celino's arms; though they struggled little now, he would be grappling with it when they burst into the squall. Katarina dropped little on the crests now, but the bleak clouds - for there were only clouds above their course - spoke to all the crew of turbulent waters.
Below the deck, Celino noticed one of the sailors who accompanied the captain into Tangier. "Adimari", he called, "what are our new orders?"
(Anyone can take this, or maybe the captain is going to reveal it later, or will have a meeting; anything you like.)
Things seemed to calm down for the moment, but the storm hadn't. Winds battered the masts and rainfall endlessly poured on the ship deck. The Greek moved himself away from the midst of the ship deck, seeking cover just beneath a decent aclove where the captain's quarters would have been. Just inside, he could hear conversation.
"Coming here was a mistake! Now we're caught in a storm with no supplies!" The captain rubbed his temples, clearly frustrated. He seemed to calm down a few seconds later. "We must find some way to resupply. I don't care if we have to sell half the men's belongings."
"English, damn it", Banks sighed, "Or what help should I offer you?" The Captain remained fixed to one spot on the floorboards, his hands over his head. "No, no, this is a Swedish ship", he droned, "with a Swedish flag, a Swedish crew", he gestured towards nothing with little energy, "and a Swedish commander. Explain to me why we should speak English?"
"Cause we won the bloody war!", Hancock yelled from the rigging. The other Americans cheered with gusto. The Captain looked up at the sight, exhausted, then retreated his vision back to the floor, sighing and shaking his head.
"This was all a mistake. How the whole earth are a trio of those who are foreign to eachother meant to wage war at sea?"
"Maybe we should have all speak latin", Banks suggested, eager to recover from the earlier mess.
"Yes", the Captain snapped, "because everyone speaks latin. Too, sailors."
Banks wiped the idea away, "Why don't we focus on the task at hand, then? We're caught between a riot and a storm-"
Squabbling went about behind the doors, with whatever designs they planned to enact, or lack there of. No one wished to elect a plan with moving forward, for no one had any ideas to speak of. For now, they were merely dead upon the water, waiting both the riots and the storms out. In time, they would starve or worse. If there was such a thing worse.
Simo watched as the American crew cheered, as he pushed off from where he was resting to approach the mast. If a storm was coming, a big one, a few adjustments would need to be made so that they weren't taken off course.
A mutter ran through the assembled Americans. "The Pock upon you, this war'd be finished if it weren't for us," Hancock hissed, leaning forward onto the table. "Who'll you win with? your mercenaries?" Hunched over the table, he spat, before standing with a tug on his belt which swung it round, bringing the pistol at his hip into view.
As with any other ordinary fellow aboard the vessel, Daidalos saw fit to secure cargo for the upcoming storm. He had ventured below deck to do so; netting found itself hooked over crates of what they were able to acquire, though it would not be enough to make the journey towards the fleet. In this lazed movement, now the Greek overheard more squabble amongst the crew, seeing fit a scenario would not bring forth argument. The entire crew all had their own disagreements on the matter. The most rowdy of them be the mercenaries, though Daidalos counted himself not among them. They would have their words, and likely do ought with them. The Greek minded not, though he prayed they would still have a crew left to sail.
The mast Simo stood by splintered suddenly as a rock fell to the deck, before another grazed his forehead and a bottle shattered at his feet. Amidst the cries, both on the ship and from the port, a shout came nearby. "You there, Swede? Are you a marine?" Another hit the deck between the two. "Marine be damned, can you hold and fire a gun?"
The storm only grew worse, as did the riots below.
"Curse these foreigners! How dare they steal our supplies! We'd let them burn sooner than giving them freely!" As they did. A good portion of Tangiers now laid under fire, burning soft in a drizzle that would not extinguish it. The Arabs tossed whatever they could onto the deck, be it damp rocks plucked from the earth or empty bottles of rum or wine.
Daidalos finished with securing some of the cargo, drawing tight netting across a collection of crates. He rushed back to the deck in order to survey the rioting crowds. Other crewmembers attempted to deal with the situation, but to no avail.
A man wearing a bright blue officer's coat, signifying his standing as an officer of the Swedish navy, came rushing up from below deck, covering his head from the projectiles thrown onboard. He gave the situation in the city a brief look, before turning towards the captain, who stood near the helm, arguing with another Swedish officer.
"Kapten, kanonerna är laddade! Har vi tillstånd att skjuta mot detta förbannade avskum?"
An empty bottle of whiskey whizzed past the Greek's head. He grabbed it, and promptly chucked it back into the angry crowd. "Fuck off, you pieces of shite!" He shouted, though none of them probably spoke English.
Simo took the weapon, as he checked to ensure there was a charge in place. Satisfied that he was, he aimed the weapon down into the crowd. There was an uproar, as a few from the riot scattered at a weapon being pointed at them. The Finn pressed his finger on the trigger, not ready to pull it as he yelled: "Get back!"
"Go back to hell, you fucking devils!" One shouted. "Tangiers is no place for you!" Another cried. Sharp rocks and bottles pelted the ship deck. Even with the threat from Simo, some would have indeed scattered. Some stayed and only continued in their anger.
"I don't care what you do, just deal with these Arabs!" The Captain shouted over the roar of the crowd. The crewmates continued to loose volleys of lethal fire into the crowd, hoping to deter them from further action. Surely, the crowd did begin to dispurse as it were.
"Sluta er skottlossning!" "Cease fire!" Over the roar of the gunfire and the blasts of the crowd, with the shout of the master of marines the fusillade ended. The Arabs had dispersed, though such a show of force was sure to only stir up later aggression. They were fortunately motley and caused no grievous wounds; only the odd sailor hit by stones received injuries of any form.
Simo hadn't opened fire yet, as he was unsure whether to fire or not. There was an order to fire, as well as a ceasefire. Still, he kept his finger pressed against the trigger, ready to fire or not based on the louder command.
The Arabs finally scattered, after what seemed like hours of toil and mess. Their dead were dragged or just left on the streets of Tangiers, a bloodied pile of what once was human.
"Cease fire! Cease fire!" The Captain shouted over the roar of the waves. While others had barked similar orders, his word was definitive. Their battle had ended, though one might that say it was a particular victory.
Leaving the men rejoicing on the deck, the master of marines shut the door into the cabin, now empty of the protesting Americans. "We have seen them off, captain," he explained with a touch of his hat. "But with force, and they'll reply in kind. Have your orders changed?"
"We're already late for our meet with the fleet." The Captain began. The storm had long since passed, leaving the dock a damp mess. For now, the seas were fit for sailing. "If they dare not bother us any further, we shall not bother them. Gather what you can and we'll set forth post-haste."
"Aye sir." With a second touch of his hat, the master left, shutting the door as he went. The storm's passing may have been misconstrued as daybreak, such was the change that overcame the deck. Under light, no longer veiled by fog, Katarina's condition could be seen: last night's offscourings littered the floor, but fortunately this was all, and was being swept into the harbour gap. Bloody shards lay on the deck, bloodstains trailing to the surgeon's doorway. The poor soul was the only one being seen to: the Arabs could not find their targets in the dark. Three of their kin brought crates and sacks across the gangway, dropping it down by the steward, cupping their hands into which he pressed silver. Not amongst friends, the workers were anxious to depart, and the gangway was drawn up.
By this time, the Katarina had long since abandoned the port of Tangiers. Be it luck or malfortune, Notos elected to lead them onward, satisfied with the infinite mischief that his storm had caused, and probably pleased that the frigate was entirely at his mercy. The rains and lightning were distant, more than they had been, but the waves were still rough. The frigate's hard skin, however, was no stranger to such perils. The Swedish Baltic had weathered her well.
A rather stygian figure of Captain Solberg entered the reach of the Mediterranean sun's strongest rays, having just left the doctor to his work. He removed his hat and looked up at the empty sky, then across the board and toward both horizons.
"Another one, eh?", the Master sighs, strolling over the ship's head.
"Just one other", the Captain sounded determined, "And the poor soul will be the last"
He placed his hat back on his head, "Damn fools. Firing at what they could barely see-"
"On the reportings", Banks inquired following a deep inhalation, "Will you say it were ours, or theirs who fired the shots?"
"Theirs, of course", the Captain looked back down into the ship, toward the doctor's chambers, "If anyone knows that it was our own clumsiness, well, the poor fools might wind up hanged."
Banks nodded, but quietly added that hanging was a wonderful idea.
"Captain!", Hancock's far off voice butted-in, "Some sort of vessel just off the bow. Man on the front is waving us over!"
Thankful that he didn't have to fire a shot, Simo lowered the rifle that had been given to him. The Finn brought the weapon back to where it was meant to be kept, as he stored it in a quick manner, knowing very well that he was not to keep it unless ordered to. As he brought himself back up to the deck, he turned to face the horizon.
Now that the Katarina had finally set sail, the crew left Tangiers far behind them. They had lost a few good men, but nothing that couldn't be recovered in due's time. Daidalos eased himself back against the ship deck, sitting idly by and waiting for whatever the sea had in store for them next. Knowing the sea all too well, misfortune was all too common.
"Should we help them, sir?", asked a busied seaman.
"I do believe so", said Soldberg, leaning over the gunwales to inspect the invocation, "'Twould be bad luck to deny them their aid."
Banks sighed, "'Tis bad luck to harbor strangers, as well."
The captain grinned sadly, "So says the sea."
"And, by god, is that a woman!?"
"My! I do believe it is!"
The Master and Captain looked to eachother in horror, and then came to a mutual agreement.
"We must", they both yelled at once, then slowly looked back toward eachother. For the Captain had suggested they help, and the Master that they leave at once.
"Are you daft or mad!?", went the Captain.
Banks' expression tightened, "The same to you! You don't expect us to willingly have a woman onboard! 'Tis madness! Barbarism!"
"Well I don't expect you to leave the poor thing to drown, now do I!?", Soldberg stepped into his authority, sabre-hand at his hip, "And this ship is my kingdom. And as the king, I implore that we help them. For chivarlry, if nothing else."
"A vote, then!"
"A 'vote'", Soldberg groaned, "Americans. Very well, then, a vote. You, Finn, and you, Greek. And Mr. Crocisi, please, rest your arms and let Eklund the wheel. Tell me, please, do you value chivalry and life?"
"Our lives?", Banks asked, rather pleased with himself.
The captian snapped, "Or theirs."
(Vote here . Voting shall be closed, 8/12/17 at 4:00 PM EST)
It wasn't long until the chattering crew found themselves in company of the towering Greek. His body loomed over, arms crossed and eyes low and judging.
"Say we did let the poor thing aboard. What would become of it? I see no reason not to. Were they to cause trouble, t'would be a simple thing of running them through with a sword." He wasn't that elegant in his wording, but he had a point. As did the fair Master, who only wished to expediate their journey forthwith.
"Christ, what are you doing!?" Teodor came rushing at the duo of drunkards, brandishing his cutlass. Pushing the sailor currently in possession of the explosive to the deck, he quickly tried cutting off the last remaining stump of the fuse, before realising the futility of it, whereupon he simply lobbed it into the sea. Teodor then turned to the confused sailors, his face contorted with anger.
"You fools!", the Gunnery officer began screaming in Swedish, not caring if the sailors could understand him or not. "You could have killed us all! I should have you whipped for stealing supplies, and daring to play with them like a toy! Back to your posts, immediately!"
Daidalos witnessed the sorry louts and their boredom; toying with explosives was nothing to be joyous about. Certainly, it would have more likely left a hole in one of the sailors, or a hole in the ship. The Greek rolled his eyes, as he stepped over towards the portside of the Katarina.
Still yet, a fisherman's crew waved them down. It was still up to the captain to let them aboard, however.
Leaving the wheel in Eklund's coarse hands, Celino scurried down from the poop deck. Banks' callousness came as little surprise, as did - being an experienced sailor - his trust in a superstition.
"Don't be kept down by an old belief: why, my mother never left the Grande Umberto, and we were among the richest merchants in the Gulf."
The crew was not new to the water, and Celino's sympathies would not be shared by many; that the Greek did was unexpected, for he seemed stern. A nod from Valerio across the deck showed the two to be, unsurprisingly, of like mind.
He was a man about the sea, so would have it. Such as his father before him, and his father before him. T'would be a foul deed to condemn someone to the hells of the ocean. One that the Greek had become familar with over his many times sailing under different flags. Still, he was nothing but a mercenary.
"We waste time by idling here." Daidalos spoke, abrupt but brief.
Seeing the crew of the Katarina in such unanimous cheer seemed to bring a smile to the Greek's face. Whether it be for such hearty laughter, a decivise choice or merely the warm, ocean air, or perhaps even a mixture of all three, one would never know. Daidalos wasn't exactly one to share his inner thoughts. Though, more like it as not, the men were just thrilled to have a woman to woo.
A flurry of ropes were cast into the air, plunging deep into the murky depths below. The fisherman seemed to exhaust himself with shouting and waves, though as the Katarina did yet linger, perhaps it spoke of good omens for him and his small crew.
The sailors' joy threatened to tip the boat as the crew rushed to the port side to bring the fishermen up. Alongside the ropes trailing down to the smaller ship, one of which fastened to it, keeping the boat in place behind Katarina, were the men's arms. These were caught by the fishermen below, who were then hauled up.
The crew of the small fishing vessel were eventually brought aboard, hauled up with aid of rope and pure sailor's muscle. The Greek would not know what sort of men these be, but he hoped they might prove valuable on the sea. One could never know.
"Together we're the captains of plot development!"
"Then there's us other captains of a variety of different nationalities who are also here and add in dialogue to represent less important view points or ask potential questions for the reader"
"Right, let's do this"
"I, Captain American, say that we need to take the fight to the Barbies and fucking sail as one formation to maximize strength. This way we have every advantage in combat."
"I, Captain Swedish, say that we need to divide our forces for versalitlity, since the Barbaques don't have anything to contest the strength of our individual ships. We would also be able to cover more ground and approach multiple piracy situations at once"
"Us, the others, voice our varied praise and concerns for both courses of action"
"I, Banks, speak out of term"
" I am Captain American and I recognize your accent, but beseach that you do not speak out of term to your fellow man"
"I, Banks, argue that both choices are equally as good, and so a compromise should be made."
"I, Captain Swedish, tell Banks to close his little fucking mouth and behave like a big boy"
"us, the other captains, shift around uncomfortably at the current situation"
"I, Captain American, inform Captain Swedish that a compromise must be made. I say we should sail in smaller fleets of 3 or 4"
"Us, the other captains, murmur in either agreement or disagreeement"
"I, Captain Swedish, think this is still too rigid of a formation and call for a vote"
"I, Banks, am shocked that Captain Swedish of all people wants a vote"
"I, Captain Swedish, tell Banks to lock it up. haha, get it"
"We are the other captains, and we agree that this joke is humorous"
There was snow in Sicily. Snow upon the flat beige flats, and the balconies adorned with terracotta-bowled geraniums. Snow upon the prickly pears and rooftop gardens and gazebos. Snow on all the smooth-sided plastered properties and the odd detached home. Snow on the quaintest alleys, and in the busiest courtyards. For once it would could have been one hundred years, the wooden shutters on every paneless window were closed. And despite the noon-ness of the hour, the lanterns, hanging above the doorways, were aglow.
“This!”, Hancock scoffed as he and his posse (you see he was very popular among the crew) strolled about the sleeping streets, “This is what all the fuss is about! Hardly a dusting, I say! Hardly!”
The others, of course, laugh.
But for some, laughter was simply not an option. The Master and the Captain hurried down their own path, an urgent meeting with the others awaited.
“Lo….Lo- My! What was it?”
“Lo Spasimo, Mr. Banks.”
“Spasimo”, the Master confirmed to himself, “Sicilian truly is a beautiful tongue.”
Captain Solberg barely held himself from petty talk. For time was of the esense, and much explaining would have to be done. Especially for the Katarina, who had already vanished from two scheduled appointments, and lost four men.
“I assume the Arabs are in able hands?”
“The ablest. I have them under guardance by the Greek and the Finn.”
“Able indeed. I pity if they try for to run.”
They turned swiftly down an alley, toward an even narrower via than the one they fore treaded. The possibility of such a route surprised them justly.
“Is it that one.”
“With the arches and the trees.”
The grey sun threatened to disappear behind the looming presense of the seven-floor terraces.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“And why’s that?”
“That’s a church.”
“Why, we can't discuss matters of war in a church; ‘tis barbaric!”
“Perhaps that one then.”
“Maybe it was the church...”
The wind began to whistle, and bare branches blew.
“Oh, now you agree?”
"Couldn't have been easier minutes ago?"
"I wasn't sure minutes ago."
“Oj”, the Captain held his escaping hat down with one hand, “Well then, let’s try it.”
Upon a new location, the Greek shivered. Of a man who baked in the ocean sun, he and the cold were bitter enemies. Daidalos wrapped himself up in a blanket, thrown over his shoulders to mask his impressive stature.
"Oaye. Sicily. Cold as a dog's balls." Daidalos muttered to himself. He stood aboard the deck of the Katarina, while the Captain was away on other business. O'course, Arabs were always abound. Pray they would not spot such a bitter man, lest his sword come undrawn.
One sailor says to the Greek "You know you can stand next to the cooker in the dinning quarters with a hot beer, later perhaps we can find some seals and make you some coats from their warm skin to put on."
"Cap'n, look! A flying ship!" One of the shipmates yelled, pointing into the sky. As he did, a silhouette obscured the sun, casting the entire ship into shadow. A massive, wedge-shaped object hovered in the sky. It was over a mile long and completely grey. Banks upon banks of what appeared to be massive cannons lined the sides and bottom of the ship.
The church was considerably warmer than the streets. And considerably more populated as well. But not by what would be normally expected at any sort of official gathering. No uniforms, no manners, no regard for regulation. It was if the wretches had never been taught to sit. At least not on chairs, but tables. And improperly even then. Soldberg was at first convinced that they had entered wrongly, and turned to leave.
"Well, lads! Looks like the Swiss surrender again!"
"Turn tails and ran! Ha!"
"Captain, Captain! Please take a seaté. We've got warm cider and good fire going!"
"And it's roomy!"
"Aye, like a whore's knickers!"
"If anyone", a man who could only be assumed to be the leader of the party put a drunken arm around the new arrivals, "And I mean anyone could accomidate a man of your grandiousnessitationism. Tis us, my man. Tis us."
"What in the name of Christ is this?", Soldberg asked calmly but sharply.
"We're celebrating the thus-far success of our campaign, you leiderhosened lout!", said another, "Not a loss in battle yet. Good omens, is what I say."
"Not a...not a battle", corrects the Swedish captain, "We've only justd arrived"
"And so we scared them away!"
"Tails between their legs!"
"Their own shit between their legs!"
Banks stepped forward, "Is this how you go about presentation in front of your own officers, is it?"
At the sight of the captain's sturdy silhouette in the doorway, no sailor sat still. Noise filled the hall, echoing back to the mariners: chairs fell backwards as their owners rose; sailors dropped to their feet from tables; mugs and swords connected and struck one another; even a drunkard was hoisted to his legs from his place slumped deeply on his throne. Celino joined the others in a sluggish salute - started by the only man whose arm was erect, Valerio - as he attempted to hide a bottle of liqueur behind his back.
Daidalos sighed. "Would suppose so." He shuffled away from the sights of the crew, off towards the cooker. He warmed himself upon heat and warm stones, hoping to quell that dreadful chill. He didn't know how long they would remain in Sicily, but he hoped not long; the cold and him did not mix very well at all.
"See that one? He could be one too.", the Gunner's Mate said, pointing towards a single robed figure at the far end of the harbour. Not soon after the gesture, the figure disappeared into an alley.
"Anyone of them could be one, Andersson.", Teodor said, spreading out his arms to mark the entire harbour. "We are in enemy territory, thus, our enemy is everywhere."
"Oh, yes, well, I suppose so. Never thought about it that way.", Andersson, being slightly drunk, sputtered out.
"You needn't worry. It's unlikely they would make a move on us now. Where you and me thrive, our enemy can barely lift a finger." As if to demonstrate this, Teodor pointed up his glove-fitted index finger into the air.
"I find myself safer already, Holmström."
As Andersson stumbled away, Teodor placed his hands on the railing, and shivered as he felt his grip involuntarily tighten.
The church was still and quiet, save the white winds of snow whining against the stained glass murals that stood against the rafters. Though not entirely attentive, the drunken sailors looked to Solberg with fearful anticipation. Solberg, as well, was hesitant.
"I am waiting for your promised enthusiasm, Captain O'Cannock."
"And I, in turn, are waiting for you to discipline my men as you see fit."
The winter outside lamented what was a celebration, from its seat in the worn crevices of the uppermost windows panes. Only tension now remained. Tension, and O'Cannock's goading stare.
Solberg kept his guard, "Perhaps it would be better if we enter this discussion under better circumstances."
"Perhaps", O'Cannock agreed, "But your previous notion stands. Would you like for me to lend you my whip, Captain Solberg?"
"Captain", whispered Banks, "Captain, I suggest we-"
"Georgian?", O'Cannock kept his sight fixed on the Swede, but lent his ears to elsewhere, "Or Carolinian?"
Banks glared back, "American."
"Oh dear!", O'Cannock let out an exaggerated sigh, striding and quietly laughing his way closer to Solberg, "Is speaking out of term an obligation on your sad little frigate, Captain?"
"Mister Banks, go back to port."
"Go back to port, Banks."
"Captain, I do say-."
O'Cannock was already resting one hand on his sabre's hilt. The Master submitted.
"Good luck, Captain", was his farewell encouragement, as he slowly, almost awkwardly, went through the heavy wooden doors. There was silence again, until the rest of the drunken sailors slowly began taking advantage of Banks' disruption to become comfortable with their own movement again, and as well abandoned the building. Only a few loyal retainers remained by their Captains' side, and the winter breeze was the only of them to speak.