Happy seventh anniversary

Before the Mast!

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Peace with Spain was signed in February 1720. In late April its news arrived to the West Indies, so all the Navies got allied against the common foe – pirates, making their trade more difficult to survive. Which side are you on?

Be ye a pirate, a naval officer, a slave or a lady, you will find a place aboard one of our four ships or live on a paradise island. Men aboard any ship are strongly recommended as first characters, and civilians as secondary ones. No more female sailors are allowed.

We are not the usual sandboxy RPG, neither a narrative-driven one, but a story-focused writing community where each actively writing character can make a difference and an impact on the overall plot. We are writing collaboratively a coherent story with many sideplots aside of it. We also have guides to help you with the time setting, and are more influenced by historical events rather than following them by the history books!

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Elena - Fleet Admiral
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Spotlight

Port de Paix dwellers



The inhabitants of Port de Paix, a French colony, are now busy with celebrating Saint Jean d'Ete and a wedding among the highest nobility. Time for everyone who happens to be in Port de Paix to know them better… and to add your personal flavour to the holiday!

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 Several Celebrations In One, att. everyone in Tortuga and visitors
Sara Mitchell
 Posted: Jun 24 2017, 12:56 AM
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Doctor aboard the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 175


Sara had no intention of keeping her plans to leave for Europe a secret. She just wanted Sol to know it first so that he wouldn’t think that she was planning to leave behind his back while he was preparing for a big battle to retake the Rising Sun. But she couldn’t go through another battle. She couldn’t see any more of her friends die young just for material wealth. Of course, she most of all could not go through imprisonment again. She had been fortunate that she had been useful to the Admiral and that he had honoured their deal. She had been fortunate that none of the soldiers had taken advantage of the opportunity to have their way with her. She was most of all fortunate that she had not ended up with a noose around her neck again. In fact, Sara believed that her luck was probably spent by now. She had been hanged once only to be saved in the last minute by Gaspard. She had been close to be hanged again only to be saved before. She had avoided rape. Her ship had sunk beneath her. She had gone through numerous battles unscathed. She was not going to test her luck any further.

She nodded at Angel’s suggestion. ‘I have no desire to ever see Port-de-Paix again in my life,’ she said. A bit dramatic maybe but it was there that she had been hanged and later imprisoned to be hanged again. ‘And it makes sense for me to go to Nassau, my home, before leaving the Caribbean behind for good,’ she added and became quite thoughtful for a moment. ‘To see my family home one last time and say good bye to all I have ever known where I lost my old life’.

Sara was glad that Sol understood her desire to leave and she appreciated his advice. ‘I understand,’ she said with a rare smile and a nod. She didn’t mind Tortuga to be where she would part with her private friends. However Sol’s next suggestion puzzled her. ‘Why would I sew my money into my dress? Do you suspect I would be robbed?’ she asked wondering if Sol believed a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to be dangerous for a woman travelling alone.

When Angel too announced his intention of leaving the crew, Sara felt a twitch of guilt in her stomach. She looked at Sol and Angel as they talked. She understood why Angel wanted to leave because she had just made a similar choice, but she felt bad for Sol who had lost his ship and now saw his crew dissolve slowly but steadily. ‘I am sorry I can not be there to patch up injuries and dress the wounds of the coming battle, Sol. I spent almost all my time on the ship doing just that and I feel guilty that in the moment of greatest need that I can’t do it. But I hope you’ll manage to secure your ship without the need for combat,’ she told him, knowing that Sol was a resourceful captain who had taken advantage of surprise and covert tactics in the past. ‘I wanted to thank you though. When I initially joined your crew to act a lady in distress, to faint and lure ship in close for the taking, you’ve given me opportunities that few women will ever have and I know I can never be a doctor in the same capacity as I have been with you,’ she told him and gave him a hug before thinking about what she wanted to do. ‘Maybe England will need a good midwife when I get there. I suppose if I can handle a patient like Mini then surely I can help other women too’.
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Pieter de Wyntere
 Posted: Jun 26 2017, 07:25 PM
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Quartermaster on the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 300


After an interesting chat with a new person, the greek sailor the best man, Pieter was attending a new part of the celebrations. He sat at the table looking at the couples the quests. He glanced at Amanda once in awhile with a mild but cheerful smile, he knew she had to be enjoying this even more than he did.

He noticed Sol talking with Sarah and Angel. He had an idea what it was probably about. He knew that they and some others might be considering moving on in life, away from pirate's hazardous life. He was fine with their decision. Everyone had the right to choose, he mused.

However, Pieter himself was not satisfied with the fruits of his pirate career just yet. They had robber a Spanish treasure ship and much other ships, but even that all had not really left him enough money in store. He liked everything he had to be fine, his clothes his house his food. He also wanted to provide Amanda a good living, a good wealthy home for them. His current life lacked some things, even while he was still quite happy with it. Piracy was an easy way to make money, he was not going to stop just yet.

He knew that Amanda might be satisfied with less than he. That was why he felt a little worried. How would she react to any news of Sol's crewmen leaving the pirate's way of life? They might inspire her. Pieter hoped that Amanda would not try to force him to leave piracy before he wanted to. He knew she did not like fearing for his life, but Pieter did not want to see her point of view in this. He knew that he would survive the hazards of sea rover's life, he had survived before their relationship.

But this was not the time to worry about his relationship. As the best man, he had a vital role to play. He stood up, made some noise with his chair to gain attention, and raised his half full glass, “Again I congratulate all the couples once, but first and foremost as the best man, I must congratulate Cass and Maribel here! A toast for their happiness! Santé!”

- the best men's discussion continues here-
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Santiago Moreno
 Posted: Jul 3 2017, 11:34 AM
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Smuggler; captain of "Hermione"
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Posts: 225


It felt a bit strange for Chago too, to be part of the wedding, now, as a groom and not as a best man or a mere attendant, how it had happened before. And only now he remembered the hilarious scene how he had caught the bouquet at Angel’s wedding.

Who would have believed that he would return married from the trip to Kingston? Fate wanted it this way, and he was glad for the outcome. Maribel had told him, when helping him spread the news that he wanted to buy a small house in town, that marriages based on friendship, caring, protection and all good feelings tend to be happier for a longer time than those based only on a passion flame which might burn bright and turn quickly to embers. He agreed with this view, that he had heard about before. He could get accustomed to having such a shy, tender wife, and he was happy that she was safe here, and under several people’s care when he was sailing away.

Katya had been glad to see again the Spaniard she had met one year and a half, when serving at a party, together with other indentured servants, and to find out that he was Chago’s sworn brother, named Sol. She had vaguely heard before about such bonds between men.

She was now witnessing the unknown traditions, trying the best to fit in. She got a piece of cake broken on her head by two of the women in the inn. She had no idea what that meant, neither what the decorated bucket was doing there, but Grisha seemed to get oriented quickly after the other best men and dropped a coin in it, receiving in exchange a piece of cake.

Chago had been sprinkled with Saint John’s holy water, and so had been Katya, when entering the inn.

When their glasses were full and Cass’s best man started the toasts, Chago raised the glass, clinking it against Katya’s first, then against the best men’s and against the other couples.
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Andrea Costa
 Posted: Jul 3 2017, 11:35 AM
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Sailing master on the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 327


Andrea paid attention to Sol and Sara, nodding approvingly at the captain's words. He had wise advice, and all the sailors had heard various stories in ports, about less honest seafarers who had robbed passengers who weren't careful enough with their valuables.

He gulped at hearing the details Sol was telling, the ones he hadn’t heard about yet. He felt sorry about those men, even if he didn’t know them – or so he thought. He didn’t expect Sara to wonder naively why they were fearing that she might get robbed.

”Don’t worry, we would send you with someone we know, so that you arrive safely to Nassau. But yes, afterwards, the trip to Europe is long and not everybody is honest aboard, so better take care of yourself. I can tell you that the money sewn in my belt had saved my life several times.”

Only that in his case it had been about shipwrecks.

Sol thanked him, which made Andrea more uncomfortable with the decision he had taken. However, there was no way for him to continue after that battle, either. He’d use all his savings to buy a small ship like Chago’s, when the opportunity would come. Until then, a few weeks of rest at home wouldn’t be bad either.

”I thank you for your understanding, Captain, and to Sara for everything she had done for us. It was one hell of a year for all of us,” he added with a smile for Sara.

As he stepped back, he saw, to his surprise, Leftheris approaching him and hugging him. He returned the hug, still not understanding what he was doing here.

”Glad to see you too, and to party together. I can ask Said for a few songs for us, even if he doesn’t know many. And our voices can compensate. Thanos will be here too. I admit it is the last place I could ever think of seeing you,” he added.

Right then, a toast had been made, so they were all seeking some glasses.

"For the happiness of all couples, and of all those protected by Saint John!" he replied loudly.
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Sol Galvez
 Posted: Jul 3 2017, 11:36 AM
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Captain of the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 400


It was normal for Sara not to want to return to Port de Paix anymore.

”I can’t say I love it right now either,” Sol confirmed. ”And most likely all of us have similar feelings. I am sure the French went mad afterwards. With a proper lady’s dress and maybe another name to tell the ship captains, both the one bringing you to Nassau and the one to take you to Europe from there, you’d be safe. Because I bet your real name is still on the lists…”

He confirmed Angel’s words.

”You can never know who is the real pirate, the one sailing under the Jolly Roger or the one under a regular flag, who might be supposed to defend you. Better safe than sorry! And better having some money left with you in the worst case,” he advised her openly. ”Of course, sewing them into a belt to wear underneath your clothes and into the hem of the dresses can’t hide ALL your money. Some will remain in their pouches in the trunk, and you’d better prove me wrong but do it than prove me right too late…”

Sara and Angel weren’t the first ones to leave him after they had lost the ”Rising Sun” to the villains. About twelve or fifteen men, some of the mostly recent hired ones and some who had families to support, had chosen, upon the return from Nassau, to find luckier captains to sail under. It was expected, and Sol couldn’t find any word of reproach for them, as people needed money to survive, and in order to have money, they needed a ship to sail first and foremost. So, albeit in this case it hurt more, because these two were already his friends, he understood them too and he wished them wholeheartedly good luck.

Sara tried to apologize to him, but Sol clasped her hands.

”Don’t feel guilty! We have managed somehow before you came, and we’ll manage now too. Do what you have to, at the right moment, because lingering here you might find reasons not to leave… then… No, Sara, you taught the others around you more of your skills, so they will be able to give a first aid until returning to Maribel’s hands.”

At the hope of securing the ship without combat, he expressively shook his head in denial, the only reply being a touch to his side, where Ryder’s dagger had got between two ribs. Those were the people they were going to deal with, and they would fight for their only chance at remaining with the ship. He nodded at Angel’s comment about a hell of a year. Indeed, it had been. No wonder that Sara had enough of it.

She hugged him, thanking for everything he had done for her and understanding that she wouldn’t be the same in Europe. He returned the hug immediately.

”You will be a good midwife, Sara. And if you don’t treat only the rich people, believe me that you’ll be soon an all-pains doctor without the title. This is how I was told things work there,” he added. ”You’ll have the money needed to start up your business. I’ll take care that you get everything you deserve before leaving.”

His eyes narrowed when seeing Angel, who had just left them, hugged by that French Navy guy who was Mora’s man. Cacica’s words of last night came to his mind, not sure what to think about the young sailing master. But that discussion was not for now, definitely. Tomorrow, on clear mind… or later tonight if the opportunity came.

Right then, Pieter made a toast. He sought his glass too, raising it for the happiness of the couples and for the ones who have their feast day, without a proper toast from his part. Yes, he was the best man of the other couple… but he was not the only one. Maybe Katya’s brother would toast now and he would do it later, because right now Sol was not exactly in the mood for choosing the right speech. He tried to recover, though, with one of his jokes:

”And if you still have conscience pangs for leaving, I can tell you the quickest way to make up to us: grant me a dance tonight, and one to the groom,” he winked, looking at Cass, who had been Sara’s friend from her first day there, to be sure which of the three grooms there he was talking about.

And, as if reading his thoughts, Katya's brother held a brief toast, then he started talking to Pieter. Sol smiled and raised the glass again.
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Sara Mitchell
 Posted: Jul 11 2017, 08:42 PM
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Doctor aboard the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 175


Sara smiled as Sol, practical as he was, began to suggest how her journey to her port of departure could happen safely. ‘I have plenty of proper dresses,’ she said and gestured at her current attire. ‘You hired me originally to be a fainting siren, remember?’ she added with an unusual verbal humour. She had always opted to wear dresses. Even in her work as a doctor on the ship. Her only attire that wasn’t a dress was a simple shirt and baggy pants that she had used when discovering that practising sword fighting was impossible in a long dress. She appreciated all his advice though and she would definitely follow it. Coming to Europe would be challenging in its own right. She would come alone and have to get settled, find new friends and make a living in a new world. How odd actually that her new world was the one most people called the old world. But she had never known what Europe was actually like. She had never experienced a harsh winter, nor had she lived on a body of land larger than the Caribbean Islands.

She had already thought of her future work as a doctor, and while her means, skill, and social upbringing would have enabled her to work with just the rich and noble, she wanted to help everyone; just like her father. The notion that a dance could make up for her decision to leave was accepted with a nod. ‘I would be happy to dance with both of you,’ she said and smiled. ‘Cass has always been like a brother to me and I can not even imagine how much I will miss him when I leave,’ she admitted as she looked at the master gunner.
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Casimir St. John
 Posted: Yesterday at 01:02 pm
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Master gunner aboard the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 251


After the best men have told their wishes, Cass was the first to stand up and raise a glass with sangria, thanking for the toasts:

”Warmest thanks to the best men for those lovely words, and thank you all for celebrating with us this very special day for so many of us, especially those who have travelled from far away. It means a lot for us. Let’s raise our glasses to a long life filled with happiness and love for all the brides, grooms, best men, bridesmaids, for those who celebrate today their patron saint’s day and for all our friends here.”

Maribel, knowing that he didn’t drink, took care that on their table, the sangria was made with more juice than wine, exactly like the one for the children. Just that nobody needed to know this detail.

He felt Sara's gaze upon him, interpreting it as a good luck wish from her part, as he had no idea what was being discussed with Sol. Cass smiled, raising again the glass in her direction. Then he turned to Maribel, getting the blessed money pouch from his pocked and handing it to her:

“I hereby give you las arras as being the gold and silver I endow you with. Since now on, or rather already for a while, what is mine has become yours, and what is yours has become mine too. I call upon God, upon Virgin Mary, your patron saint, and upon San Juan, whose feast is today and who watches over our love, to bless this symbol of the home prosperity and to give us love, joy, peace and wealth.“

The inn could be hers, but he had invested in it too. He had backed up her investment into the other inn in Port-de-Paix Maribel was owning together with her sister and, it turned up, together with Mora’s fiancée, the French master gunner, one of Cass’s best men now. For true, what was his was hers too, and he had always recognized that her business spirit was better than his own. It was fair, not only from a bride's perspective, that he had given her las arras. He had given her before, to invest wisely, all the shares of the latest many expeditions, too.
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Thierry Vounos
 Posted: Yesterday at 01:54 pm
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Master Gunner aboard "Le Phenix"
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Posts: 269


Leftheris looked at Andrea, smiling at the news that there would be some of their songs and Thanos as a third dance partner too. Then, Andrea’s reply to the toast of the other best man made him aware that he should say something as well.

“Wishing them all the health, wealth and happiness in the world, I’d like you all to join me in toasting the happy couples. May you always be friends as well as lovers. To brides, grooms and everyone celebrated here today,” he said.

Who would have expected this morning when they had arrived in Tortuga, or after midnight when they had headed here in an impulse, that he’d see his friends and that he’d have the opportunity to be the best man at a pirate master gunner’s wedding to Mora’s sister?

Life was weird, but this pirate wedding was ...different in a charming way. He found himself enjoying it, not only because Mora and Andrea were both by his side.
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Maribel Vargas
 Posted: Yesterday at 02:03 pm
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Innkeeper, Tortuga
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Posts: 280


Maribel blushed, first at hearing the toasts and silently replying them with a head bow and raising her glass, sipping a bit of the same very mild sangria, then when she was offered las arras, in a beautifully embroidered pouch.

She had been married before, to a Frenchman, and only the French traditions had been observed aboard the ship. Or, rather, a selection of them, given that they didn't have a wedding cake then, but they had a chamberpot offered in the morning by the captain and the first mate. Now, everything was different, and Cass was half Spanish, choosing for her sake to observe the Spanish traditions and to give her las arras.

"I am honoured to receive them and to be the mistress of the house, your faithful wife, Señora de Saint John," she replied with a trembling voice, her gaze meeting his.

Their lips met as well, according to the tradition - once for luck, twice for love and thrice for long life.

"I am also happy to have my younger sister by my side, as my bridesmaid," she added, looking at Antonia.

They had dreamt together of this moment in their young years. Now the dream was coming true for her. If she looked at the expression on the face of her sister's fiance, it might come true for Antonia some day too, God willing.
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Santiago Moreno
 Posted: Yesterday at 02:04 pm
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Smuggler; captain of "Hermione"
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Posts: 225


Chago raised a glass too, as it was his turn to thank for the toasts.

”I warmly thank the best men for their warm wishes, as well as for being by our side on such moments. I wish a happy long life to all the other celebrated couples and to those who share with me the same patron saint celebrated today.”

He only wetted his lips in the glass, leaving it there for the other toasts to come too. He always knew how to drink, how much he could take and how to mix liquor with food.

After him, Santino did the same, following also the master gunner’s example that it was the right moment to complete the wedding traditions by offering Noelle las arras. Exactly like in Cass’s and Maribel’s case, the groom was moving in the bride’s house, so what is mine becomes yours, and what is yours is mine too got a deeper meaning.

If the other couple’s best man had toasted in English and she understood, smiling shyly, Katya had frozen in place at hearing her brother’s. She had hoped that by getting married, by leaving her parents to live far away, on another island, and by changing her name through marriage, she was safe from being recognized as being a Jew and abused for this. Then what was Grisha doing now? Fortunately nobody else seemed to know that the toast wasn’t his original thought. She was still safe, and she had worried in vain.

She looked how the other two grooms were giving their brides a money pouch. Chago had explained her that she would receive one with thirteen coins too, because she is the mistress of the house and Señora de Zamorra, and that was to be guarded, not to be spent. It was the same line of thinking her people had with the ring, she thought.

Right then, Chago stood up, giving her a hand to help her up too, and with the other, he offered her a nicely embroidered pouch, saying:

“According to my country’s traditions, I give you these thirteen doubloons as bridal wealth. With the ring I wed you, this gold and silver I give you, with my body I worship you and with this dowry I endow you. By giving you these coins, I am telling you that what is mine becomes yours, and what is yours is mine too. I call upon God, upon Virgin Mary, upon San Juan, whose feast is today, upon our patron saints, Santiago the Apostle and Santa Catalina, to bless these coins knowing that they are also the symbol of the home prosperity and all good the Heaven has in store for us – love, joy, peace and wealth.“

Katya took it with a blush and a mere ”Thank you,” not sure how she should have replied, as the other grooms and brides hadn’t spoken English, so that she could understand and somehow replicate their answers.

Chago kissed her three times, in the wedding guests’ cheers. This deepened her blush.

His crewmates, Mincho, Jorge and Manolo marked the moment with a few wedding couplets:

”We are bringing you a wedding tree with roses,
The last one meant for a maid, the first for a spouse.
The tree has elm branches, its leaves announcing
That you’re celebrating your matrimony.

Your hands got united,
You received the bridal wealth,
You, bride, seemed like a rose
Freshly cut out of a rose branch.

May you have a happy married life,
As your love wishes,
We come to wish you good luck
And to enjoy the godparents’ attentions.”


The musicians, grateful for the interruption, had already planned the first dance to be La Chappeloise, so that everyone had the opportunity to dance with the three brides and several celebrated Saints.
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Sol Galvez
 Posted: Yesterday at 02:10 pm
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Captain of the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 400



It had been a hell of a year, indeed, Sol shook his head, still throwing a glance at two men who shouldn’t be as friendly as they were. But… well, he and Rowan? Sebastien and Nathanial? Things happened in people’s lives, and the world was small. Maybe there was another explanation than what he thought that Cacica had suggested last night for Angel’s acquaintance with the French Navy man.

Meanwhile, Sara made him laugh with reminiscing that she had been initially hired to be a fainting siren. He nodded appreciatively.

”You are a too skilled doctor, and the sirens aren’t anymore aboard ships,” he replied to that. ”And you can be whatever you want to be, Sara. You are ambitious, skilled, determined to succeed. I wish you all the good luck.”

She promised to dance with both of them, confessing that she’d miss him.

”Be sure that we’ll miss you too, but we understand that you will fare better in Europe, making yourself a new life. As you have just seen, some of us want the same, albeit here.”

They looked, then, at the grooms giving toasts and at the brides receiving las arras. He couldn't help a longer staring, but then he remembered Concha's words. Chago hadn't believed either that it would happen so soon after he had caught Honey's bouquet, so... anything was possible in this world.

Soon the musicians started a French dance, and Sol grinned in anticipation:

”Well, it seems that they have heard my wishes and they are ready to give you the opportunity to dance with us all from the first dance! Will you grant me this chappeloise, Mademoiselle?” he bowed properly.
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