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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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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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 More Than A Honeymoon Voyage, att. Darcy; open to anyone in PdP
Casimir St. John
 Posted: Mar 8 2017, 01:16 AM
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Master gunner aboard the "Rising Sun"

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Date: 29-th of June 1720, in the afternoon
Place: Port de Paix, Saint Domingue, Hispaniola


The rhythm of the gun shots in the air, the tambourine players, and the folk dancers, dressed in the traditional costumes of each part of France their ancestors had come from marked the ending of the traditional festivities known in French as entre la Saint Jean et la Saint Pierre, the time when fields weren't worked and people partied. Saint Peter was the patron saint of fishermen, so they were the ones carrying, in a procession, the statue of the saint down to the waterfront, for the blessing of the waves. The fishermen's women and daughters hurled sprays of flowers into the sea.

Cass, Maribel and Darcy had witnessed this in the morning, together with Mora, Iseult, Carlin and Maire. They had arrived early, brought by a fishing ship, after having travelled by night.

It could have been seen as strange that Cass had thought of taking Darcy with them in what they could call a honeymoon voyage, but it was a deliberate choice. First and foremost, he was a pirate. Hopefully not one to be recognized, how Angel and Sol were, but a pirate nonetheless. Being accompanied not only by a woman, but by a woman and a child on the streets of Port de Paix was a better disguise than any other, giving the impression of an innocuous family man. Secondly, Darcy had never travelled out of Basse Terre and he knew she longed to. This was a good opportunity to show her another town in holidays.

Initially, when planning this, Darcy and Maribel were supposed to stick together and go see the town while Cass met Gaspard to finally give him the last part of his shares in his former pirate life – as the "Rover" had been sold after the commotion with Sol's wound and just before the final coup which had been the stealing of the "Rising Sun". There had simply not been time to comply with Sol's last promise to Gaspard until now. However, after the discussion held two days ago between man and wife, Maribel had insisted that she wanted to talk to Gaspard too, so there were going to be all the three of them to meet him in the afternoon. He had agreed with Maribel, after a few minutes of thinking.

At the beginning, Cass had worried that he might be difficult to find, but once in town, Darcy had pointed to the posters present in several places, showing him as a fencing instructor. But, again, this was a business to take care of in the afternoon. The procession was the event of the morning.
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Maribel Vargas
 Posted: Mar 11 2017, 07:46 PM
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Innkeeper, Tortuga
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Maribel had been looking forward to that trip since Mini had told her that she could do with the child whatever she wanted, because Mini definitely didn't care for him at all. Neither to feed him, nor to see him, not even to name him. So before doing anything, Maribel had first talked to Cass, who had agreed with her, after a little consideration, and now she was looking forward to talking to Gaspard and asking him if he agreed on them keeping the baby to raise him as their own. His name was to be Juan first and foremost, since he was born on the eve of Saint John's summer feast, and moreover he seemed to be one of Saint John's gifts to her, the fulfilling of a lifetime dream, to finally have a baby to hold and to raise. If Renaud and Juliette were going to be the godparents, as Juliette was his nurse as well, then the name matched their daughter's, Marie Jeanne. There would be a second name too, but that would be discussed in three, with Cass and Gaspard, today.

She was glad that Darcy was with them. Her big eyes in taking in the sea voyage and the new town had been Maribel's greatest joy up to now.

"In my home town in Spain, Saint Peter was celebrated with as much pomp as Saint John," she explained first and foremost to Darcy and to his nephews, Carlin and Maire. "It was a kind of fair and a parade of carriages, of horsemen too, in which my uncles took part too. It helped them sell those horses with better price afterwards. There was a religious procession exactly like here, up to the sea, with religious songs, and special events organised by the fishermen's guild. Then in the evening there were dances, fires light on the shore, and at midnight, one would bury San Pedro like the Carnival is burried, until next year."

Some of the traditions were somehow similar here too, some were different. But it was worth watching, and awaking memories of the time when she was Darcy's age and everything was fine at home, with a mother, a father and all the siblings around.
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Mora Vargas
 Posted: Mar 11 2017, 08:49 PM
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Brothel Madame, Port de Paix
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For Mora, it had not been a surprise that she got to see her sister and brother-in-law so soon after their wedding (and her visit to Tortuga), as she had heard with that opportunity that they were planning a one-day visit to attend various kinds of business here. She liked the little apprentice they had come with too, and whom she had met during her two visits to Tortuga, back in February and a few days ago. But she had to admit that if it wasn't for Maribel, this would have been a regular work day for her, and her children wouldn't have seen the procession of Saint Pierre.

She sighed, hearing Maribel's tales about times and places she was missing too. Then she asked Darcy:

"How do you like Port de Paix up to now?"

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Darcy Bouchard
 Posted: Mar 15 2017, 04:22 AM
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Tavern maid apprentice
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The moment Maribel and Cass told her about coming along with them on their Honeymoon Voyage, she couldn't have been more surprised and happy. Though hesitant because she didn't want to entreat on something meant for just the newly weds. But when they said it would be okay, tears of happiness sprang to her eyes and she hugged each Maribel and Cass in turn, giving thanks to them for the opportunity. She felt bad that Louie or Raphael could not come but promised to bring something special back for each of them.

It was a new feeling to be one of the ones boarding a boat instead of watching friends sail away and waving goodbye from the port. Even before her life was the way it was now, she would often travel down to port and watch her papa leave many a time until the sea did not bring him back to her. she longed to know what it was like out in the middle of the sea and to travel to places not seen before.

But this was her chance.

The voyage to Port De Paix had been a long one but one she enjoyed. Watching the waves lap up against the boat and seeing fish and maybe even a shark one time, had brought her more immense joy. But the town of Port De Paix wasn't to be outdone by his local festivities. She smiled at the celebratory traditions of the people there. It was a lot to take in but worth the excitement.

Turning her gaze from the folk dancers, she looked to Maribel and smiled."It's sounds so exciting. I wish I had grown up with such a big celebratory affair." She looked around once more."I like everything, it makes me happy to see it. I feel uplifted. I can't wait to tell Louie and Raphael about this."

Then she turned her attention to Mora. she was beautiful like her sister, Maribel. Darcy liked getting to know her. To her question, she answered happily."I like it very much Mora. What's your favorite part of being here?."

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Mora Vargas
 Posted: Mar 19 2017, 11:56 PM
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Brothel Madame, Port de Paix
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Mora was amused by Darcy's childish enthusiasm. Was she similar at this girl's age? Or had she already fallen on the slope of hard work, obeying Maribel, together with Juanba, and trying to make a living from the inn their father neglected more and more, being mindlessly drunk most of the time? And exactly when they had thought that everything was over and they have regained a sober father, willing to start a new life with them in the colonies… then the worst misfortune had happened.

The girl's question made her smile – a brief, strange little smile. Actually, her favourite part would have been not being here, exactly for the childhood memories it brought. But given that she was with Maribel and with the happy children, this had to count more.

"When I was your age, I loved the dances and the songs. I was a little afraid by the funeral of San Pedro, thinking it was too close to the funeral of my mother, which had happened earlier in June. Now, I think I love the most how you, Carlin and Maire are so fascinated by everything."

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Casimir St. John
 Posted: Mar 21 2017, 12:01 AM
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Master gunner aboard the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 255


Cass was less fascinated by the holiday. He was generally apathetic, especially that Port de Paix reminded him about some dangerous adventures as well, not to mention more than last year's storming of Saint Louis fort to save Sol (and the others) and the very recent kidnapping of the princess. As for St. Peter himself, assuming that he had existed - Cass had his doubts - he would be only the old guy with the keys of the Paradise. A place which surely wasn't for pirates, neither for their supporters, so assuming that by mistake Cass would have arrived there at a certain point in the future, he would feel too lonely.

Yes, the feast had certain attractions. As little Carlin had asked him so kindly to go to play boules with him, he couldn't resist a child's plea and obliged, perfectly aware that this kind of a French game wasn't exactly his strong point.

"Darcy, do you want to come to play with us? Mama tried once, so it is not true that women could never play it!" Carlin asked his new companion.

Now Cass smiled.

"Yes, if you want, you can join our team."
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Maribel Vargas
 Posted: Mar 21 2017, 03:20 PM
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Innkeeper, Tortuga
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During the procession, Maribel had prayed to San Pedro, San Juan and all the saints for support in her endeavour. She couldn't imagine who wouldn't melt at the thought of a perfect, tiny baby boy whom his mother had rejected from the first moment, and she was afraid, deep inside, that the father could want the baby to raise him himself.

If that happened, she was going to give him to Gaspard. But if he wasn't convinced he wanted a baby in his life, she would persuade him to leave the boy in her care. She could do it, with Juliette's help. And she could offer the baby a name, a start in life, love and everything he needed. Gaspard could see him whenever he wanted, but it would be Maribel's to love and to keep.

Maribel preferred to chat to Mora in the background while the men had decided to invite Darcy for boules. Her mind was, however, on the encounter scheduled for the afternoon. How she will have to tell Gaspard everything that happened, and to ask him if he had any claim on the baby, because otherwise she'd keep him and raise him as her own. She didn't tell it yet, though, to her sister. It would be time after the matter was settled.
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Darcy Bouchard
 Posted: May 7 2017, 08:35 PM
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Tavern maid apprentice
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Darcy smiled at Mora. She could understand about sad things like funerals, has she too saw many. She hadn't been old enough to remember her mother's as she was just an infant and there hadn't been one for the papa gone at sea. They'd never recovered the body. "Funerals are hard and scary too but I think that is because of final goodbyes."

She didn't delve more into it, wanting the outing to remain a happy affair."but the song and dances are very much my favorite part. Makes me happy inside. It's the citizens coming together to enjoy and be happy and forgetting any hardships they may have for the time being."

Yes this could be appreciated by some. They're worries could be forgotten to enjoy good food, company, and the music. It gives hope that life isn't always the bleakness they experience every single day.

Darcy hummed a little tune along with the music until Carlin called to her. She played a few times in her past but not since coming to work for Maribel. She smiled and nodded to her new companion."Yes, I would love to play." She thought to ask Mora and Maribel if they wanted to play too but saw that they were in deep conversation instead, so she went along with Carlin and Cass play.

"I haven't played in a long time so I may be rusty."
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Casimir St. John
 Posted: May 14 2017, 05:56 PM
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Master gunner aboard the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 255


Cass laughed and ruffled her hair:

”So what if you aren’t good at it? You’re learning! I am also rusty enough for not having played in many months. The worst it can happen is that our team gets to kiss Fanny," he winked, alluding at the fact that in many parts the unlucky loser of all the 13 points had to kiss the bottom of a sort of figurehead carved on the trunk keeping the balls, nicknamed Fanny.

At least here, in Port de Paix, the tradition required kissing only the ill-fated piglet.

Hearing that she hadn't played for long time, Carlin tried to explain her the same way as Leftheris had told him last winter:

"We have to throw this small, wooden ball called cochonnet (the piglet) on the field lined and prepared specially for the game. If one misses, it is the next one’s turn. Then we’ll throw the bronze ball you have chosen, and whose ball lands closer to the wooden one after four throws each is the winner.”

"And we can have a team of three," Cass added.

The boy had learnt the rules, even if he needed all his strength in dealing with the bronze ball.

"We are gentlemanly enough to allow Darcy throw the first," he taught Carlin the way to behave respectfully.

The boy pouted, but stepped aside, allowing the girl to step towards the wooden piglet. A wooden pig not good to eat… but who cared? Having fun was more important.
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Maribel Vargas
 Posted: Jul 10 2017, 11:07 AM
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Innkeeper, Tortuga
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* * * * *


They would have followed their plans of waiting for the afternoon to talk with Gaspard, but fortunately he happened to pass through the crowd not far from them, so Maribel could see him and run to him.

"Gaspard, Gaspard!"

The man stopped. He was not in a hurry, and seeing Maribel there was a pleasant surprise. He approached her. and the discussion was quick. Maribel had told him the latest news about the "Rising Sun's" tragical fate, about the fact that Cass had something for him, that Cass and her got married a few days ago and what interested her the most: that Mini had her son and abandoned him.

"If you don't mind, I would like to raise him as our own, and to name him Juan Casimir, because he was born on San Juan's eve. But I know you are his father and if you want him I can't deny your rights."

Fortunately, as she had hoped, a newlywed had no place in his household for another woman's child, a child he had never wanted, while Maribel had enough love to give him and decent material conditions to raise a baby, as long as Juliette remained his nurse. Gaspard gave his blessing, promising to pass by some day, in a few months' time, to see him. Not that it mattered anyway, but he was also protected by Saint Jean, so the name was part of his too, as he was named Gaspard Jean-Marie.

When Cass and Darcy returned victorious, there was more time for talking, in a tavern, and for some well-wrapped gold pieces to exchange owners. They received, however, one of the money pouch back, as baptism expenses. Since Juliette was going to be the baby's godmother too, not only the nurse, she would receive half of it as a gift.

"Now I can announce you officially that, having worked all the aspects which could have been against us, we have a baby boy, all ours," she told Cass, Darcy and Antonia.

"Let's toast for his good health, good luck and happiness!" Mora replied.

It was strange, for Cass, to go on a honeymoon voyage and to return with such news, but he knew that Maribel desperately wanted a child. Maybe, being a boy and Maribel wanting to give him his name too, he would bond with him later too, when he wouldn't be anymore a screaming bundle. (Not that Cass had seen him up to now).

"In this case, you have to arrange for a baptism soon, to have him listed as being officially ours," he said. "And he'll be called Juancas"

Antonia nodded. Her younger brother (and Maribel's) was Juanba. It was a way to remember him too.

- THE END -
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