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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?

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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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 Tal Vez Mi Media Naranja?, (Possibly my other half?) Monica & Jean
Monica Perez
 Posted: Feb 19 2017, 11:47 PM
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Date: 24 June 1720
Place: Basse Terre, Tortuga, on the shore, a little ways away from the summer fires on the festival day


Monica was sweating, and it wasn't only because of the summer heat, or the fires that burned all the time. Ever since her beating after stealing the shoes at the last St. John's festival she had been to, something about the crowds of people here made her nervous.

She had thought she would have enjoyed herself. She thought the memories were behind her, or if they weren't quite behind her that coming here might help to cleanse her of them.

She had apparently been wrong on both counts, but it was too late now, and so she watched some of the others dance, remembering in her heart and head the tribal drums of home. The fact that there were some others here, dark skinned like her, made her feel both better and worse. Better, because she wasn't alone. Worse, because if anything happened, they would be likely to be blamed too, if she hid among them.

If there was one thing she could wish for, today of all days, it would be a medal with her saint. But though she was free, stealing would do her no good, and she could not afford one.

Feeling vulnerable, she moved a little away from the fire and tried to concentrate on the drums and take herself home, at least in her mind.
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 Posted: Feb 22 2017, 08:20 PM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver

- continued from here -


It felt good to be alive and not rotting in prison. Jean had been at the mass today, he had given thanks and he had received even a pain de Saint Jean which he had put in his pocket, to eat it later, with a glass of cider.

He had been around with Vitor, until the Portuguese had found a woman to his liking. Jean had danced with one, who had left him afterwards, to giggle with her sisters. She was, most likely, too young for him, he mused. He looked around, as the dances were appealing and he wanted to find another dance partner, if the other hadn't been interested. As he was looking, he saw somewhere aside, a brass-tanned beauty with loose curls and a dreamy face. He approached her boldly and directly, as he had learnt in his sailing years:

"Were you dreaming about a new dance partner?" he joked. "Because I'd like dancing with you!"

This was Tortuga, not Versailles. One didn't have time for too much fancying around.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: Feb 26 2017, 09:06 PM
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"Perhaps," she said. "I was thinking of the drums of home also." If she wasn't so afraid, she really would like to dance. But how was she to explain it to a stranger? "If I felt comfortable, I'd dance with you if you liked, but for now I am hot. That's why I am a little ways away from the fires."

There, that was the truth and it was not revealing too much to someone she did not know yet.

It seemed she should have seen the man before. If she was not mistaken, she had,and he was one of Sol's crew. His name, however escaped her. But his face seemed kind, as well as seeming to be a beautiful nearly golden shade of brown, and that was enough for her not to fear him.

"In the meantime, would you like to talk a little? I am Monica Perez, the owner of the herbal shop, but I used to work in the Elixir. Have I seen you there before?"


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 Posted: Feb 28 2017, 11:07 PM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver


His words received an unexpected answer.

"Do you mean Africa? You have been born there and you remember? How old were you when you were taken?" he asked.

It was not impossible. And her halted French was showing that she wasn't speaking it for long. Would she have been one of the victims of Captain Rawson's raids? Hopefully not. It would have been too painful for him if he faced his fate this way.

If being too hot was the reason, this problem could be solved simply.

"Well, we needn't go closer to the fire to dance, if you like it. The tune is heard here too."

And here he wouldn't share her with anyone. But as she wanted first to talk a bit, and to introduce themselves, the better.

"My name is Jean Serre. I used to be a part of the Rising Sun's crew, and I spent some of my free time in Belle's inn, but you weren't working there anymore in May, when I joined them. I was born in Saint Domingue, but my parents had been born in Africa."

Actually, only his mother and her ancestors, as his father was white. But he never thought about his father.

Probably their paths had crossed in the market streets or somewhere else. Because, if he looked better, he would have said he had seen her before too.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: Mar 3 2017, 06:43 AM
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"Yes, Africa. I was born in the city-state of the Yoruba. And then... I was brought here at... twelve, they told me I was." It was still confusing, having an actual birth date and everything. Such things had been made note of only for the king and queen in her country. She smiled at him. "I wonder if your parents remembered where they had come from, too. I also apologize for my less than perfect French. I had been on Santo Domingo, the Spanish side, until last year."

Indeed, the tune could still be heard from this area, and knowing a little more about him made her relax even more. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to let her guard down a little, as long as they stayed close to one another. She nodded her assent and began trying to follow the dance.
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 Posted: Mar 4 2017, 02:10 AM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver


So she was speaking Spanish better than French. Jean had learnt English and some Portuguese, not Spanish, during his time with Captain Rawson. So they had to understand each other in her limited French. And they had been on the same island, just on opposite sides.

"I heard about Yoruba. Great warriors, they said. My mother was from Fon tribe. My father was the overseer."

It happened. He was not the first, nor the last one to be born from a forceful union. As she apologised for not speaking French well enough, he returned the apology.

"It is all right. I am not speaking Spanish either, unfortunately."

She agreed to dancing with him, and, given that they could hear the tunes from both the main fire and the African drums from the other, closer to the seashore, dedicated to La Sirene and Agwe, he asked:

"What do you prefer first? Should I teach you the dances played there, or would you remember some of Africa and let yourself sway into the rhythm of the drums?"

It was her choice.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: Apr 11 2017, 03:42 AM
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"Teach me first, I think. I don't remember many of our dances anymore," she said, the last part sounding regretful. "I was so young when I left."

Indeed, Monica didn't remember many of the dances from her homeland, though she had tried over the years occasionally at other festivals. Whether it was because she blocked them out as a way of not bringing herself pain when she remembered happier times or because she was afraid of the reactions of any nearby white people was anyone's guess, including her own. But she had a feeling it was a combination of the two reasons.

"Have you been taught any dances from your parents' homelands?" she asked out of curiosity.
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 Posted: Apr 18 2017, 09:16 AM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver


Could he deny her kind request to teach her the African dances, as it seemed they were the first on her mind? It wasn’t as if they could understand each other without difficulties, but despite what he had initially asked her, it seemed the reply was a bit different – that she didn’t remember the dances of her homeland anymore, and that she was interested if he had learned his ancestors’.

”Yes, I was taught. We were dancing them on holidays, around a fire, in the sound of drums, rattles and fifes, just like here. And it is not difficult – let’s go a bit closer to the drums, even if not quite near the fire, just to hear better their rhythm, and if you let yourself embraced by the song and move in the rhythm, you don’t need anything else,” he said.

Maybe once she started dancing, the movements she had seen in her childhood would come back to her, he mused.

Dancing made Jean feel lighter, happier. Each drum beat seemed to resonate with something in his body and soul, begging him to allow his body to express the internal and external rhythms of the drums. He was dancing a warrior dance, moving the pelvis, shoulders, arms, hands, hips, and feet in an intricate way. He danced with the storm and the waves, opening himself to the new, to the unknown future, through the power of dance.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: Apr 18 2017, 06:28 PM
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As she watched his movements, she recognized it as being similar to a warrior dance in her own homeland, and despite herself, she began to dance too. It didn't matter that she was a woman, not here. She was a different kind of warrior- a survivor- but a warrior nonetheless!

Monifa, warrior princess!

Somehow it suited her, thinking of herself this way, and before she knew it she had whispered it aloud.

"Warrior princess of the Yoruba!"

Wouldn't they be proud if they could see her now? Her parents, Kanyi, the people? She imagined herself dressed in a warrior's clout, her arm around a fierce yet gentle lioness, scratching her ears as she gave a low, rumbling purr. It was so real she had a bit of trouble orienting herself when the dance was over. And then she realized one thing. Her secret was out.
She hadn't been a warrior, but she had been a princess.

Would he not want to talk to her anymore? Would he consider himself unworthy of that? She couldn't remember telling anyone in Tortuga her secret before.
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 Posted: Apr 19 2017, 11:28 AM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver


Monica was dancing, with sensual, slow intricate moves, raising her arms over her head and shaking them to sound her bracelets, then laughing and beguiling. Her hips were waving, and the first layer of her many petticoats as well, and the steps were intricate, in the rhythm of the drums. The waving of her petticoats suggested the moving of the waves on the sea.

Where the Yoruba young woman saw a warrior princess, considering her secret told to everyone, Jean saw La Sirene, the spirit of the waters, dancing with Agwe, as he was undulating his spine with the hands placed on bent knees, meeting all her moves.

She was a survivor, indeed, of whatever misfortunes had befallen her in her youth, and now she was a young woman brought again to her roots in a magical night.

Unlike the style of their ancestors, but copying the manners of the whites, among whom he had spent enough time, when the dance was over, he kissed her hand, thanking her for having accepted his invitation.

Jean had no idea she was a Yoruba princess, but this dance had convinced him that she could be his princess.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: May 18 2017, 06:36 AM
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"I enjoyed that very much. Thank you." Monica had turned a little shy, but seeing that he didn't seem to be put off by her, she relaxed again.

Indeed, it seemed he was the opposite of put off, and she smiled brightly when he kissed her hand.
"I think I like that new custom. It makes a woman feel..." she paused.

Pretty. Cherished. Fragile, but in a good way.

All things she'd never been able to feel until that moment.

Being pretty, while good for catching a man, hadn't been much of an asset to her as a slave. Being pretty only got you pregnant with a child that was taken away from you too soon, or seemed to make men- especially whites- think you might welcome their sexual advances when you didn't. Being cherished would have been nice, but she had worried it wouldn't happen for her. And being delicate had seemed to make people more susceptible to the rampant disease that could spread when so many people- slaves or not- shared quarters.

But this wasn't like that. The fragility she felt now was almost an awareness of how different Jean was from her., in all his maleness. And yet, she knew somehow that he would not break her, neither in body nor in spirit, as others had done.

"Alive," she finally said breathlessly.
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 Posted: May 26 2017, 09:55 AM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver


He liked her. She seemed to be not only pretty, but also interesting, in her way of thinking and the unusual experiences of a hard life. Well, as if not all of them had a hard life, in a way or another. Just that some lives were harder…

Her hand was surprisingly soft for a working woman. He couldn’t think that a herborist knew what plants to mash into a salve to help keeping her skin soft. He smiled when she said she felt alive.

”Of course we feel alive and happy, after all the loas have blessed us in this dance. We are from there,” he pointed away to the sea, in the possible dirrection where Africa could have been, "but we are here, making a new life for us, as well as we can. And if I can make a wish to Saint Jean who is celebrated here, tonight, I would wish you to remain with me... somehow."

This wasn't a marriage proposal - not that he hadn't heard about men who proposed the very day they met a certain woman. He had heard all kinds of strange stories, but he wasn't now in a position to marry. Without a ship to work aboard, without a stable income, how could he keep a family? This was a matter of the future, if they had any future together. But he wished they had.

He looked at her, trying gently to approach to kiss her.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: May 29 2017, 08:12 PM
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"Yes... I would wish this too. My... my Amun!" she said shyly, stepping closer. It made sense to call him after this god, whom she had learned about from a few of the other slaves. An old one, they said, from Egypt and spread to Nubia, no longer really worshiped anymore so much as venerated in legends. He was called the Golden One, among other names, as well as The Hidden One, and it seemed to her that both of those fit Jean well. He had remained hidden until just the right moment, for her alone, or so it seemed.

"We will seal it with a kiss." she whispered, seeing how his lips gently sought hers. A flame burned brightly in her at their kiss, something she'd never felt before and maybe never would have with anyone else.
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 Posted: May 30 2017, 04:07 PM
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JEAN SERRE, pirate, former slaver


She came closer to him, calling him an endearing name he hadn’t heard before. He had been raised both in the Catholic faith, as everyone on the island was, and in his mother’s beliefs about friendly or angry loas, so he couldn’t have heard about Nubian deities. But he recognized the call of loneliness and love, and he was glad to oblige, claiming her lips in a gentle kiss first, which got deepened with passion.

After a while, he looked into her eyes and told her:

”if believing the white man’s faith, then I’d say my patron saint gave me the best gift tonight: a woman to have faith in me that, even if now I have no more a ship to claim belonging to, I am part of a crew who will manage to take back what’s ours. For now, I am the one you see, with the story you have heard about – a man freshly returned from the French prison. Having you by my side will fuel my ambition to be again a good seafarer,” he promised, a hand around her waist claiming her as his half now.

He found also a way to have her close tomorrow as well:

”Maribel is giving a great party tomorrow, both for the wedding of the man who had helped us out of prison and for the few of us having the saint’s name. As I am one of the Jeans, I would love having you by my side. “

Maybe tonight was meant for another kind of promise too, but this depended on what they would find at the stalls nearby.

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Monica Perez
 Posted: May 31 2017, 04:26 AM
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Prison! Monica shivered despite the warmth. "There is more than one kind of prison, I think," she said sadly, letting herself be drawn into his embrace again. "Only after the former owner of the herbal shop taught me some things did I begin to heal. It started when I was given a beating, as a slave, for stealing a pair of shoes at the festival. I needed the shoes, as the men who owned me were drunkards and often would break things at their raucous parties. When Sol brought me to my brother the scars healed, but I walk differently now. And the fear of crowds is so intense that I don't think I can explain it to you. There aren't any words adequate enough. I deal with the crowds in the shop well, but that's because they want my help instead of my execution. I can only say I came here because my soul wanted to dance, even if my mind didn't think it could. And my mind and my soul both soar, now that I have met you. "

There was so much more she could have told him, like how she only believed parts of the white man's faith- the good parts- but that could wait for now. It seemed he wanted to spend more time with her, and she felt the same.

"Why yes, I'll come with you. I used to work in the inn. I have had some guests who were... less interested in the drinks than in me, which is why I jumped at the chance to work in Jian's shop before it was mine, but I like coming there for parties. She is a good hostess."
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