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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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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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Smuggler; captain of "Hermione"
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Santiago Moreno

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Mar 7 2017, 01:37 AM
Date: 20-th of May 1720
Place: Kingston, Jamaica


- continued from here -


About two weeks had passed since Chago had fainted at Katya's door and her brother had brought him inside, to get his wound tended.

The first days had been spent alternating sleep, delirium, morning and evening without distinction. The short moments of being awake and talking coherently were forgotten in the many hours of fever conquering the exhausted body, helpless against infection. Even the meeting with Sword Angel had been forgotten.

The specific smell of vinegar, the scent of sage and sweet basil, the sound of male and female voices in a foreign language Chago had never heard before, the darkness of the room, broken by an oil lamp's trembling light, these were his surroundings, which were estompating into vivid delirious dreams of past fights and people long time dead, just to get highlighted again in the few moments the fever got lower. The thing he remembered dominating over everything else was pain. Hot and cold came only afterwards. He felt as if he were in a an unchanging state of discomfort, one moment burning, another shivering, always feeling the burn and pain in his thigh, and being awakened, from time to time, by annoying, repeated noises of working men's tools.

He couldn;t do anything about it, though. All he could do was lay and sleep and wait for the moments when Katya came – assuming he was conscious enough to recognize her, as in his high fever delirium there had been moments when he hadn't recognized her, calling her various names, from Pepita to Madame Celestine or Maribel, as each of them had nursed him back to health a time or another.

The vinegar compresses, the innumerable mugs of tea against fever and the fight of a generally healthy and vigurous body (when nobody slashed, stabbed nor tortured it) have recently overcome the infection. Or, at least, the fever. Chago was feeling as weak and dizzy as a baby, but he was not delirious anymore. This was a good thing, to be grateful to Katya and her family for.

Now, that he was more awake, she spent more of her little free time with him, talking about various subjects, to compensate the silence over daytime, when she was at work. Her brother had sailed off long time ago, actually one or two days after Chago had been so warmly received in this poor, but hospitable family. She was his saviour angel, and he had been hers. Funny twists of life, when the protector becomes helpless and in need of protection himself.
Oct 10 2016, 09:50 AM
Date: 28-th of May 1720
Place: in the open seas, from Kingston to Port de Paix,
aboard the merchant ship “Charente”


Chago succeeded to find a French merchant ship, “Charente”, heading to Martinique, with a stop in Port de Paix, whereto he had asked for passage, paying the requested amount. Barely healed on the surface and still in pain at certain moves, he wasn’t strong enough to do what he usually did, helping aboard, so he had to content with being treated as a passenger. Maybe it wasn’t too bad, since he wasn’t sure how Katya would fare during the trip. He definitely needed to be by her side.

Once they were on the way to Port de Paix, Chago talked to the ship captain, asking him to wed them according to his authority at sea.

Captain Joseph-Marie Voirol looked at him puzzled, wondering what was the reason they couldn’t wait until Port de Paix. It wasn’t as if they were crossing the Ocean, for two months or more. However, when the plea was complemented by about the same amount of money a parish priest would have taken for a modest wedding, he was convinced. He had never done this before, but he knew it was legal. A marriage could be performed as long as the couple replied to the questions on validity and they exchanged their vows in front of witnesses, its occurrence being properly written in the ship log.

”All right. Note here, calligraphically, your names, and be ready at the first bell of the next watch!” he said.

Chago explained to Katya:

”We need to say our vows again today, in front of the ship captain, and to answer to the questions which make a marriage legal. He can officiate a marriage at sea and issue a valid certificate, so that its legitimacy could never be questioned. This way we can always prove that our future children will be born from decent, properly married parents”.

He whispered to her, taking her hands into his:

”I don’t want to marry you in a church, because I know not only that you would be uncomfortable there, but that you would have either to lie, or to convert, things I wouldn’t agree with. I love you and I respect you as you are, you don’t need to pretend being somebody else for me. So the best solution which would allow us to enter a legal marriage as we are is to be married at sea.”

Even when the ceremony would mention God and Jesus, it would happen in French, so she wouldn’t understand that part, and what was the most important, she would be exempted of questions related to her faith, which a priest would have surely asked.
Oct 1 2015, 12:33 PM
Date: 26-th of April 1720, late afternoon
Place: In the open sea, on the sailing route to Belize


Chago was feeling a bit strange when the “Rover” saw “Hermione”; how would a potential prey feel like, even if they were more a bait than a prey?

The smuggler ship’s crew consisted, now, besides the five initial members, of a master’s mate and a gunner, having recently joined the pirates when “San Alfonso” got taken, plus other six ”Rising Sun” newer and older crewmates of different colours, having Native or Black ancestors, as Chago and Sol had planned. Manuel’s mother was Philippino, Taro was clearly a Native from somewhere on the Spanish Main, Santino, Pelayo, Jerome and Blaise were different shades of black. Even the master’s mate, Nardo, from Campeche, in New Spain, was obviously a chino (exactly how Chago, Mincho, Manolo and Jorge looked to be too, even if it wasn’t true for all of them).

There had to be a reason why the “Rover” might like to attack a peaceful little ship like “Hermione”… namely, getting more coloured sailors they could sell as slaves or keep aboard.

Chago had been accustomed, all his life, to be the hunter, not the bait or prey. And this was what he was now, sailing towards Belize, on the agreed trade winds route, far away from the dangerous currents and corral reefs.

He was accustomed to fight on land; he had been an Army lieutenant, then a mercenary. He didn’t know much of the sailing ships’ fighting strategy and tactics, as on sea he had been first a merchant sailor, then a pressed pirate rigger who wasn’t allowed to fight. He had been just a little more than a slave then, but he had succeeded to escape after a few months, then, two years later, to kill Captain Black, his first mate and quartermaster, taking his revenge (and a nice bounty).

This was exactly where Sol, Pieter, Cacica, Cass and Agustin, his gunner, who had been a gun captain on “San Alfonso”, had planned things with him and had helped him understand. Besides Agustin and himself, who had been part of a gun team years ago, he had to rely on the gun manning knowledge of the six other men. Agustin had drilled them two times a day since they got into the open sea, to make sure that, in the culminating moment, they wouldn’t be sitting ducks to the slaver’s artillery.
Sep 7 2015, 01:00 PM
Date: 2-nd of April 1720, at dawn
Place:Guaicanamar, Cuba


On Saturday, during the purification bath for Sol, at which he had assisted and helped her with the various plants and things, Concha had highlighted that they had too many points in common and they should become sworn brothers. After a long discussion with Sol, they arrived to the conclusion she was right, and it was to be done this morning, with her help.

Until Concha's words, Chago would have never thought to become blood brother with a pirate, but with Sol it was possible; the man was worthy his friendship. They had bonded more in loss than in joy, until now: having met at the Undertaker’s wedding, they had just a brief, friendly conversation then.

They got to know better each other during Chago’s recovery in the inn after the tortures. At that time, Sol had lost the ”Caribbean Siren” and, until gaining the ”Rising Sun”, he wasn’t too pleasant to be around either. But they understood each other, exchanged prison stories upon a glass of sangria or Maribel’s bitter healing teas…

Now, when he returned, feeling better, after many months, misfortune had struck Sol with Ayiana’s loss. Who else to understand him and to send him to Cobre? It seemed it had been for the better… And after so many losses, it was indeed time to bridge a gap. With their own blood and with sea water, how Concha suggested.

It was at dawn, and Chago’s adoptive mother, who was their witness, said it was better done now, having the sun rise over their oath. They had also agreed that for two men of the sea, Santa Virgen de Regla would watch over them at the seaside as well. After exchanging the blood oaths, they could go, all of them, to the morning mass and take the eucharist as brothers beyond the Biblical word.

Once arrived at the seaside, Chago looked at his ship. ”Hermione” was going to weigh anchor tomorrow at this hour, God and the winds willing. The crewmates were to arrive this afternoon or evening from Havana, after having spent Easter with their families. Tomorrow they’d be heading to Port de Paix, and in three more days they’d get to tell the Rear-Admiral the sad story they had discovered in Baconao and the name of the French officer of Catalan origins who had loved a Spanish Navy captain’s daughter. From then on, it was up to him what he’d do with the information, how he’d interrogate the young man and if he’d tell him the truth about the young lady’s death.

He would resume being a regular smuggler… yes, after helping Sol in his revenge quest, as he had promised. This would be a piece of closure his friend and, since today, brother needed badly. Hopefully there would be more intelligence about the subject until they get back to Tortuga.

Concha was right. They had too many things in common not to get along as brothers. It was the best idea to have their friendship strengthened by this oath. This was a commitment he was ready to make. To gain another brother, a bit closer than Josema, who was at his mission in the jungle, God knows how far away, and than his brother-in-law Juanba, with whom he had never succeeded to find too much in common besides caring for his nephews and nieces.

Ultimately, a sworn brother was on the border between friendship and kinship; their relationship was meant to last longer and be closer than ordinary friendship. It was closeness, stability and support what both of them needed now, as Concha had highlighted, and they had many things in common, more than the existing differences.
Sep 6 2015, 11:06 PM
Date: 1-st of April 1720, around noon
Place: Guaicanamar, Cuba


Like most seafarers, Chago had waken up early, no matter the pretty mulata had kept him awake for a part of the night, until vanishing in the darkness, exactly how she had done back in January, a few nights before the pilgrimage to Cobre.

He had learnt her name only yesterday during the dances– Dina, which could have come equally from Fernandina or Bernardina, if not from a different name he couldn’t fathom – and the fact that she was also a good dancer; nothing else. Maybe it was for the better like this. She had been the one seeking him, not the opposite; he wouldn’t have done it, neither then, nor now, despite his celibacy of several months – far longer than her ritual abstinence for Lent. Or at least his present self wouldn’t have made the first step; El Moreno, the carefree mercenary from a while ago, most likely would.

As Dina had said when dancing with him last evening, this time he found her upon return, but some day she wouldn’t be around anymore for him. It was fine, the kind of brief affairs he used to have all these years, before meeting Hermione. She preferred the darkness, the mystery and the lack of expectations and promises. Fine with him, who had a main reason to prefer darkness as well, not curious to see a woman’s reactions to his scars from the tortures endured in Kingston. Chago saw it an uncomplicated way to have a bit of fun between two missions. And if replacing mission with expedition, it remained true for now. She had given him a few nights of passion; he had returned the favour, knowing that only tonight mattered, and tomorrow was not granted.

She made him understand that it was nothing wrong with him as a man, just that other things were more important for the smuggler captain than they were for the mercenary one year ago or more. He was a different man than he had used to be. And he trusted Saint Mary, being aware that his healing had to come step by step, in many different ways. This was why the first trip of the day was at the mass in Regla today, with the offerings Concha had told him to bring – as the ones Sol had to bring at sunrise had been different. Rowan hadn’t been with them this morning; upon Concha’s advice, he had left hunting. If he had returned in the meanwhile, Chago hadn’t seen him yet today.

Yesterday, they had attended the Easter Vigil until dawn, outside the little church, around an Easter fire from which the three Easter candles were lit after being blessed. At the priest’s ritual three acclamations Lumen Christi!, followed each by lighting a candle from the fire, the attendants fell on their knees, some answering traditionally Deo Gratias!, while others’ reply was in Spanish or even in an unknown, African language. The light was then brought into the Church in the same procession they had been accustomed to, followed by the Cross of Passion and the Saints, who were now returned into the church, covered by flower garlands. It was the same ritual he knew from childhood, and it was reassuring about the continuity of life, even if the songs of those who waited for the Easter miracle were different, and the drums and flutes more prevalent than the guitars.

Once inside the church, he had received his candle from padre Simon, the same who had blessed his ship’s renaming. The priest had remembered him – how couldn’t he, when they had been also a constant presence since Easter Friday? – and had smiled kindly, blessing him with a gesture of his fingers, then the big Easter candle was lighted in the sounds of the appropriate hymn, just before the liturgy. It felt good to be again close to God – this gave him comfort. Everyone could be reborn from pain and light, if having enough faith. And they would be too, all three of them, he had whispered to them before getting separated for a welcome nap.

The celebration, held in the late afternoon and all through the evening until late at night, had been a needed release not only for the villagers who had lived piously the solemn forty days of Lent, but for the three visitors as well, leaving themselves into the power of music and dance after the stressful days full of doubts and worries they had been through before arriving here.

They hadn't been anymore in the centre of the villagers' attention, as the drums invited everybody to dance as they were inspired too. As Chago had noticed first in December, here in the African-rooted part of Cuba, dances were freer, for everyone to express their feelings and to get new energy. Yesterday, the main frenzy had been in the first lines, next to the three drums. But he and his friends kept not exactly to a corner, but to an extremity, closer to the sea and where less crowd would bump into them when dancing. They could breathe, dance, feel the holiday differently - exactly like the dancing partners who had found them quicker. In fact, none of the three foreigners could boast that they had chosen their dance partners for yesterday evening; it was quite the opposite.

Now it was a new day, a new celebration. Chago was looking forward to it.
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Credits. This skin was made by MORU specifically for BEFORE THE MAST and rethemed by MASCHA.
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