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Before the Mast!


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.

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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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 Doomsday, where four ships get sunk
 Posted: Aug 27 2017, 07:46 PM

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DAVID JOHNSON, Captain of the “Devil’s Fortune”

Captain Johnson hated many things, losings ships was one of them. Now he heard that they were taking water, this was not surprising. They had fought two men of war, of course they could not stay without damage. Johnson knew all this, but it was still a disappointment.

Yet, even the "Devil" could not be fiercely angry all the time. He had been angry so much that day that he simply lacked energy. He seemed now quite reasonable. He yelled, "Save any dry ammunition you can find! Spare men to the pumps! They should buy us some time! Helmsman, do what you can with her!" He knew this was difficult, they were sinking too fast.

The then shouted again, now showing more of his usual temper, "Let's make their ship look like it was a flaming ship from Hell itself! More fire! By God we will burn these French sissies even if it is the last thing we do!"

If he would die today, it was the way Johnson wanted to die, in the battle. So, he had nothing to lose. He kept himself up and he did not take cover from the enemy shots. He wanted to defy death and he felt like he was in no danger.

He felt too how the ship was swimming deeper and deeper in the water. He started to feel that he would not die by shots, he might drown instead. He was glad that he could swim, but this was the open ocean and shore were in sight. How long could he swim? He wondered.

This post has been written by JOUKO
Sebastien Durand
 Posted: Sep 6 2017, 05:12 PM

sailor on the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 101

He assessed the situation as quickly and critically as he could before yelling back up to Pieter. "Well it isn't good but it could be worse still. One more solid broadside will be about all it takes from what i can see down here!" He moved out of the way for the crew to salvage as much of the ammunition as they could. It wasn't as if he had gone into this with a healthy plan for not ending up swimming. He'd be damned if the navy got him though. "We need to give those French Navy rats some real hell with what we have left!" He grabbed some of the still dry black powder and headed up to where Cass was at the guns.

With a nod and a clap on the shoulder he headed up to Angel. He could see it in the other man's face already and he gave him a grim nod. A skilled helmsman as Angel was indeed would have noticed what was happening. he took his shirt off and tossed it away. it would hinder him in the water. "We have one more good volley left in us. It has to count. Do you need help with the steering?" He knew it got harder to do when the ship was taking on water and becoming heavier than it should. It would hurt like nothing else but he was one of the more qualified to help with it.

The call out from the Devil made him grin at the man. His father would have really liked this man and he was finding he did as well. “Looks like we are going to test our pacts with the mermaids again today Angel. Last one back to the Elixir buys the drinks.” He added with a wink as he gripped the wheel and gave Angel what assistance he was able to.
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Anani Fireflint
 Posted: Oct 7 2017, 07:59 PM

aka LA CACICA - First mate of the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 138

Even from her perch, Anani imagined she could feel the ship sitting lower in the water, perhaps even beginning to list a bit. It was not a sensation she had ever wanted to feel again. The ship was going down, but it wasn’t their ship; they were going to die as visitors aboard the craft they had doomed.

Anani had no interest in that.

She heard Pieter’s suggestion and repeated, “Sail corner!” just to confirm the coordinated attack. It wasn’t ideal, but the French had picked up on what they were doing and were reacting to it. They would take what they could get.

She also overheard Sebastian’s shout to Pieter. One more broadside, and the French ship was not letting up. They were running out of options.

“All fire arrows, aim for the dry sail! On my count!” She lit one last arrow. “Nock!” She set the arrow against the bow. “Aim!” She took aim at the sail, correcting for the arc and for the wind. Fire!

If the arrows flew true together, they would cascade on the French ship like a rain from Hell, just as the Devil, their captain, liked it. And if fate was kind enough, the coordinated attack would bring down that sail and mast, bringing the battle to an end for the French just as much as it was ending for the pirates, but in an inescapable blaze of smoke and flames.

After the volley of arrows, Anani hopped back down to the deck, joining Sol again. “I don’t like this,” she said quietly, such that only Sol could hear. “I think we are at a crossroads. Either we die today, here on this ship or attempting to board the French, or we abandon ship now and spare our own lives. Sol, I think we should run.”

It was not entirely Sol’s call to make, she knew, because the captain of the ship was Johnson, but the Devil might listen to Sol.

“We have suffered enough, my Captain,” she said softly. “If we live today, we can carry on this battle tomorrow.”
Adrien Lefévre
 Posted: Oct 7 2017, 08:59 PM

gunner's mate aboard "Le Phenix"
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Posts: 57

Hearing Leftheris’ orders, Adrien relayed the same to the lower deck. “Aim for the deck!” he told his crews. “The fire arrows and the shooters are a nuisance.” They were more than just nuisances, but better to let the men think that in the midst of battle. They prepared for another round of cannon fire.
Mikael Akselsen
 Posted: Oct 7 2017, 09:02 PM

Sailing master aboard HMS "Sovereign"ight Shark"
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Posts: 70

The great battle was down to two ships, hell bent on destroying each other. It was not difficult for Mikael to maneuver the boat at some distance from the fray, keeping hidden around debris while also avoiding it, looking for living bodies. There were few enough.

Once the heavy guns stopped firing and the fire arrows stopped plying and the musket balls ceased, he would approach whatever remained of those two ships as well, picking up anyone who just wanted to be saved.
Andrea Costa
 Posted: Oct 12 2017, 11:36 AM

Sailing master on the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 331

Andrea heard the captain’s order and sighed. It was, indeed, the matter of doing what he was able to, like steering it for a last broadside – he hoped it would be raking fire and the French would have the same fate as them, because the Devil’s ship was definitely doomed. A fleeting thought was towards his friends on the opposite side, Leftheris and Adrien, to be spared of any battle wound and to survive. Then he remembered to add Baptiste's brother too.

The fight was about delaying the moment of the sinking. Sebastien’s words confirmed this. They both had passed through several shipwrecks and they knew the signs. He was grateful for Sebastien's offer.

”Of course I need help. This tilting beast has to be somehow balanced,” he said on a gloomy tone.

Sebastien held the other side of the helm and his strength was welcome.

”That’s done, the last one buys the drinks.”

”May God, Saint Nicholas, Saint Andrew and all the saints protect us and help us to return safely to Tortuga,” he further prayed silently. But there was someone else he had to take care of, in this new swimming adventure, which was imminent.

”Jean-Pierre! Come immediately by my side and help me,” he shouted. ”Don’t you dare wandering two steps away from me. We will be sinking, and I want you by my side and under my care when we hit the waves. I am the one to have a pact with the mermaids, equally like Sebastien, and we want to make sure this pact includes you as well.”

Soon the boy was next to him, on the opposite side than Sebastien, and they headed the ship towards its last broadside.
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Casimir St. John
 Posted: Oct 12 2017, 11:59 AM

Master gunner aboard the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 257

Cass sighed at hearing Captain Johnson’s orders. They were reasonable, indeed, and revenge was sweet in their despair. They had to do it, well aware that it wouldn’t change much for the sinking schooner. And he wanted revenge too. He tried not to think about the fellow master gunner on the opposite side, his best man and possible brother-in-law if Mora really married him. He needed to focus on the commands… and to get the right angle to fire.

At their turn, Cacica and her team of fire archers were doing a good job. They were giving indeed a piece of Hell to the French. Cass liked it. The fire was catching, as there was ammunition left on the deck too. Pieter’s instructions came handy, and the French sail got on fire too.

”At my order, fire as you bear!” he shouted.

It wasn’t the case for a concerted broadside anymore. Better to allow each gun do its duty and hit from the most advantageous position Angel succeeded to bring them to. He would have preferred to rake them by stern, but in the given situation they had to try their luck at the reinforced bow. Better than becoming sitting ducks. Or, rather, swimming ducks...

The powder monkey had handed Cass the last ammunition not yet wet, telling him the sad news Cass already expected. How on Earth would it keep dry when they were heavily taking water? At hearing Angel’s call, Jean-Pierre threw Cass a questioning look. Cass understood both what Angel wanted to do and how the boy didn’t know whom to obey first.

”Go and obey Angel!” he said.

The boy darted towards the helm, taking hold of it and starting to understand what was to be expected.

If Cass was the one to take care of a man, he should take care of Baptiste. One wouldn’t leave a father-to-be alone, to deal with the long gazes of both Carmen and Maribel if he returned to Tortuga the first.

”Get ready to swim, boys, any moment after our last cannon fire,” he told the gun crews next to him. ”Try to get as far from this area as you can, in the opposite direction from the French ship. And get your hands on any floating piece of wood you’ll find. It’s a matter of minutes until it sinks.”

The sad part was that those who were manning the pumps which couldn’t keep the water out were those condemned to death when the ship sank. And it was tilting dangerously.

”Baptiste, stay next to me! I want to bring you safe to Carmen!” he added, then he started counting, as the ship turned into the right position for firing: ”Aim the deck and give them a good raking! One, two, three, fire!”

Both ships roared at the cannonade – one attacked and one tilting more.
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Sol Galvez
 Posted: Oct 12 2017, 03:39 PM

Captain of the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 410

Sol was feeling strange. In between musket fires, he was seeing snapshots from that battle last year in between the reality of the present battle, amplifying his sentiments of impending doom and déjà vu. He was loading his musket, paying attention when he shot, emboldened by the Devil’s words. He knew these were the last moments aboard the Devil’s Fortune, and they smelled and felt just like the last ones on the Caribbean Siren. Yes, he wanted to burn the French ship, to avenge all those deaths, and the upcoming ones.

The French fire volley rained heavily upon the schooner, and more people fell, including some of the archers who had just set on fire the French Navy flagship’s sails and rigging. Arouna and Lekan were among them. Santino, the recently married pirate, had been crushed by a falling yard. His bride, a fisherman’s widow, was going to be a widow again, at five weeks after the wedding, Sol thought. But fortunately Cacica was alive and unharmed. He breathed alleviated and offered her a faint smile when he saw her next to him again.

”I don’t like it either. We should abandon ship before it is too late.”

He went next to Captain Johnson while he was watching what Angel and Cass were trying to do. He told him, without looking in his eyes, but rather at their enemy.

”Cass wants to rake them by bow. One try left. And with this tilting of the ship, we should throw overboard half of the guns for balancing it, but I doubt even so we could gain much time. Better abandon ship after the last cannonade, while they are still too busy to count their damages in order not to start fishing us like… you know they do. If you give this order, those who are at pumps might survive. Otherwise, the ship will tilt and sink, catching them inside. We can get our revenge another day. And if we both survive, captain, I owe you a ship.”

After an exchange of sad and realistic opinions with the ship captain, he returned by Cacica's side. He looked at her, wanting to tell her something he couldn't find words for, when the cannonade started raging around them.
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Henri d'Estrees
 Posted: Oct 12 2017, 03:53 PM

second lieutenant on "Le Phenix"
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The pirates’ fire arrows were raining on ”Le Phenix’s deck, finding ropes and wood to burn, despite the sailors’ attempts to put the fire down. Up in the rigging, some sails got on fire, falling on the deck too. The mast was still in its place, though.

”Fill seawater buckets and put off the fire on the deck! Otherwise we’ll explode like the Brits!” Henri shouted to some sailors.

He was glad to notice that the pirate ship was tilting more and more, sign that it would sink soon.

”Look, captain, they are sinking!” he shouted, paying less attention to the helmsman’s moves than to the general position of the enemy ship.

This was why the raking fire got him by surprise. The fire volley ran along most of the ship, taking down the bowsprit with all rigging and letting it hang tangled. The bow chasers got damaged too, one of them blown to pieces after having taken a direct hit. Fortunately a part of the pirate guns' fire had been stopped by the reinforcements of the bow. Being a third rate had its advantages. Otherwise, now it would have kept company to the other ships', in the mermaids' playing fields.

 Posted: Oct 13 2017, 01:48 PM

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Ned didn't know how it had happened. One minute he was safe aboard the ship, trying to clean the area around the chaser he was serving as powder monkey to, the next he was flying in the air, then he fell hard into the water, with a splash, projected at distance by the explosion. How wouldn’t he, when the ship boy was the most light-weight among them? He tried so hard to breathe, he tried to gasp and scream for help, but he couldn’t. The water pushed down on him from all sides. The more he struggled to get back to the surface, the more disorientated he got. His lungs burned for more air, and the survival instinct made him push with his arms and legs. It was worth it, as he succeeded to get his head out and take a big breath. He coughed, spit and the next wave buried his head again. His body was hurting from the impact with the water. His legs thrashed. With super human effort Ned broke the surface again, gulping at the summer air. Then, with barely a splash, the sea made a new attempt to claim him. This time, maybe for good… The panic had his heart hammering against his ribs, but he heard a familiar voice shouting to him:

”Use your arms and legs! You can swim up to me!”

Robert had been thrown overboard too, but he had also been hit by a yard and his arm was bleeding. He had succeeded to catch the yard piece and hold on it, tightly, however he was afraid more of sharks than of anything else. The smell of blood was going to attract the nastiest creatures around him, and he would be devoured alive, he was thinking when he saw, with the first lights of dawn, a boat not too far away… and a ship boy trying his best to breathe. He shouted, then he gave a hand to the boy fighting with the waves, pushing him towards the piece of wood, too small to hold them both properly.

Ned followed the advice, seeing a hand stretched to help him, until he clung on that hand. His lungs burned, and he started coughing again.

”Let’s keep paddling! There is a man in a boat there!” Rob told Ned, and both of them tried to head towards the saviour boat.

When getting closer, they recognized the sailing master in the boat.

"Give us a paddle, please," Rob asked him.

It was the easiest way to get into the boat.

This post has been written by ELENA
 Posted: Oct 15 2017, 07:44 PM

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DAVID JOHNSON, Captain of the “Devil’s Fortune”

His ship was sinking, this was much for the Devil to bear, but he seemed quite calm considering this.

The archers did good job and, considering their grim odds, they had caused much damage to the French ship. Of course, it was not clearly enough, but at least Johnson knew that he had not given up his fine vessel too easily.

He was not going to sink with his ship, even while the thought had passed in his mind a few times during the heated action. If we was to die, it was certain that no one could avenge his ship and crew. If he survived this, he might come back and have his revenge, at least in theory.

Sol had good thoughts. Johnson did not care of the strategy anymore, so he barely listened. The ship was lost. He spoke to his fellow 'captain', "Drop some guns if you think it will buy us more time. Now, we must get a few shots at her before we sink! Then we can abandon her, you have my orders! And, if you survive, I will remember this, Picador!" He did not sound very angry, but rather sad, which was somewhat rare for him.

He saw that some clever men started to prepare for ship's sinking. Johnson took the wooden crate that was the hatch to the cargo hold. He thought that this would be his "raft" that would help him to float, as he was not the best possible swimmer. He hinted his men, "Men, focus on the remaining guns for now, but those without guns get something that floats near you! You are going to need that when we sink!"

This post has been written by JOUKO
Pieter de Wyntere
 Posted: Oct 16 2017, 06:23 PM

Quartermaster on the "Rising Sun"

Posts: 303

Their vessel was swimming far too deep, despite all the efforts. Pieter continued to fire his musket, while he gave hints to the men with the fire arrows.

It started to seem that the French got some of the worst fires down. This was irritating, but Pieter smiled when he saw that there was still a lot of burning canvas on the French man of war. At least they were desperately busy with their fire arrows and shots.

They all wondered what to do. Pieter had little to add to the other's opinions, especially when Captain Johnson himself commanded the last shots to be fired. The consensus started to be clear, they should abandon the ship.

This was bad, Pieter had hoped that this could have been avoided, but at least the French ship was damaged badly as well. The Navy might be too busy keeping themselves afloat to capture the pirates from the sea. They might get to safety before that. This gave Pieter hope. He did not sound very sad when he commented, "At least, we did all we could! Now, just get some final shots at those damn Frenchmen!"

After Johnson took the crate for himself, Pieter left his musket and went to the hold. This was pretty much every man for himself, even while of course they would try help each others. The hold was indeed pretty full of water, now the water level was easily over his knee. He salvaged a large wooden cover of a cargo box. He carried it on deck, alone even while it was a bit large.

Now, Pieter had secured himself a little raft that might help him to stay afloat when they ship would go down permanently. He had still some dry powder left on the deck, so he took his musket. He wanted to get one or two final kills yet.
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Credits. This skin was made by MORU specifically for BEFORE THE MAST and rethemed by MASCHA.
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