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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.

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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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 What Friends Are For, att. Rowan
Raoul Duval
 Posted: Dec 1 2016, 09:37 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Posts: 254


Date: 15-th of June 1720
Place: Port de Paix, Saint-Domingue, Hispaniola, on the docks


- Continued from here -


It was a regular day for Raoul. One of work, after the free afternoons he had taken lately. At least things were going well on all fronts for now. He hadn't been suspected for the escape of the pirate doctor, and Sara had told him yesterday that Lucia would recover, and furthermore that she was pregnant with a child as stubborn as his father, resisting to all the difficulties life wanted to throw to him from before being born. No matter that he was going to have a new family and hopefully a legitimate heir only a few months younger than his second child with Lucia, he was still impressed by the notion of being a father. It helped that little Alphonse was getting bigger and able to interact cutely with him...

On the other side, the wedding preparations had been going well. He had found a beautiful wedding ring for Christine, the banns kept being published, there was still one left...

He was now in the harbour, having as reason the inspection of some ships, but in truth he wanted also to check how severe were the searches meant to find the pirate escaped a few days ago. It seemed not as severe as the previous days. A merchant ship had just anchored, given the work happening right now aboard and in the rigging. But he didn't pay attention to that ship, as he didn't wait for anything special brought from France.
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Rowan Bloodworth
 Posted: Dec 9 2016, 04:44 AM
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Captain of "La Chanson"
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Posts: 163


Now that he was without a home, a crew, and regular employment, Rowan had done a considerable amount of wandering around Port de Paix. He was not entirely certain why he was there. After the confrontation with Stewart which led to his unwilling resignation, he had wanted only to get as far away from Stewart, Sovereign, and the Bahamas as possible.

His inclination was to travel out to St. Croix, to visit what felt like the only friend he had left in the Caribbean. He thought better of it, though, recalling that Christian Moynahan never liked being called upon without an invitation, or rather his wife did not like that particular habit of Rowan’s. So he sent a letter in that direction instead and searched for something else. The first ship he had found that would give him passage without asking questions was headed to Port de Paix, and so, five days later, there he was.

He was looking for any ship that might have sailed from the Lesser Antilles, certain that Christian would have sent him a response. Not one day had had to pass in Port de Paix before Rowan realized he could not stay there. Port de Paix played host to too many memories made unpleasant with the passage of time. So he had determined to stay with Christian’s family instead, perhaps helping out with chores and errands and the like, until he got too bored or Christian’s wife kicked him out, whichever happened first.

What else could he do? Rowan had only the savings he had accumulated over the years left to him, which was not awful but also not enough to live on without income steadily adding to it. He had no ship and he could not continue with the British Navy, and he was not certain there was any military department that would take him on without inquiring about his separation from his last captain. Not for anything of greater rank than an able seaman, at least, and Rowan preferred a solitary death to enduring a demotion.

He looked out on the harbor. He had gotten to know Port de Paix far too well in recent days, having had nothing better to do than wander around it. But he happened to glance to the side, and caught sight of Rear-Admiral Raoul Duval also standing at the harbor, not far away.

Rowan did not allow himself a moment to think of the consequences of what he was doing. Had he considered it, his thoughts might have traced Duval back to the very beginning of this misadventure, having in part orchestrated the mission that had led him to cross paths with Sol Picador - unaware as he was that Duval had not been involved in Sol’s participation in the least. Yet it was still a painful connection, or would have been had Rowan allowed himself to make it.

“Admiral Duval,” Rowan said once he reached the man. Rowan’s voice was softer and lacked a bit of the self-assured quality it had boasted in their first meeting, but Rowan offered a small bow and held the man’s gaze with respect as he had long been trained to do.
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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Dec 11 2016, 05:51 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Posts: 254


Raoul was just returning from the inspections, thinking about the next thing on his to-do list, when suddenly greeted by Rowan Bloodworth – the last persons he would have expected to see here, since there was no trace of the "Sovereign" in the harbour. He respected too much this brace and discreet man. He considered him a friend, almost as much as his captain, Sir Wesley Stewart, was.

"Mr. Bloodworth! I am so glad to see you here!" he replied, shaking the man's hand. "If you hadn't had lunch yet, you are my guest. And in the meanwhile, you can tell me your latest adventures."

He had patience to wait until ordering lunch, even if he wanted to hear more seafaring stories which weren't embellished the way most regular sailors did. What else could be of interest for a seafarer bound to land now, and who was missing the sea waves? The next question, however, would have been expected from him, given that his friendship with Wesley Stewart was also known:

"Is captain Stewart here too? I haven't seen the "Sovereign" at anchor."

He had written to the Admiralty to invite to his wedding both Admiral Croft with his daughter and Wesley, but if he came here now, it meant that he didn't stop in Kingston to read the letter and had no idea about it.
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Rowan Bloodworth
 Posted: Jan 6 2017, 06:53 AM
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Captain of "La Chanson"
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Posts: 163


The reaction Rowan got from Duval was far more enthusiastic than Rowan had expected. In truth, he had not expected much, but he had never considered himself to be much more than another warrant officer in the eyes of the Rear-Admiral. An officer who had pulled off a very delicate mission, true, but there were many men in both Navies who might have done the same.

Rowan shook Duval’s hand firmly and mustered a decent smile. At first Rowan figured he might be able to turn the conversation around and avoid bringing up what had just happened in Nassau - for if the man was greeting him with so much cheer, then clearly he had not yet heard about Rowan’s disgrace. Rowan decided he should at least be glad he had arrived in Port de Paix before the gossip did.

But Duval asked about Captain Stewart. It was fair, given the mens’ rank over Rowan and also their well-known camaraderie. Still, Rowan had hoped, a bit naively, to avoid it, or to put it off. Something, anything that was not the immediate start of the conversation.

“Captain Stewart is not here, and neither is Sovereign, I’m afraid,” Rowan said a bit too carefully, failing for once to fully conceal the anxiety and disdain he felt toward the topic. Not toward the man he was speaking of, just the situation he found himself in. “We parted ways at Nassau, where I was dismissed from service.”

The words stung and tasted bitter, and it felt more real now that he spoke them aloud, rather than keeping it all silent in his head.
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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Jan 6 2017, 11:07 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Posts: 254


Raoul looked with unhidden surprise at Rowan, when hearing the news. Dismissed from service? This couldn't be Rowan Bloodworth, whose work ethics and behaviour he had remarked during the time of the British- French alliance enforcing the blockade, long before choosing him for the special mission. There must have been something else at stake. Rivalry, machinations, intrigues, things like this. Of course, corroborrated with a good dose of bad luck.

"It seems a story worth hearing. What happened and what are you doing now?" he asked with curiousity.

They had entered already the inn, rather quiet at this hour, with only a few customers.

"Give us the cook's specialty for today, and a bottle of Bordeaux!" he ordered, choosing a small table in a corner, where they risqued less to be disturbed or heard. "I am all ears," he invited Rowan to tell his news.
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Rowan Bloodworth
 Posted: Apr 7 2017, 06:10 AM
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Captain of "La Chanson"
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Posts: 163


At least Duval seemed surprised at the news, as though the idea that Rowan Bloodworth could be dismissed from service was an honest shock. That provided Rowan with some comfort, however small. Additionally, the inn was quite empty, meaning Rowan did not have to worry about spreading the story to others from his own lips.

Rowan was quite aware of his story having traveled among sailors, particularly the British Navy, already. But God help him if he had any hand in increasing his own gossip.

After Duval ordered and they sat down, Rowan began his story, eager to get it over with.

“While en route to Nassau from Port de Paix, we caught word of some pirates who had, it seemed, been marooned on an islet nearby. The tale came some fishermen; I wasn’t present for that. Captain Stewart had us head for the islet to investigate, and chose me to lead a small party on the island. There were a fair number of us—marines mostly, all of us in plainclothes so as not to alert the pirates until it was too late.

“But the men we found on the island claimed to be merchants, who had themselves been threatened by pirates, who had stolen their ship and left them marooned. It seemed a plausible enough story, and for the most part none of them seemed of ill intent. And I recognized one of the men, who claimed to be their sailing master. We had crossed paths at the markets in Port de Paix.”

Rowan could have told the story a bit differently then, as he was talking to Rear-Admiral Duval, who had arranged for him to lead the secret mission during which he actually had met Sol, through Chago, and as such had formed a solid, positive opinion of the man; but the shortcut version that was still technically true had become the default explanation for him, and so after he said it he did not go back and correct himself. Better for him, of course; while Duval obviously was no friend to pirates, Rowan did not have any idea that the two men were acquainted, and poorly at that.

“So I reasoned that the story we had heard must be false, and instead arranged for HMS Sovereign to give the men safe passage to Nassau. For their part, they conducted themselves well and even assisted with many of our duties onboard. It was only after they had departed and Captain Stewart spoke with Sir Woodes Rogers that we discovered the crew had been pirates, of the Rising Sun no less; and the man I thought I knew was their captain, Sol Picador.”

As he concluded his story, Rowan’s complexion took on a hint of pink - from frustration and embarrassment and utter uselessness. This was the first time he had told the story to someone in full out loud, and to someone he respected and whom he would have wished to hold him in high regard as well… and it all seemed so ridiculous, so simple, in hindsight.

“The Governor, I’m sure you can imagine, shared his frustrations with Captain Stewart, and Captain Stewart asked for my resignation.” If all of Rowan’s infamous cockiness and pride seemed to have dissipated in a matter of seconds, it was because, of all the strange things Rowan had encountered in his life, having to explain his own costly error to someone he admired was the most humbling moment he had yet experienced.

“As for what I’m doing now….” He had not settled on that. His pride would not let him go back to England, but he had nothing at all to his name in the West Indies. The one person in a position to help him - assuming she would have, as there were always those odd subtleties and societal norms Rowan never accounted for - had long since left for Europe, and Rowan had few skills aside from being either a sailor or a lord’s son. “I suppose I’ll find work on a ship somewhere,” he finally finished, trying to sound optimistic but failing at it.
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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Apr 7 2017, 01:08 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Posts: 254


Indeed, the news were quite shocking. Raoul listened with as much attention, as he forgot to eat when the food came. Stranded pirates… merchantmen… he sort of guessed where it went after listening for half of it. The interrogations of the caught ones from the ”Rising Sun” crew had started already.

”I know the other side of the story,” he told Rowan. ”Those who had commandeered indeed the ship were passing as being honest privateers… or merchantmen… I don’t recall anymore from the logs. And they had captured a few pirates who had attacked their ship… But for not having proper conditions to guard them aboard, they passed them to Le Phenix, who brought them to legal custody and interrogation. The interrogations are ongoing. We’ve got the first mate of the ”Rising Sun”, their sailing master and a few sailors. We had the ship doctor too, but she managed to escape.”

It had been quite an adventure for those too, and he couldn’t condemn Sir Woodes Rogers for being so angry with Wesley… but how could he know any better, when they had been so sly, and when Rowan himself, so honest, had vouched for one of them?

Hearing that Rowan had to pay dearly, with his position in the Navy, for the misfortune of having been acquainted with (and cheated by) Sol Picador, Raoul sighed.

”Well, mon ami, this one can cheat a nun out of her habit… not to mention about whole ships and their crews. I am sorry to hear this had happened to you,” he continued warmly, with simpathy in his voice. ” He has a talent to pose into innocent. I have crossed path with him too, two times, and as you could see, he outwitted me to remain alive. Once he had got away with stripping everything could be looted from Le Phenix, affecting my reputation for several months, until I succeeded to catch his accomplices, then him. The second time I caught him and emprisoned him, but he was helped to escape, last year about this time.”

Then, Rowan confessed that he was in a dire situation, looking for a ship to work aboard. Raoul, who cared for him and felt he needed another chance, just how Raoul himself had needed another one after the damn encounter with the same pirate captain, thought about one.

”Would you like working under the French flag?” he asked

As the wine had arrived and got poured into the glasses, he toasted:

”For friendship… and for high seas! You can be a phenix too, you know?”

He was here for his friend, to pick him from ashes and say the right incantation for a new phenix...
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Rowan Bloodworth
 Posted: Jul 2 2017, 07:52 AM
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Captain of "La Chanson"
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Posts: 163


At least Duval did not seem to think any less of Rowan for how events had unfolded, or for having lost his position in the British Navy. Indeed, the Rear-Admiral was most attentive, and spoke in comforting tones, commiserating on having lost much to Sol Picador in the past.

That was where Rowan had himself confused, however. During their mission in Cuba, which Rowan was taking care not to mention, Rowan had not read anything untoward in Sol’s demeanor. In fact, along with Chago and the other men, Rowan had thought very highly of the man. It was very rare for Rowan to make such a considerable error in judgment. But the Rear-Admiral himself, Raoul Duval, was supporting what seemed to be the truth—that Sol was only another wretched pirate, taking advantage of people, using them to his advantage and then tossing them aside when their usefulness was ended. That was unfortunate, to risk an acquaintance so carelessly.

And, indeed, to cross Rowan Bloodworth so carelessly.

Rowan nodded while listening to Duval’s own experiences with the pirates. He had neglected his plate while he told his own story, but afterwards it was all he could do to not eat like a starving man. With his future so uncertain, Rowan was trying to save as much of the earnings he had left, which meant not much. His meals on land had largely consisted of a loaf of bread he had managed to stretch across meals.

He could not remember ever having fallen so low.

But then, Duval made an offer. Rowan looked at him, a bit stunned and not careful enough to hide it. “Under the French flag?” he asked, mostly to buy himself time; he did not need to parrot back what the man had said. “I… well, I could hardly be opposed to it….” That was a terrible and ungrateful answer and Rowan knew it. “That is, I would certainly appreciate the offer, but I’m not certain what use I might be to a French crew. As you know, I was destined to remain a master gunner in the British Navy, and rise no higher.”

Rowan was certainly not in a position to turn away the prospect of work, but he still dreaded having to work as a master gunner the rest of his career, or worse yet, to be merely a gunner, since he was aware that the French ships had their warrant officers in place; and Le Phenix had an especially talented master gunner in place, as he had heard.

The wine arrived, and Rowan joined the toast with the best smile he could muster. “Yes, for friendship, and for rising from the ashes,” he said, filled with gratefulness for the good cheer and honest concern he had received from Raoul Duval, a man he respected and looked up to, and the possibility of his future not being so bleak after all.
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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Jul 10 2017, 11:09 AM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Posts: 254


Raoul could admit that he expected a bit more enthusiasm from a man who didn’t know what to do with his life. Hardly be opposed to it didn’t sound quite enthusiastic. However, Rowan Bloodworth was shocked, and he understood that a man under a recent shock couldn’t think straight.

”To Hell with the British Navy now, who for a circumstantial transgression kicked you off without listening to you!” Raoul bursted.

He didn’t consider one moment that in the same conditions with Wesley, he might have done exactly the same thing, feeling the governor’s pressure and not being willing to risk his own career for another’s sake.

”I know you are a good master gunner, and you have proven it in various battles. I know also that you are a learned gentleman, so you can rise higher… albeit not in the Navy. I was thinking about a privateer ship whose captain has been declared unfit for sailing after a wound which isn’t healing properly. A 32 guns frigate. Leading more men than your gunners can prove challenging, but I think you love challenges. And with a right sailing master, you will manage.”

There was another question he hadn’t asked yet. But its time would come. For now, it was a good time for a toast. He smiled, seeing that Rowan Bloodworth was obviously feeling better now.
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Rowan Bloodworth
 Posted: Jul 29 2017, 09:06 AM
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Captain of "La Chanson"
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Posts: 163


Nothing could have prepared Rowan for Raoul’s sudden outburst against the British Navy.

For one, although he knew Duval thought highly of him, he still did not imagine he was of so much importance as to merit any kind of consideration from the much higher-ranked man, both in terms of the Navy and in society. rowan had spent a lifetime being reminded that he was a second son and would not amount to much, and then when he had tried to take the one approach he had at making his own name, he’d been relegated to warrant officer. So his faith in the upper echelon was understandably thin.

That outburst was what showed Rowan that Raoul was different.

Perhaps it was only this one situation. Perhaps Rowan simply made Raoul more impervious, more superhuman, in his mind than Raoul actually was. But at last the disillusions he had in that respect were disproven. Here was someone who both thought and felt that Rowan deserved better, who commiserated with him… and it was a man Rowan looked up to, at that.

Rowan blinked and paid fresh attention to Raoul as he explained the idea he had for Rowan. A privateer captain? Rowan could find no fault with that. A captaincy was a captaincy, unless of course one was a pirate captain. A 32-gun frigate was a formidable ship, at that. Rowan was less familiar with privateer ships than with the British and French Navy ones, so he was not certain which one had an unfit captain, but the idea did not sound terrible. In fact… it was a godsend.

“A privateer ship,” Rowan said, “sailing with a French letter of marque, I take it, which would make me answerable to you?”

The interest was obvious in Rowan’s tone, and the way his expression brightened made it clear he was not going to say no. More than anything, he was just trying to reorient himself to accept that this new turn in his fortune was truly happening, after all the failures and disappointed he had suffered in recent times.
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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Jul 31 2017, 01:18 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Posts: 254


Raoul was also a second son; with this, he could easily relate to Rowan. Unlike Rowan, he knew how to use his charm and his good luck for advancing. He had learnt good seamanship too, but this wasn’t enough. Most likely, what Rowan had missed was the dose of good luck and the ability to turn into account any opportunity for promotions or for getting noticed. Especially the women’s passion and connections. Since a bottle and an intriguing letter had got them together on Mardi Gras, he had known him better and he appreciated all the Englishman’s qualities.

Now that it happened for the proverbial bad luck to strike again, Raoul was glad to be one of the useful connections to kick it back into the good direction.

”Yes, you will report to me, and I hope you get good prizes. The crew is rather multi-national, as I remember. They had fished out some English privateers from a ship lost in the Battle of Nassau and some had remained aboard. If you don’t have enough money to invest in the refitting of the ship, we can pool the resources together. I believe in you and I am not against investing in La Chanson by your side.”

He finished eating, and put a hand on the bottle nearby:

"Shall we drink one more glass to the health and success of Capitaine Rowan Bloodworth, of La Chanson?" he asked with a friendly wink.
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Rowan Bloodworth
 Posted: Aug 19 2017, 06:46 PM
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Captain of "La Chanson"
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Posts: 163


The future did not look nearly so dim now. Not only did Rowan have a living, he would now gain what he had always worked toward—a captaincy. True, it was not as part of a Navy, but had he every truly needed it to be? He had the assistance and esteem of Raoul Duval, who he also admired. That was more than good enough for him.

“I cannot thank you enough, Admiral Duval.” The relief was clear on Rowan’s face; he could smile now, and the tension from worry was gone. “Yes, we should toast to future adventures and prizes.”

Indeed, the horizon seemed much brighter now, and Rowan could now look forward to the coming days with all the hope he’d always had.

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Credits. This skin was made by MORU specifically for BEFORE THE MAST and rethemed by MASCHA.
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