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!
Bounty Hunting, More about Pieter's past
|Pieter de Wyntere
Quartermaster on the "Rising Sun"
A village in Southern Holland
Pieter de Wyntere was sitting at a table in an inn and enjoying a good meal. The inn was along a road and barely part of a village, but it was the kind of place where travelers used to stop. Pieter was such a traveler, tough he had spent here two weeks already, more than people usually did. But, as the Dutchman paid well the innkeeper had no reason to complain.
After a meal of beef he sat at his table and drank from a large beer pint. He looked like he didn’t even know what the word ‘hurrying’ meant. Then the tavern’s door was opened and a man stepped in. It was a lively route and new guests came every day so it was nothing unusual. But, this man was not stranger and Pieter noticed that he knew the man. His name was Jacob Peeters and he was a former soldier like Pieter. He was one of his old army time pals. Peeters was a tall man with light brown hair and he was a few years younger than Pieter.
The man walked to him greeting formally, “Sergeant Wyntere! It is so nice to see you.” Pieter drank some beer before he replied casually, “It is just mere Mister Wyntere now. The war is over. But, it is nice to see you too. What brings you here, Peeters?” The other man had clearly been anticipating the question as he answered almost immediately, “I was actually looking for you Pieter. I heard from some travelers that Sergeant Wyntere was here.” Pieter took his tobacco pipe, but he didn’t lit it yet, “And they advised you to go here? I see. This is a small country it seems. Why were you specifically searching for me?”
Now the man kept a longer pause before his answer, “I have a suggestion to you.” Pieter looked surprisingly less surprised, “Oh? What is that you need?” The man looked embarrassed, “It is not that I need anything from you, not that. Or in a way I do. I have problems with money you see, but I am not asking a loan or anything.”
Pieter lit his pipe with a candle that was on the table. “Problems with money, eh? Many people seem to have them. If you need money why won’t you ask from our mutual friend Mister Prins?” Peeters smirked in an ironical way, “That old Jew? I have tried. He doesn’t loan me anymore.” Pieter nodded saying with sarcastic while not completely unfriendly tone, “Indeed. I guess he knows you are the kind of men who don’t pay back.”
After a while Pieter continued, “Why won’t you search a job then, Jacob? People do that when they need money. And, didn’t you have seafaring background? Go to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Vlissingen or any other port and you will certainly find a ship or herring fishers who need men.” Now, Peeters had sarcastic tone again, “Herring fishery? That is no way to earn real money.”
Then, Pieter nodded and the other man continued, “But there is one way I can get much money at once. And, you can too if you are interested.” Pieter stared at the man with doubtful look, “I may be.” Peeters smiled and said, “Good. Then, listen. Do you still possess a weapon?” Pieter promptly answered, “I do even while I, of course, don’t have my army musket anymore. I have some guns; more than local marshals would like a civilian to have. What are you after?”
Peeters tried to hide his enthusiasm, but he was awful at it, “Have you heard about Van Houten Brothers?” Pieter’s look now noticeably surprised for the first time during the whole conversation, “The three highwaymen brothers?” Peeters nodded, “Yes, they. There is a large bounty on their heads.” Pieter answered now with more casual look again, “I wager so. There are barely any other highwaymen here at large so I guess people want those three buggers hanged and stop them from ruining the harmony. So you are after the bounty? What does it have to do with me?”
Peeters hadn’t expected that question, “Well of course I am asking you to join me. We can get the bounty together. Two men have better chances against three.” Pieter smoked his pipe and placed his legs on the table, “Why would I make a detour like that? I have to return to my father and start running our shop.” The other man looked irritated, “Bah! We both know you aren’t the kind of man who sells bloody tablecloths and curtains. If you were willing to return there you would have done it already and not stopped here in the middle of nowhere.”
Pieter smiled, “You know me too well, Jacob. Very well, I am interested. But, first tell me another thing. Is the word true that you married Willems’ widow?” Willems had been one of Pieter’s best friends in the army. The other man hadn’t expected the sudden question, “I did. I thought someone should take care of her and we had always fancied each other anyway. So you have heard… This is indeed a small country.”
Pieter had a relieved look, “Good that someone takes care of her… Even someone with empty pockets like you. So the money you get will help her too?” The man answered, “Of course. Are you fine if I get 60% of the reward? I mean it is my idea and I need money more than you do.” Pieter looked reluctant, but after a while he agreed, “Very well, I agree with those terms, for Willems’ widow’s sake.” Pieter smiled, “Now, I offer you a round of good local beer and we can plan more.” Peeters replied and took a seat, “I will gladly do that, partner. But, I think we should leave already tonight to collect some clues about the robbers’ whereabouts. And I already got you a horse, Pieter.”
|Pieter de Wyntere
Quartermaster on the "Rising Sun"
The Van Houten highwayman gang had not been safe before because it has been hiding well among peasants in the countryside. No, usually it was known where they were, but no one never dared to challenge them or inform the local authorities. The robber brothers were a feared lot and they had enough friends to ensure that anyone who betrayed them paid the price.
But, now two ex-soldiers were going to collect the bounty on their heads. Jacob and Pieter were now waiting behind small bushes beside a country road leading to the small farm house. It was soon evening and it was soon getting too dark for them. They had only about an hour and a half before it would be too dark for their mission.
Finding clues hadn’t been as hard as Jacob had feared, but it had been more expensive than Pieter had hoped. A terrified peasant family, who were forced to feast the robber gang in their house, informed them. They had known the risks of betraying the villains, but Pieter’s slippery tongue and purse had secured the information. Now they knew where the highwaymen were. It was a small farm house with half-timbered walls and a simple hay roof. Not a wealthy home, but it was completely adequate place for these criminals.
Pieter and Jacob wanted to ambush the men in the house. The peasant family had promised to stay out of their way, so they wouldn’t be a problem. However, some other news weren’t as welcome to the bounty hunters. The three highwaymen had three friends with them meaning that Pieter and Jacob had to face not three but six armed robbers.
All of the men were eating dinner in the house they had conquered. Through the windows Pieter could even see some of the villains sitting in the candlelight. The frightened peasants were forced to pour them drink and serve them food as much as they wanted. These highwaymen were a mean bunch.
Pieter and Jacob had what they needed. They had both three loaded pistol and two loaded muskets and even a few small handmade smoke bombs. Pieter also carried a sword and Jacob a dagger, but they had no intentions of getting into melee fight with these robbers.
Jacob asked a good question from Pieter as they awaited for the right moment preparing their guns, “Isn’t this a bit cowardly to attack these men like this? I mean some of them won’t get a chance to defend themselves.” Pieter nodded, “Yes, this is not honorable, but these men have no honor. If they were after us they wouldn’t ask twice before shooting us in the back. Besides, we are lucky if we get one of them down before the rest get to their weapons and start firing back.”
Jacob wasn’t going to hesitate, but he continued, “Good point but this still feels wrong. But, this was my idea…” Pieter commented and corrected with a smirk, “The bounty hunting in general was your idea, this ambush was mine.” For this Jacob nodded seriously and continued, “Yes. And I have no will to duel them up close. I don’t want to die…” Pieter had again a place for remark, but this was mere humor, “Well then you in the wrong place, Jacob. If things go wrong we may both die… painfully. These men are not known by their leniency. But, we have been through worse…” This was a reference to their war experiences.
Jacob seemed to get some courage from these words and Pieter was as confident as he was always.
“What is the plan of action, Pieter?”, was soon asked by Jacob. Pieter raised his eyebrows, “Isn’t this obvious… Well. We can trust that the peasants here won’t trouble us as they said and I trust them. After all, I am sure they don’t like feasting these robbers in their own house. They will be glad to get their own home back. When the time is right we shall open fire at them through the windows... When they get out of the house to find the source of fire, we shoot more if we can hit and hope they will surrender. If not, they will die… If we must, we throw a smoke bombs through the windows to get them out in the open… I have wet rags here we can use to cover our noses from the smoke if we need to attack them with blades… They will have no idea how many attackers there are so we shouldn’t reveal it too soon either. Let them think we are many. Move when shooting.”
This was a lot of information for Jacob, but he nodded agreeing. He would not step back. "Sergeant" Wyntere's boldness was contagious.
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. This skin was made by MORU
specifically for BEFORE THE MAST
and rethemed by MASCHA