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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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 A Dream Worth Keeping, Nicole's journal
Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 24 2013, 09:42 PM
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I believe
We've found a dream that's worth keeping
For more than just today
And even though
The winds of change may come sweeping
It's still a dream worth keeping
So don't let it fade away.


It's an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that my life is so uninteresting that perhaps I will have nothing to write in it after the first one or two pages.

But I read my father's diaries so many times... and this last one of his remained with enough blank pages that I can use too.

This is my inheritance from him, my most treasured one... and this is something I can continue, unlike all his dreams which withered away on the poverty road. I can write... and I'll try to, from time to time.


- The journal for 1719 is here -


Some day you might be thinking
That life has passed you by
Your spirits might be sinking
With hope in short supply
And that's the reason why
I know this dream's worth keeping
As long as it will stay
And even when you see the darkness come creeping
A dream worth keeping
Will never fade away....
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Aug 16 2014, 12:42 PM
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NEW YEAR MUSINGS

1-st of January 1720


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A new year is starting, 1720. I am looking back at the year just ended – one of so many changes that I almost can’t breathe.

I lost my parents and my home, everything I had. But maybe I have found myself by losing the part of me I had always been ashamed of – the one on streets. I found a honest job and I took interest in it, so now I can say I like it. I found an old book to wisely invest in, and now I am able, with its help, to better my work. I am proud of my progress in the last year.

I have found a new family in Madame Lucia and Ghislaine, and this counts the most, I think. We celebrated the New Year together, and according to the Spanish customs on New Year, Madame Lucia brought grapes on the table, telling us to eat twelve grapes at midnight, with making a wish for each one.

My wishes were:

1. The shop to go well and with profit, not to worry if we have bread on the table the next days.

2. All of us to be healthy – not only Adoracion and I, but also Madame Lucia, baby Alphonse, Ghislaine, and also her lover because the shop needs his protection in the worst case.

3. Adoracion to return to me… to return my love. I think each person’s way of feeling love might be different, and I know he can’t think and express things exactly like me. It doesn’t matter. It matters only that we are together, that we want to be together and that there is a connection between us. Where is will on both sides, there is a way to make it happen, I heard.

4. I wish to learn Spanish well and to surprise Adoracion with it.

5. I wish to have my own shop some day, and to be able to make it successful. Not the best one in town, but one not to worry about getting by from day to day.

6. I wish nobody to remember the dirty little pickpocket I once was, but only my respectable self.

7. I wish not to feel alone anymore inside my soul. To belong somewhere… not only in the shop and not only in Adoracion’s arms. Because if I think well, sometimes I feel I don’t belong even in church.

8. I wish to have more friends.

9. If I can wish for material things, I wish for a new Sunday dress and a new pair of shoes, to be prettier for my lover.

10. I wish to see more of the world, to know more, to understand more.

11. I wish to be peace… so that Adoracion’s Spanish accent wouldn’t be a reason of concern, and I shouldn’t worry for him. I think in peace time, a sailor’s job is a bit safer and he could return more often to Port de Paix.

12. Would it be too much to ask to be happy together with Adoracion? I know not all love stories have a happy ending, but I wish for one. Not sure what kind of a happy ending, though.

I hope they come true.

Each of us sang some carols, exactly how we did at Christmas, even if Madame’s Spanish ones were in a lower voice, not to be overheard by the neighbours.

I understand Spanish more and more, but I am able to say more separate words than phrases. I hope until Adoracion comes he’ll be able to see more progress. Because, yes, the most important change for me last year was finding love. Meeting the wonderful man Adoracion is. I wonder how they are celebrating New Year at sea, and I hope he is thinking about me from time to time. Maybe during New Year too…

Feliz Año Nuevo, mi amor – yes, I can say this in a whisper, with the impossible wish that a magical wave of wind would carry my whisper to my beloved.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Aug 16 2014, 03:08 PM
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A SPECIAL GIFT

7-th of January 1720



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Yesterday was a good day. I offered new scarves to Madame Lucia and to Ghislaine, and to baby Alphonse a cute cat shaped baby rattle.

For Madame, the best gift was that her lover returned. I will be seeking an opportunity during the upcoming days to tell him what happened in his absence, with the privateer ship being cheated. I owe this justice to Adoracion.

I received a ribbon from Ghislaine, a pair of combs from Madame and a gold pistol from Madame’s lover. And I also found the coin in the King’s cake, so I am the queen of the house! My chosen king is only inside my heart, unfortunately, not by my side. If he was here, we would have danced and celebrated, and I wouldn’t have thought of working yesterday.

But the way God wanted it to happen, I think that having a good sales day because I went to the fair with some of the goods can be counted among these gifts too.

However, for me, I guess having the opportunity to visit Madame Celestine and talk with her a longer while has been the most important gift I received. Feeling her close, the older friend who can give useful advice, and with whom I can talk about anything.

Among other subjects, we talked about love, and about an interesting spin-off of the classical tale with the birds and the bees… this one involving the moon and the plants which essence has to be drunk at certain phases of the moon. I don’t doubt her knowledge of a great healer, and she told me that preventing is always better than healing.

But I guess the best thing is that yesterday I have gained a new friend to trust, a wise one whom I respect and admire for a long time. An older friend with whom the discussions can be wider and more meaningful - and yes, I know it may sound strange in the world we are living in. A friend whom my parents, if they were alive, would have forbidden my association with... but I would have lost so much if I didn't befriend her.

At my turn, I promised to help her any time she might need any of my skills.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Aug 16 2014, 03:46 PM
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NOT THE RIGHT MASTER GUNNER

22-nd of January 1720


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I met today a British Navy master gunner, while I was looking at the shipwreck of Guadalupe and remembering about another ship anchored once upon a time by her side.

The Englishman was pleasant and chatty. To me, he seemed just a bit lonely and distracted, probably by the conversation he had before with another man, and he needed something else to focus on.

I told him our shop’s name, just in case, if he remembers to recommend it to the ship doctor or to someone else.

He was respectful; another proof that there are such men in this world, not only the bad ones I had met before. And his French, once I got accustomed with the accent, was the one of a cultivated man, with a wide vocabulary. I am sure he had read a lot in French. Maybe more than me.

Our discussion was about foreign languages and about learning in general. I couldn’t tell him that I am learning Spanish, but I wish it wasn’t wartime and I could.

It was interesting… but I still wished to have seen again, when wandering through the harbours, a ship with a shark on her flag… and her proud master gunner, not anyone else...
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Aug 16 2014, 03:46 PM
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CANDLEMAS

2-nd of February 1720


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"Our Lady of Candles, give me a mother’s protection, for I need your watchful care. Comfort me in my discouragements, solace me in my fatigues, raise me after my falls, reward me for my successes.

Our Lady of Candles, bearer of Jesus, the Light of the world, your humble servant Nicole is thanking you for everything you have done for her, and praying for good health, good luck and prosperity, for herself and for your servants Adoracion de San Ignacio, Lucia, Ghislaine and for the baby Francois Alphonse Raoul.

Please give me the ability to learn quickly whatever I needs to know, give me the power of sound mind and knowledge, and please do protect God’s servant Adoracion de San Ignacio and keep him in good health and safe from sea and enemy weapon. Help him return safely to Port de Paix, and if this is Your will, give us happiness together.

I shall always rely on your help, to be what Jesus wants me to be. I am His; I am yours, my good Mother!”


Another great holiday, marking the end of the winter. We went to church, prayed, got the candles blessed and we succeeded to bring them back home and light them here for a while. They would further be used during the year in the most difficult moments, as the candles of today, exactly like the ones of Easter, are blessed.

The merrymaking started at Christmas is gradually weaning. I know that in France, the ones who found the coin had to offer the Candlemas meal, but in my case, I have only paid for the ingredients for the crepes eaten today in sign of prosperity for the whole year.

Unlike customarily, today Madame and I tried to make a crepe each too, not only Ghislaine, because this was how my mother asked us in my home as well. So I held a gold coin in my right hand and the pan with the crepe in my left hand, managing to catch back the crepe when I flipped it. Fortunately, all of us succeeded to do it, so we will be prosperous this year.

This is my favourite dessert, and usually Candlemas and Mardi Gras were my favourite holidays for this reason; but now, I think of Adoracion every time I am eating crepes… and I miss him more.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Aug 16 2014, 03:49 PM
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CREPES

13-th of February 1720


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Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Today is Mardi Gras. We all went to the mass in the morning, but afterwards only Ghislaine went out to see the parade and everything. She said she hadn’t seen it before, since she grew up on a plantation, not in town.

For me this festival had no excitement now. I wished for Adoracion to be by my side, and with him I am sure it would have been fun. Dancing, partying, being happy with him. But so, it would mean just seeing others happy with their lovers. Last years, I had another reason to attend crowded public festivals, where people were paying more attention to the surroundings than to their own belongings, but it isn’t valid anymore. I had made a promise to God when confessing my sins after my parents’ death.

If I was another kind of herborist, I would have gone into the crowd, trying to sell some potions and plants, but I didn’t think it appropriate for our respectability to do it on Mardi Gras. Madame Lucia agreed with me when I explained her my reasons, exactly how she had agreed when I wanted to get a stall for ourselves at the Kings’ Feast. But then it was diferent, a different kind of holiday.

Now I said we’d better stay in our shop and receive the customers, either injured or with various other problems – including upset stomachs if they ate things doubtfully cooked. I could bet that a tea mix against hangovers and a tonic against upset stomach would be the most sold items today.

Madame’s lover gave me and Ghislaine a liard to each, to go out and enjoy the party; but I’d better save the coin and until Easter get my good dress fixed in order to fit me better, as I am now, at nearly 20, not how I was at 15 when it was made for me. I have been saving some money lately for this purpose. It would take buying a new bodice for it, better fitting my body, and introducing a strip of the same material in a different, but matching colour into the outside petticoat. Probably a darker shade of blue. Because the inside one can work as it is, only widened a bit at the waist. Definitely something which can be done. And hopefully Adoracion will return and have the opportunity to see me in the new – or rather renewed – dress…

When in the Cathedral this morning, of course I prayed also for him, to be safe and healthy and to get good prizes… and also to return to me, because I miss him a lot. I don’t mind if he returns sooner than the dress will be ready – any day can be a holiday if he is here with me.

And I was barely able to eat the traditional crepes today, because I remembered Saint Lucia’s feast, when I invited him to dinner with Madame’s blessing, and I bought everything for Ghislaine to make crepes… not only because I wanted to make Madame Lucia a surprise on her name’s day, but also (or more) because I wanted Adoracion to see how crepes are like and how they are tasting like, not to confound them with beignets anymore. Since then, I’ll be thinking of him every time when eating any of these two sweets… Today included!

Therefore, in the late afternoon, before starting to write this, I have taken this notebook first and foremost to draw him again… The pages are filling with various kinds of portraits of his, just because I can’t help thinking of him, missing him, and this is a way to remember him in a more detailed way…
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Dec 17 2014, 10:58 PM
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MISADVENTURES

14-th of February 1720


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”A beautiful carriage with four horses
Bring me when I close my eyes,
to wander as a rider for the last time
through the world with its flaws and crazy stuff.

I want two horses to be white
like the dreams I had as a child
and the other horses black
like my bitter and dark life.”


Adoracion has returned today! But it has definitely been a day full of misadventures, maybe our worst until now.

First, he had behaved strangely. As if he wanted me right then and there… without caring that I don’t own a room anywhere to be alone with him, and he pouted when I told him that I don’t know where it could happen.

As far as I know, it is not a woman’s place to say certain things… I wanted to be with him too, for as long as he wished… I would have followed him anywhere. But he hadn’t understood this until too late.

Probably because it was Ash Wednesday and it was a sin, we were supposed to be fasting, God punished us by not allowing this. We got to an inn and in the room we had been given, there were others already. At least we were lucky to get his money back, with a little bit of my… persuasion for the innkeeper.

There have been two months of his absence, that I had counted day by day like rosary beads. It mattered only that we were together now, no matter what. But instead of having fun in town, at least, how we couldn’t yesterday because he wasn’t here, we got to be heroes against our will.

I had to try to stop four horses, scared to death, dragging a cart with broken axle, already turned on a side, which were running, spooked, ready to trample everyone in their way and to harm themselves. I couldn’t let them do it, no matter that, again, Adoracion didn’t listen to me and instead of helping me, he more hindered me.

I succeeded to stop them, all by myself, putting to good use my father’s teachings, may God rest him in peace. But I ruined my dress in the process, and instead of thanks, I received accusations from the owner that… I wanted to take his horses! How absurd! As if I had what to do with them…

However, misadventures aside, I understood something today.

Something about me – not only that I love horses, but I know what I could do some day for my own business, without making competition to Madame Lucia. If there are herborist shops and leaf doctors to treat people, there could be something like this for horses too. And there should be books like the one I have, to learn from them what to buy, what tonics to make and how to use them.

Also, something about Adoracion – sometimes we are at odds one with the other, but finally we still find a bridge of understanding, like it happened now, when he comforted me for the owner’s stupid accusations, and he accompanied me back home. I don’t know if I’ll succeed to save the dress… but it was the regular, work one. I still have something I can use for work, if I look well in my trunks. Assuming I can fit into my mother’s dress, of course…

We are not perfect
We'll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes
I will prove my love to you.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Dec 17 2014, 11:29 PM
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WAITING IN VAIN

17-th of February 1720


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”The worst part of life is waiting;
the best part of life is having someone worth waiting for.”


I have waited for him the next day, as he had promised… but he didn’t come. Neither then, nor the other ones. After two days, today I went to the port to look for his ship, the people told me the shark-flagged British privateer had weighed anchor already. Probably he couldn’t get anymore shore leave, if their leaving precipitated. It makes sense.

So, back to praying and waiting, this is the life of a sailor’s girl. Every day I miss him, every day is just another day to feel closer to him in my thoughts, to choose the good memories we had and to avoid focusing on the less good ones. The tears of the waiting are fading away, only the prayer remains, and the hope, and the tender words I am whispering at night, hoping they would arrive to his ears in his dream.

Who says my life isn’t full here, as full of work as his aboard the ship must be too? Working, running errands… spending time with Madame and learning his language, that he is so glad and proud of me when I succeed to say something intelligible. Of course I have been practicing, for him, for that lovely warm smile…

And when he’ll come back again, hearing his unmistakable accent and seeing his alluring smile would make the waiting worth it, and the hurt disappear, like a sunny day takes the place of a cloudy, rainy storm. Life will be bright again.

In his arms, all my doubts disappear, and it’s only his smile and his kisses that matter. And, because parting with the loved ones is written in a sailor’s life, each of our goodbyes is only a reminder to me how precious is the time spent with him. This one too, even if we haven’t succeeded to say a proper good bye this time.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 13 2015, 12:32 PM
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ENHANCED WORK

20-th of February 1720


My mistress is hurt, and she will have to stay in bed for several weeks. She has a broken rib. She is so fragile! Madame Celestine insisted that she mustn’t make any effort. So now the shop is mine for the whole day, for these weeks. An opportunity to show my gratitude for her. I can supervise the potion brewing, Ghislaine wouldn’t need me all the time there.

The smugglers’ ship with spices and herbs from the Spanish Main came today and I managed haggling for a good price. I am proud that with these ingredients and with the help of the book I had bought in the autumn, I can make more oils and potions. Madame Celestine will have her share too.

It means less free time, but why would I need it now, if Adoracion isn’t here?
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 13 2015, 12:49 PM
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THE PARTY-GOER

2-nd of March 1720


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Without mentioning the joy of having made good sales today, I made a new friend, which is more important, I think. His name is Pierre and he is a Navy sailor.

If taking aside the hangover – all sailors, and most men who aren’t sailors too, do drink and feel the liquor’s revenge the morning after – he was nice and polite. Ghislaine asked me if he was a new conquest, but no way. Wanting to help people if I can doesn’t mean I am in love with each of them, or that I am thinking about sleeping with them or going out with them. Adoracion is more than enough for me, and worth waiting for. But if he has a strong hangover once in another port, I’d prefer to know he gets all the remedies from somewhere too.

Besides, I have nothing to say against Pierre. He had been respectful all the time, and he had guessed, he said, from my reactions that my heart was given to another sailor. I told him about Adoracion, without mentioning that he isn’t exactly my intended because none of us two has the intention to get married. No more promises were exchanged between us than Adoracion returning to me. I hope he doesn’t have another girl in Port de Paix, no other to take out and spend his time with. What happens in other ports, is his business. I am faithful to him just because I love him and no other man is like him.

As for Pierre, my new friend, he is different in another way. I wished to be able to help him more. I am sure he is more than a drunkard, if anything puts him to the ambition to mind how much liquor he can hold. He is young, not much older than me, and I told him he is welcome any time to come by. Drunk or sober, he proved to be a respectful and pleasant company.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 13 2015, 12:49 PM
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MY HERO IS GONE

13-th of March 1720


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Peace to each manly soul that sleeps;
Rest to each faithful eye that weeps
.


I was waiting for Adoracion’s return, I was hoping he’d come for Easter. I made changes to the holidays dress and I hoped I’d look pretty in it for him. But today his friends came to the shop. Not Neil, the other one had been wounded and has a bad leg, needing potions against pain. This visit was, however, a reason to announce me that Adoracion is dead. Their ship exploded together with the prize it was taking, in the battle of Nassau, about which I had heard people talking. Now, the two Irishmen are aboard a French privateer ship, which had saved them when thrown into the water by the explosion.

He could swim too, but an explosion doesn’t leave anything behind. And a master gunner’s job is more prone to explosions than other sailors’.

Soldiers, sailors, privateers get killed in battles. This is how it had always been, since the dawn of humanity when wars existed. When they join the fighting forces they face that fact, and their decision to join is the first great act of bravery. Everything else pertains to his work, and they don’t think anymore about getting killed when they go where death lurks, courting the lady in black with their bravery. They obey the orders, keep away enemies, defend what they love. Sometimes they get buried with honours; other times, like in Adoracion’s case, not even. The explosion took care of this too. It doesn’t leave anything behind.

There was a man, a strong, skilled, handsome man I loved… and in the next seconds… nothing… not even the proverbial handful of dust, damned be his conationals who did it… or maybe simply the fate.

I hope somewhere on the bottom of the sea, there is a loving mermaid to catch him in her arms and to give him more love than I could. To watch him sleep in peace, without the fear of hearing again shrilling pipes calling to duty.

Maybe the greatest bravery is for a girl to fall in love with a soldier or a sailor. Or, well, the supreme bravery is to marry one, knowing that she could become a widow any day. I have never got dreams of getting married, but I fell in love with Adoracion no matter who or what he was. And now I have to pay the price, with bitter weeping and long time prayers.

Because I can't do anything else for him now than to light a candle for him, to pay for a mass for the rest of his soul and do a novena as well, given that he has no tomb and he had no proper burial rites. I know his patron saint, I am the one to pray for him in death how I prayed for him when alive.

"Oh Most Merciful Jesus, look down with eyes of pity
on the faithful souls for whom You suffered and died on the Cross.
My Jesus, through your bloody sweat in the garden
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
My Jesus, through the crown of thorns that pierced Your head
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
My Jesus, through Your carrying of the Cross on the path of bitterness
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
My Jesus, through Your face covered with blood
which you allowed to be imprinted on the veil of Veronica
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him!
May he rest in peace!"
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 16 2015, 12:37 PM
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MOURNING

15-th of March 1720


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"God the Father of Heaven
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
God the Holy Spirit
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
Holy Trinity, One God
Have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
"


Lent is a good time to do a novena for our beloved departed. I am doing it, given that Adoracion died without a candle, a confession, anything… exactly like my parents did. I lost him unexpectedly… or maybe I keep losing him in pieces over the time.

First his scent on my clothes, then … but until the unlucky day of thirteenth I was waiting for him and knowing I'll feel his arms wrapping around me again, his mouth over mine, his whispers warming my face and my hair... Yes, I can't remember anymore how exactly they felt like, just because I know it won't happen again.

Lastly, a couple of days ago, when his former crewmates brought me the sad news, I lost also the hope I had for him to return. But it is better to know the truth than to wait in vain for someone who will never return. He didn't get the last rites, by the nature of his work and death - at least it's good he had left me behind, to do what his soul needs in order to find eternal rest. It could have been worse, to have nobody to pray for him. Maybe this is the case for some of his crewmates.

”Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”, the Holy Scriptures say. It’s comfort I am looking for now, with heavy heart, kneeling every day in front of the altar in the Cathedral. Just when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms me with the feeling that he's gone, forever, there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.

"Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of Virgins
Pray for the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
All you Angels and Archangels
Pray for the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.
Holy Saint Ignace, his patron saint,
Pray for the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio.


Yes, I know I am not alone. Madame Lucia offered her support and understanding. Ghislaine is trying to be supportive as well.

Neil told me that some day, after mourning him, I’ll find another man. It might be possible or not, but I am not thinking about this when seeking comfort in the prayers. Time will tell. I know time heals everything.

Where my Adoracion used to be, there is a hole now in the world. Or rather the hole in the sea, determined by the explosion, has taken a whole ship. A hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss him, and there are moments when the grief suffocates me. Grief, I now understand, is a sort of madness, in the same way that falling in love is madness. A sweet madness I should be grateful that I have experienced, before being angry and sad that I lost my love on the river of no return.

He is dead, but living in my heart, and his name is engraved on honour’s bright crest for having fallen as a hero. This should be a comfort for me too… but it isn’t much. Of course, it is commendable he is among the hero seaferers sleeping on the bottom of the sea, under the mermaids’ vigil, beneath the shadows of the waves and clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm. Earth may run red with other wars – my Adoracion and his crewmates, my brother too, they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death, leaving the tears to us, those who miss them and mourn for them.

”Gracious God, through whose mercy the saints rest in glory, we beg you to set free those blessed souls in purgatory, especially for the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio, for whom we are praying in this novena. May you radiate your compassion and love to them so they may enter into your Kingdom. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Sovereign Lord, in whom it is proper to be merciful, through the intercession of St. Michael, the archangel, of Saint Ignace, his patron saint, and by the sorrow of your Blessed Mother, who suffered when the soldier pierced your side with a lance, have mercy on the soul of Adoracion de San Ignacio, for whom we are offering this novena, and bring him to your eternal rest in heaven, for the better glory and honour of your name.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 17 2015, 09:52 AM
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IN MEMORIAM

24-th of March 1720


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”O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the soul of Your departed servant Adoracion de San Ignacio the remission of his sins; that by our prayers, he may obtain that pardon which he has always desired. Grant this, O God, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Be merciful, we implore You O Lord, to the soul of Your servant, Adoracion de San Ignacio, for whom we offer to You this sacrifice of praise, humbly beseeching Your majesty that, by those holy and propitiary offerings, he may be found worthy to win everlasting rest. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”


Today, on the eve of the Sunday of Palms, people celebrate Saint Lazarus, Jesus’s friend who was raised from death. It is a day people use for masses for the departed, and I did the same. I did it for my parents, for my brother and for Adoracion, as well as for the man Madame Lucia asked me to pray for. The novena is over, but my grief is still there.

The hours I spent with my Adoracion are treasured inside my heart. I can always find him there, if he isn’t going to be again by my side. My body never knew such pleasure than he could give me. The passion he awakened inside me drove me to places I thought only dreams could come from. I melt down like a candle burning every time we touched.

He was the only man making me feel that I was alive. My heart never knew such pain than hearing about his death. I still light up like a candle burning only at thinking of him.

I offered my love in vain, as I find myself alone again, however I am glad he had come into my life, he showed me what love means. Love is meant for two, normally... but war for how many is it meant?

I know that he isn’t going to return, no matter how my instincts trump the logical reality and my eyes look at the door every time the little bell sounds, with the secret hope he might be the one entering, like the sailors from legends. But I know this is not the case; people survive shipwrecks, not explosions.

My beloved Adoracion doesn’t have a grave that I can weep at, or light a candle at. I can weep at the sea shore, and light a candle for him in the church. But his memory is in all the places we went together, in the wind caressing my hair… and, first and foremost, deep in my heart.

I feel so helpless facing the grief of his untimely death – it’s as if the room grows cold with the death blow, and I start shivering. However, I know there would be a time when the grief will subside and go away, the memories will feel friendlier and some day I might find another love. He loved life. He wouldn’t want me alone forever. Some day, it will feel better. I will be able to smile, open my eyes, love and go on. But now, I have to get to terms with his death, and it aches deeply. Prayers do help only a little.

I can shed tears that he is gone, or I can smile because his life touched mine and I learnt something from our brief but wonderful love story. My heart is empty because of his absence, but I can fill it with the memories of the love we shared. I can open my eyes and see that his love made me a better person. I will cherish Adoracion’s memory and let it live inside myself. And because I think I am better at drawing than at finding words to write my love and my grief, today I’ll start drawing him again. Filling pages with his face feels more concrete.

”Grant, we beseech You, Almighty God, that the soul of Your servant, Adoracion de San Ignacio, which has departed from this world, may be cleansed by this sacrifice, and delivered from sins, and may receive forgiveness and everlasting rest. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Absolve, O Lord, the soul of You servant, Adoracion de San Ignacio, from every stain of sin, so that by Your aid he may escape the judgment of wrath, and come to the enjoyment of beatitude in eternal light.”
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Nov 20 2015, 12:12 PM
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EASTER HOLIDAYS

31-st of March 1720


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My good dress had been modified for Easter… It looks pretty, actually fitting me again, and I put it on today to go to church. It has a new bodice, of a darker shade of blue, indigo died, which actually fits me, and a strip of the same material on the back of the outside petticoat. Light blue and indigo complement each other. I received a matching shawl from Madame Lucia and her protector, and a bracelet of indigo beads made by Ghislaine. Easter gifts make people understand they are loved and thought about warmly by those around.

At my turn, I made Easter baskets for them and for Madame Celestine, and I delivered them early today. For the protector of the house we worked both, Ghislaine and I, to make him a basket with lavender-scented soap, a mix of plants based on sage and lavender for aromatic baths and also lavender scented oil against headaches. I know that Madame made him a pillow stuffed with aromatic plants as well, to help him sleep well when far from her. I had helped her with embroidering his initials on it.

Of course he has everything, but a small touch of his favourite things wouldn’t harm.

Madame Lucia chose to cook breakfast for us today – she called it torrijas, telling us it was traditional for Easter – a lovely blend of slices of warm bread soaked in milk, sugar and egg, fried in olive oil and served along with honey and cinnamon. They are very tasty.

This year, the Holy Week hadn’t the same brightness for me. I didn’t attend the procession. And now that we got to church for Easter, I can’t help missing Adoracion. I had modified this dress thinking about being prettier for him… not about it having a darker colour now, indigo, added to it, so that it is closer to what someone in mourning would wear.

Nobody would ask me about the empty chair which was, in my mind, next to me, no matter that in reality I was surrounded by my two friends, Madame Lucia and Ghislaine. No need to tell anyone how much I miss the handsome man who should be sitting next to me instead of above with the angels.

The man who taught me how to stretch my love far and wide enough to span the gap between heaven and earth and how to gracefully balance work, life and death, joy and sorrow, had lost, at his turn, the battle with the black lady. He was too handsome not to be desired by the mermaids as well…or even by the black lady herself, if she was moved by his beauty. He showed me how to love beyond all time and space, now it is my turn to live and love for both of us, holding on to the hole exactly the size and shape of him that is permanently frayed into myself, into the fabric of every moment of my life now.

This Easter, I know that my greatest blessings can be taken in an instant; I know the immeasurable pain of being robbed of my greatest joy. However, I am grateful that I had this joy. The life God gave us is hard. This deep pain is hard, but the gift I have in my heart is a burning love, which can transform everything around me… if I know how to sublimate it… Not unlike the potions I am brewing, sublimating the power of the healing plants.

I would rather endure this deep heartache of no longer holding him in my arms than to never have known him at all. I would rather endure this pain of being left behind than to never have seen his face, spoken his name, kissed those sweet lips. I would rather be his, and he be mine, regardless. Regardless of the sorrow, the sleepless nights, and the time I will walk this earth, carrying in my heart his beloved memory – mi Adoracion. The one for whom I wanted to be pretty, the one who would never see the dress I am wearing today for him.
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Nicole Cavalier
 Posted: Sep 21 2016, 02:58 PM
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Shop helper, Port de Paix
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A SNAKE AND A NEW FRIEND


5-th of June 1720


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I haven’t written in the journal for a long time, but life was nothing more than a boring routine, lately peppered with more responsibilities and more work since Madame has fallen ill with nervous fever. I might know the reason too, a certain impending wedding, but God rewards each person upon his or her deeds… So he’d get something in his path too…

I was on my way to Widow Mauban to deliver the weekly basket, when a big snake with beadlike eyes crossed my path and tried to bite me. A man with a cutlass happened to be nearby and he slashed the snake in tiny pieces. Even after being cut in two or in four, the pieces were still moving, to my horror. He also offered to accompany me to the destination, seeing that I was still afraid not to be more snakes around, after the heavy rain had just ended.

I promised to offer him lunch afterwards. One should show her gratitude properly. To my surprise, he is also a privateer, on the same ship Adoracion’s Irish friends had got aboard, ”La Chanson”. It seems I have a magnet for foreigners, as he is Portuguese and his name is Jose. But he speaks French well, only with a foreign accent which I got easily used to.

We ate at Madame Galet. We chose fried chicken with potatoes and carrots and a spicy sauce, watering it down with fresh lemonade.

He told me about his country, about Brazil too, where he spent a while. He is easy to discuss with, and the conversation succeeded to make me forget my worries until returning to the shop. I invited him to the shop, to a lavender tea. So from now on he knows where to come if he ever finds himself in need of anything a herborist’s shop provides.
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