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The Spear Of Destiny; Att. Sharky; open for all crew
Topic Started: Dec 20 2010, 01:05 PM (1,620 Views)
NPC

Civilian
[align=center] Posted Image
NEIL DONOVAN, carpenter’s mate, privateer[/align]


[align=center]Date: 6-th of February 1719
Place:Aboard “Fate’s Hand”, anchored in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas [/align]



It was early afternoon and Neil had nothing to do for the moment being. He leaned against a gunwhale, looking around. The port of Nassau was roomier… emptier without the two ships which were anchored near to “Fate’s Hand”. First, this morning, HMS “Rose” had weighed anchor. Then, at three bells difference, the French man-of-war too, and no other ship came to take their place.

He spotted Sharky not far from there, with a strange weapon he hadn’t seen before in his hands. It somehow looked like a spear, bayonet or arrow, but it was none of them. Yes, Neil had seen it the evening before, but he didn’t have the opportunity to ask his friend about it. And …Sharky looked somehow changed, in his opinion. A little changed for good and a little for worse, if he might think it this way. And he thought he might, because he had been the first one to befriend the strange little fellow they had found on that Spanish ship. Well, the fact that they happened to share the sickbay at the same time, and Neil was the strongest between them two, so he had to keep an eye on him, contributed to the friendship, too, but now the time passed, Sharky learnt a bit more English and made other friends too.

“What is this?” he asked with curiosity.


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
Unregistered

Masaki had been happy with his new weapons, more than happy, to be honest. Finally he held the weapon of his youth, of his home, in his hands once more, memorys flooding through his mind when he carefully oiled the weapon shaft with clear oil, to keep it safe from the salt ad the water that was unavoidable on a ship.
He had two good harpoons by now and soon, he would have more... and would relearn to handle them. Maybe one day he would find a place to live, not as a whaler, of course and probably alone... but at heart, he till was a whaler. Like his father and his fathers father...
His hands were working on their own, while Masakis thoughts were drifting. He was a bit sad about his general situation now, after having *thought* that he could find friends here, starting with the other topman, the young boy on this Navy ship, but he had understood that they were worlds apart. He might have to live on a small ship with many of the round-eyed people, but in a way, he was alone. Had always been alone since the humpback... subconsciously a hand clenched around the smooth wood. Better not think about it, he had cursed that fateful day again and again.
No more.

Masaki twirled the harpoon in his hand testing its weight and balance. Not perfect but good enough.
He had been so absorbed in his doing, that he flinched heavily and ducked as if he was expeting to be hit, a reflex, ingrained into him through years of abuse, when Neil approahed him and asked curiously what this weapon was.
"Oh... is harpoon, Neru."
Sharky replied, smiling a bit embarassed when he understood that nobody was about to hit him.
"Is thing for kill whale, but can kill other fish. Often fish swim under ship and around... me think, why not eat fish, if there? Me can catch fish with harpoon, is good eat. Better than icky pork in icky barrel!"
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NPC

Civilian
[align=center] Posted Image
NEIL DONOVAN, carpenter’s mate, privateer[/align]


Neil chuckled at hearing the name his friend had for him. Nothing out of ordinary, he was already accustomed with it. He had tried to teach him how to say Neil, but to no avail yet. Well, he hadn’t succeeded to say Masaki accurately enough either. In the Irishman’s opinion, Neru sounded a bit like a name a Negro slave would have been called in Boston (yes, Nero, but he hadn’t heard about the famous Roman emperor; he barely knew how to read) or like a word in his mother tongue, Gaelic, meaning “the leading yew tree”, the one which marks a border (Newry). And Sharky had told him that in his far away language, it meant “sleep”. If he thought well, it might be suitable, too!

“Harpoon? I have heard of them. There were whalers in the area where I was born, but I hadn’t got the opportunity to learn much about them. Never went further than sharing occasionally a drink in a tavern…” Neil said, looking at it more closely. “So these are the weapons they use against whales? Interesting! I understand you did the same in your country… I am sure the cook won’t mind some fresh fish – neither would I. But I wouldn’t have thought you could find such a weapon here in Nassau. How have you succeeded?” he wondered, knowing that it wasn’t a whaling port like those at the Ocean.

And even if it was a whaling port, he still wouldn’t have expected Sharky to buy harpoons by himself, partly due to the topman’s feeble knowledge of English and partly because, in his opinion, a man who had got only about six weeks ago his first share of the prize money would have found so many things to spend the money on. Such as good food, good drinks and women – things a seafarer can find only in ports. Not that he was doing much differently anyway, and he could understand Sharky more than the others in doing so: first that he wasn’t accustomed with having money, after having been a slave for so many years, and secondly, there were so many things he had missed while in the power of the Spaniards.

“I saw you returned rather late last night. How did you enjoy your time ashore?” the Irishman further asked, with a bit of envy, as he hadn’t gotten shore leave yesterday, however it was rather good-natured curiosity than anything else, knowing how afraid Sharky had been the first times when seeing a British colony town.

Besides, he felt something was wrong. Sharky could fool anybody else, not him, the closest friend he had on this ship.


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
Unregistered

Masaki put his harpoon carefully aside before he looked up to Neil.
"Hai , this use for whale."
he agreed quietly.
"Need put rope on end of harpoon - long rope - and make little circle with rope. Rope must be free, no catch leg or arm. If do, man dead. Whale pull in ocean, Davey Jones locker. ut here, me no want catch whale, but other fish. Catch whale need several men, many harpoon. Pointer, if good aim, one harpoon."
Lovingly, he trailed the needle-sharp tip of his new weapon with a finger.
"Me find young man other ship. Navy ship, big one, is sit there."
He gestured towards the place where the "HMS Rose" had been.
"Is boy more than man, but is be topman. He tell me, men in rigging is call topman. And boy be... ummm... mate no much time."
Sharky shook his head, grimacing.
"Boy say, is search fly-knife no can find here. Round-eye people no have fly-knife. Then, me is want harpoon, he is want fly-knife and me say: you find me harpoon, me give fly-knife. He say yes, me find some dagger, new hilt must come, then fly-knife. That why me is long in harbour, must show young man how make new hilt. And so me is has harpoon.. and more harpoon head back in ship. Must come wood, but then, good harpoon as well."

He had been pondering for a while what to do with his new harpoons and the harpoon tips. There was no way he would ever need that many harpoons... not until he became a whaler once again... but it would have been such a waste to leave the nice tips behind! They were good and would stay good with a bit of care and oil to keep the rust away... and maybe, just maybe he had an idea about a new kind of weapon he could use. Not that he looked forwards to fight, he was a peasant, not a samurai, all he had ever fought before were his older brother and sharks or whales or whatever else tried to kill him underwater. He had killed before... but as a last resort. To do so on purpose was something he wasn't yet familiar and comfortable with.

"So shore leave is much work, too, Neru."
he concluded with a wry grin.
"But now me is has harpoon and on sea, we is has fish for eat, no more icky pork."
At least they would eat better then, and there would be no fear of starvation as long as he had a harpoon left and this seemed to be everything he could hope for in this life onthe wrong side of the world, where he wasn't able to useanything he had ever learned in his youth, where his knowledge was worthless and he couldn't even speak or read the language. The promising young whaler with the keen eye and the fast arm was here nothing more than a halfwit...
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NPC

Civilian
[align=center] Posted Image
NEIL DONOVAN, carpenter’s mate, privateer[/align]

Sharky explained to Neil how the harpoon would function for a whale, and how for smaller fish.

“This is a good idea, you can catch smaller fish by yourself, and most men will give you things in exchange for a place at your table,” he grinned.

It wasn’t only the appealing perspective of a greater meal diversity, at least for Neil. It was also the thought that Sharky would get more appreciation from his crewmates. Some of them didn’t make the difference between a man who came from another country with completely different language and customs, and who was unable to express his thoughts properly in English because he was just learning it, and a man who didn’t have those reasoning capacities. Maybe new opportunities to draw some of them closer would end in better valuing him, as Neil had.

Then, Sharky told about the young man from HMS “Rose” who accompanied him, and Neil’s smile changed.

“Yes, you are a topman, this is the correct word. So he is a topman too, but he dreams of being a mate? In the Navy?” the Irishman snickered with contempt. “If he is young, then he may dream as much as he wants – the promotion opportunities aren’t exactly how one dreams them, especially in the Navy. We have better opportunities here, aboard a privateer ship. That boy needs a lot of good luck in order to achieve his dream… if he doesn’t die trying!” he said on a sad tone, remembering his own years in the British Navy.

Neil got from them a love for the sea, but definitely not for the King, the Admiral and those damn stuffed shirts who make a poor sailor’s life into a hell. The things were far brighter in privateering, at least while it was wartime. Afterwards, he had a trade he might use on an island somewhere, too… because why get back to Boston when there was nothing and nobody there for him anymore? There were, however, other alternatives to a land-based life, too…

"Boy say, is search fly-knife no can find here. Round-eye people no have fly-knife. Then, me is want harpoon, he is want fly-knife and me say: you find me harpoon, me give fly-knife. He say yes, me find some dagger, new hilt must come, then fly-knife. That why me is long in harbour, must show young man how make new hilt. And so me is has harpoon... and more harpoon head back in ship. Must come wood, but then, good harpoon as well." Sharky continued his story.

“I’ll give you good wood. I am not so sure what essence would you exactly need, but you are welcome to browse what I use and choose what suits you best,” Neil focused on his latest words, because these were what he could help with.

"So shore leave is much work, too, Neru," Sharky smiled strangely, ending his story.

“All work and no fun? I don’t believe this! Yes, I understand you had to work at those knives – I guess you kept at least one for yourself too, might I see it? I am curious how you made it. And then? Didn’t he treat you at least to a round of ale? If not, I understand why you are not so happy now… Neil tried to find out what had really displeased Sharky.

There must have been something else… A quarrel for a woman didn’t seem to be his style, so what had really happened?


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
Unregistered

Sharky grinned - there was no other word for it - sharklike.
"When me is spanish ship, captain is donkey ass."
he shared another one with his tories with Neil.
"Is buy food, yes, but food is be put bad barrel. Wood is go open and food is go green. And no is plant thing, food, mind you! Then, we no eat and is come no wind, we sit in bloody ocean like cat in bag. What do? Me try explain idiot... oh what word... mate?... man under captain... me is can catch fish, but need thing for that. need harpoon or knife and wood or... well... thing, you know? Mate say no and curse, think me want weapon for kill other men. Then me go, ask cook, cook scare, but know, no food there just officer is has food. Men angry for no is has food. Cook give dagger, me is steal wood, then has harpoon - bad harpoon, but catch few fish, all crew eat bit. No can eat, no can sail. Then captain is come, see and oh he hangry for think, me no kill fish, kill men. Is put me in brigg and whip... me never again try help bastard Spaniards!"

When Neil expressed his disbelief in such a young man like Martin getting promoted, Sharky sighed.
"Me think is can be mate or something. Is can read funny signs your language, speak language and other language, read map... well is not difficult read map... but still. And is not even has hair in face of self like round-eyed men is has! Me never learn all that thing."
The promise to get good wood cheered Sharky up a bit... after all, he knew not much about wood, he was used to bamboo more than anything else, but the rattan wood was certainly too weak for a decent harpoon.
"One knife me keep, but must do other hilt... hilt bit too heavy."
Sharky replied and handed Neil the dagger in question.
"Is only use for kill rat or other little thing... harpoon much better. With harpoon, me nail man to mast... dagger... phht! Little toy for child.
And yes, when hilt do, we go eat little bird with name shi-ken. But me no like ale-drink. Is bitter."

As bitter as he was, but that wasn't something he would mention, of course. Why should he? It wouldn't help to complain and whine about his fate, life was like it was. He could deem himself lucky to be alive and shouldn't ask for more. WHo knew what he had done in a former life to be punished like that...
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NPC

Civilian
[align=center] Posted Image
NEIL DONOVAN, carpenter’s mate, privateer[/align]

The carpenter’s mate listened carefully to Sharky’s story about catching fish while on the Spanish ship. It made sense for a mean slave owner to be afraid he would be the immediate target of an armed slave, but for a captain not to care if his crew would starve?

“You proved them that you were far better than them all!” he smiled friendly. “You are with us now, Sharky, a free man, among friends, and you’ll see your fate improve, ” he tried to comfort him. “I know you miss your country, I miss mine too, but even at the end of the war, I won’t return there. I’ll try to make a future for myself here around, in the West Indies, me thinks. There won’t be too many among us to return where they have been born, if there isn’t anything waiting for them in those places.”

And for him it was nothing, nowhere, while the West Indies were the realm of any opportunity. As long as he had a trade – and being a carpenter was a good one – he could find a job either aboard a merchant ship, or on one of the islands and start a new life. Eventually get married, if a lass would catch him enough to consider her worth settling down.

When talking about the young topman of HMS “Rose”, Sharky said, with a sigh:

"Me think is can be mate or something. Is can read funny signs your language, speak language and other language, read map... well is not difficult read map... but still. And is not even has hair in face of self like round-eyed men is has! Me never learn all that thing."

Somehow, Neil started understanding his way of thinking. So the discussion with that boy made Sharky unease, pondering about his own future in these unknown realms?

“You told me you can read maps too, the way they are made in your country. So perhaps you can learn to read ours too. I saw you standing at helm, steering the ship with sure hands; it means you have learnt to read the compass. I don’t think you need much more for reading maps. About several languages… besides your mother tongue, you speak Spanish and you have started learning English too, so you aren’t any different. The fact that you learnt Spanish will be useful even after the war ends, or more then than now. Besides, you have the advantage of serving on a privateer ship. It means a lot more opportunities than in the Navy! He dreams to become a mate, but it is unlikely for him to be one soon, unless his ship loses too many men in a battle. Here, on a privateer ship where nobody gives a damn about hierarchy, your topman skills were noticed quickly. If you have other skills, they can also grow and be valued better than any Navy sailor’s. I agree with you that it is possible for you not to learn EVERYTHING that boy knows, because his conditions when growing up were different; but he won’t learn everything YOU know, either, and one thing after another, you are a lucky guy who will find his own way in this world, both now and after the war ends,” Neil smiled to him encouragingly, and his big, shove-like hand gave Sharky a pat which, if the frailer man hadn’t been accustomed to it already, might have sent him flying.

He couldn’t blame a recently freed man for being worried about his future; but Sharky wasn’t any man, and where a few others hadn’t seen his potential, he and the master gunner had. He needed only an ambition boost, and Neil wasn’t sure how to succeed giving it.

“I don’t give a damn on those who think you can’t do what others can. They are stupid, not you! I have seen your ambition when the others haven’t been enough time around you to notice it. You can do whatever you set in your mind to do, you have the patience for it and you learn quickly. I guess you need an impulse to learn better English, and when your English knowledge will be good, nothing can stop you from getting promoted too. If you tell me what else you are good at or interested to learn, besides working in the rigging and standing at helm, and what you would like to do when the war is over, I might have an idea how you can achieve it,” he further thought to add.

Sharky smiled when hearing his promise of good wood, and he showed the Irishman the dagger:

"One knife me keep, but must do other hilt... hilt bit too heavy."

“You need wood for it too. I am ready to show you what I have spare. ”

"Is only use for kill rat or other little thing... harpoon much better. With harpoon, me nail man to mast... dagger... phht! Little toy for child. And yes, when hilt do, we go eat little bird with name shi-ken. But me no like ale-drink. Is bitter."

Neil laughed at the summary of the evening.

“Well, knives are handy too, not only for rats. I guess harpoons are better, because they kill the huge whales, but a good knife is also useful aboard a ship, or ashore. And yes, I guess one needs to be accustomed with ale in order to like it. I heard that the French and the Spanish prefer wine and cider. What did you use to drink in your country?” he asked curiously.


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
Unregistered

"You is... choose go here, caribbean sea, Neru?"
Sharky asked hesitatingly.
"Me no is choose. Me is has good work, when still young, more child than man, but me learn hunt whale. Me bring home share of whale... maybe soon could safe money for have wife... all that. But then humpback come, Spaniards come... no more can go home. Is... forbid, leave home and go back... is crime. And people my land no hang, is too easy. Hang perhaps some minute pain. My land, put criminal too cross, like Jesus-god. Three, four days die."
He grimaced with the thought, but forgot about this gruesome death when Neil tried to encourage him by pointing out that he already had a certain set of skills, although it had been unused for many years.
"When me be cabin boy me in captain cabin, too."
he replied, wrinkling his nose again.
"Me no like, but... me see map there. Map of caribbean sea. In our country, we no take map at sea... easy get lost map... we is only has small ship. We is has card... here."
He raised a hand and with two fingers tipped against his temple.
"And we learn read stars in Nihon-ga... let Tsukiyomi, the moon, guide us. Tsukiyomi here is hang other stars in sky, but me recognize his hand even here. Me is here enough time for learn that. We has no fancy things like you has... but we whalers know what way to take, even if no star in sky and no land on horizon. Take other way with whale than without whale, for we know where water is run under water, other direction. Whale is sit in sea deep, water is pull back. Things like that important, too, me think. But who care what me think?"
He chuckled.
"Spaniards no is ask if me has learn thing or not. Me must do what told, even if no know what is, or cat. Or whatever else Spaniards think of. Now me can do every thing on ship. But no can use firegun. And cannon. Other things, no is much use, everyone can. Me no is "samurai... warlord my folk... me just as whaler. Me know how find whale, hunt and kill, bring home like do with other ship here. But ship no is whale... and me no know cannon. No use for fight."

Neils opinion about harpoons, that they were only good because they had the capability to kill a whale, made Sharky laugh.
"Neru... me tell you thing. Me no tell anybody else. Me is has kill man with harpoon before... me no want, but... man deserve it. Was... umm, what word... not captain, man under captain, spanish ship. Two year ago. He... strange... some time nice, some time not. Me think he no right in head, but he... well, me is make harpoon again, one day, for food bad and me think, maybe me can catch fish without tell. He find me with harpoon and be mad with rage. He me say... many things. What he do now for that, then he change mind and suddenly start take of shirt, take off clothes and say, he other idea, if me be good."
Masaki grinned ferally.
"But me know better to believe. Me wait bit, let man believe he won, then take harpoon and nail goddamn cabron to door, without clothes and go then. Nobody ever ask me again be cabin boy that ship. If I do with dagger... me no sure. Harpoon is make more scare for men... so some time, harpoon better."
He winked at Neil and nodded firmly, completely convinced that he was right. The shock for the man who had found the first lieutenant dead in a more than obvious situation would have probably distributed the story quickly enough to put either the fear of God or the slanted-eyed demon into the crews hearts.
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NPC

Civilian
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NEIL DONOVAN[/align]


Neil certainly didn’t expect Sharky’s question:

"You is... choose go here, Caribbean sea, Neru?"

The Irishman sighed deeply and looked at him straightly:

“No, I haven’t chosen it, but does it matter anymore? I am here, nothing and nobody waits for me in my homeland, so I am determined to make the most of being here. Who knows if the destiny wasn’t wiser than me to send me here for my best.”

At least, so he hoped. Perhaps something was waiting for him there in Boston, but nothing pleasant, so he’d better not return…

Sharky told him that he hadn’t chosen it either, he was a whaler, and he couldn’t go home, because leaving that country seemed to be forbidden and punishable. Neil shook his head in understanding:

“I had a good work too, in a small town near a bigger one. I was apprentice to a carpenter, I had friends… But it was war time, and the King needed more sailors and soldiers. So there were nice-looking men who went through the taverns, looking for young, strong boys. They ordered a round of ale for everybody at the table, but they were in understanding with the barmaid, and the strongest young men, when finishing their drink, found a silver coin, a shilling, on the bottom. Of course they took it in their hands, marveling what’s with it… and then the men gathered around and said: <You took the King’s shilling, come with us to serve the Crown at sea!> No possibility to avoid it anymore. And for those who tried to deny going at sea, when out of the tavern, they received a club over their head and they were carried to the brig. At least I didn’t resist them. I joined the Royal Navy. Then I got decommissioned when that war was over, and I got on a merchant ship. War started again, captain Ashton took me aboard. It was our destiny, both your and mine, to arrive here and meet.”

Indeed, at least he didn’t resist them at that moment. He knew that even aboard a ship, a carpenter’s mate was a good position, far better than a sailor. And about the “decommissioned” part, it was the shortest version, the one he usually told.

When asked about his skills, Sharky said that he had navigation skills: reading maps, reading stars... not only the ones in his country, but here too, as he had roamed the Caribbean for ten years.

" We has no fancy things like you has... but we whalers know what way to take, even if no star in sky and no land on horizon. Take other way with whale than without whale, for we know where water is run under water, other direction. Whale is sit in sea deep, water is pull back. Things like that important, too, me think. But who care what me think?" he chuckled.

”A good captain cares, especially if you make yourself useful during storms or bad weather. I am not talking only about <Fate’s Hand>, but when the war is over, if you don’t spend all your share of the prize, you may join me. We put our money together, maybe with another man if we find him, buy a small ship – a Bermuda sloop or a pinnace, and sail among the islands, fishing because you can fish, carrying goods… And your knowledge of Spanish might come handy too,” he grinned, as, in his opinion, “carrying goods among the islands” meant also smuggling with the Spanish and French colonies.

Sharky was further telling his strengths:

"Now me can do every thing on ship. But no can use firegun. And cannon. Me know how find whale, hunt and kill, bring home like do with other ship here. But ship no is whale... and me no know cannon. No use for fight."

”If you can do everything on ship, then you’ll have your bread assured both in war time and peace time. And don’t tell me that you are of no use for fight, because you know as well as I do, that your contribution to the latest two prizes was as important as anybody else’s. What if I learnt to use the cannon while in the Navy? People learn, it isn’t difficult. But you were up in the rigging, helping our ship to catch the other. Or at helm, turning our ship to the wind, to engage better the enemy! These are more difficult things than serving a cannon. Besides, I saw you with the cutlass too…”

Sharky laughed, telling him how he had killed a beast of a Spanish lieutenant with a harpoon. Neil had no doubt that a harpoon could kill a man. And strangely enough, this confession made him respect Sharky even more. What horrors he had survived as a slave to those Spaniards!

The Irishman, like enough of his people, was a Catholic. Enemy or not, Spaniards were Catholic too, and his eyes went wide at the story… how un-Christianly might a Catholic man behave.

”Of course your secret is safe with me. One human beast less in the world. Don’t expect anything else than admiration from me for this! And yes, I agree with you that harpoon was better to frighten the others. Now it’s over. You contributed to catching two Spanish ships, until the end of the war I think your revenge will be sated. Then you will be able to look forward, to a good future in peace time. And if you need a good advice about how to keep your share of the prize and not spend it foolishly, ask Doc. He had explained me too, and I used his advice."

[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
Unregistered

"Round-eye people strange habits..."Sharky stated with wide, confused eyes when Neil explained to him how sailors were recruited in England.
"If men no want be ship, how can do good work? Know not one thing about sail and wind and storm, no wonder desert and mutiny and all thing like that. And captain often no know more. That people never be fisherman my home... and no ask about whaler. We in ocean with ship like longboat for five day or week or more time... and we is return home. Storm, giant wave... no matter, we is must feed family, find whale. And if somebody my home take king shilling, we give back. King should better watch money, not put in other person drink."

Sharky shook his head, again convinced that he was right. To him, it was a honour to be a whaler or a sailor in general, but of course, not everybody was predestined for this. For generations his ancestors had ensured the survival of their community with braving the stormy sea and the dangers of the open ocean, it was in his blood.
He told Neil what he could do, yes, but to him this was nothing important, nothing of value... every whaler from his homeland would be able to navigate by starlight after being accustomed to the different constellations of the stars in the Caribbean.

"Neru, me no sure if want be on ship."
he finally admitted.
"Me only know what Spaniards do on ship... and you is say, English ship people bad as well, has cat and keelhaul. Me no want be on ship like that. Is bad bad thing if treat people, sailor, who is need courage and all like dog. Me no will go now for me no know where go...yet. Me stay and safe money-coin. No know what use for anyway. Now me has harpoon and dagger and cloth, food come from sea, no need buy more. If money enough and you think we can has little ship for live, me is with you. But first man I see with cat in hand that no is purr-cat, is first target harpoon."
Sharky took a deep, gasping breath, eyes narrowed into small slits of hellfire.
"Me no want kill men, Neru, even no want kill Spaniard men... but me no more slave. And me no want be crew with slave and slaver. Kill slaver is honourable kill, for is like shark. Shark destroy everything... must kill before kill you. Brrr.... damn beast! And some people beast to... and sadly, no matter what flag is on ship. First me think, English better than Spaniard, but me wrong. Merde! "
Masaki snorted and shook his head, visibly not content with the choices he had.
Neru, you think... maybe French is be better?"
he asked hopefully.
"Me no know about other folks yet... and me no believe Spaniards. Spaniards tell Brethren bad, English bad... me no know before English and me no know Brethren. Me only know little and so much things to know... all very difficult, me think. Not easy choose way."
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NPC

Civilian
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NEIL DONOVAN[/align]


Neil smiled hearing Sharky’s comments about the press gangs ad the new recruits. The man had a good point.

“You are damn right, Sharky, but the wars have lasted too many years, and the king is always in need of new soldiers and sailors to replace those killed by the enemy. This is why it happens. And mutinies occur only where the officers are too cruel and the weapons not guarded. In the Navy it doesn’t happen often. However, there are several people like me, who didn’t want to serve aboard a ship at first, but got accustomed to it and learnt to love the sea at the same time with learning their job.”

When revealing his own plans for the future, Neil had told Sharky honestly that he would like to have him on the ship he’d buy, as a partner, and the Oriental man’s answer came equally sincere:

"Neru, me no sure if want be on ship. Me only know what Spaniards do on ship... and you is say, English ship people bad as well, has cat and keelhaul. Me no want be on ship like that. Is bad bad thing if treat people, sailor, who is need courage and all like dog. Me no will go now for me no know where go...yet. Me stay and safe money-coin. No know what use for anyway. Now me has harpoon and dagger and cloth, food come from sea, no need buy more. If money enough and you think we can has little ship for live, me is with you. But first man I see with cat in hand that no is purr-cat, is first target harpoon."

Yes, it was a normal reaction from him, and it was Neil’s duty of a good friend to explain him everything:

”Well, I guess on the big ships, even like this one, where there are many people, those who are unruly and disobey the orders get punished when needed. Captain Ashton is not one easily grating his men, but I have seen our armourer flogged for getting drunk on the job and neglecting his duties, because this could endanger all our lives. Anyway, the ship I am dreaming about and I am inviting you to be my partner for, definitely won’t be this way. It will have about six men aboard, all of them skilled and trustful, and no nine-tailed cat. There will be a captain, of course, but all of us will be partners and getting fair shares of the profit.”

When it came to praising his fighting skills, Sharky protested vehemently:

"Me no want kill men, Neru, even no want kill Spaniard men... but me no more slave. And me no want be crew with slave and slaver. Kill slaver is honourable kill, for is like shark. Shark destroy everything... must kill before kill you. Brrr.... damn beast! And some people beast to... and sadly, no matter what flag is on ship. First me think, English better than Spaniard, but me wrong. Merde! Neru, you think... maybe French is be better?" he asked hopefully.

This man knew how to raise the most direct and painful questions, and Neil had to answer them:

”If you don’t want to kill men while you are here aboard, I have told you that it is possible. Nobody has forced you to do it, and you have witnessed at least two successful big battles. Your share of the prize remains a good one if you are one of those who contribute to sailing the ship in a battle. This is one thing extremely needed too. You lose only the boarding prize, which is additional. And who says that there will be any slaves or slave owners ever on my ship? Exactly like here, it won’t be any! As for your statement about men like beasts irrespective of the flag they sail under, it is true. I honestly don’t think French or English or Spanish might be one better than another. A ship captain might be better than another, irrespective of flag. You shouldn’t think about countries, but about men. Don’t tell me that in your country there aren’t good people and bad people alike. There are everywhere. England, France or Spain are no exception. I am sure that even among Spaniards you could find good people, but you didn’t have the luck of meeting them, you met the beasts instead.”

He was an Irishman, and he couldn’t forget that his parents or grandparents had left Ireland due to the British oppression. He had chosen to serve aboard a privateer ship of British allegiance only because he understood that not all British people were thinking the same way.

Sharky added his point, still unsure about the future:

"Me no know about other folks yet... and me no believe Spaniards. Spaniards tell Brethren bad, English bad... me no know before English and me no know Brethren. Me only know little and so much things to know... all very difficult, me think. Not easy choose way."

Actually, besides having the Spanish as enemies because the law of war had dictated it, the Irishman had nothing against them. If thinking about God – and Neil hadn’t for a long time, except brief reminders during too strong storms – the Spaniards were Catholic like him, so they should be closer. And the French… enemies in the previous war, allies in this one; wasn’t it strange in itself, and even stranger to explain it to a foreigner like Sharky?

”Yes, this is true. Everybody says about their enemy that he is bad, but they are doing the same things, or worse. I agree with you it isn’t easy to choose your way in this world which is new for you. The best solution is to learn as much as possible about it. I won’t say even that the Brethren are bad,, he added in a whisper, making sure not to be heard by anybody else. ”They are considered bad now, because they are our enemy too. But if thinking better, the only difference is that our captain has a letter from King George allowing him to chase any ship of Brittain’s enemies, while the Brethren attack ships of any countries without choice of the flag. There are former pirates who turned privateers and privateers who turned pirates. And privateers are needed only in war time…”

Of course, this was exactly the reason why he was thinking about owning a small ship for peaceful activities in the peace time which was bound to come some day…


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
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With Neils explanation that there had been a flogging on the "Fates Hand", Masakis usually healthy hue of skin turned sickly pale. He was visibly thunderstruck and blinked several times as if he were trying to wake up.
"Youuu... is do jest, Neru!"
he replied tentatively, eyes huge and frightened.
"Me ever see Captain is has whip man... you is sure is this ship?"
Subconsciously, Sharkys small, sinewy hand tightened around the shaft of the harpoon, ready to defend himself. He didn't understand what an "armourer" was and why it was bad to drink... after all, everybody did it! Well, except of him, beause te alcohol was far too strong for his taste and after getting a hangover twice, he was warned and stopped drinking too much.
"Neru... you is really, really sure, sure to swear on Christ-god and whatnot... Captain Ashutonu is allow use cat?"
The Asians whole lithe body was tensed like a wire, ready to spring into action at the first sign of a red bag. The only thing that was holding him into place was the firm belief... or rather the desperate hope that Neil was joking with him and it wasn't true. He would never stay on a ship that functioned only with the threat of corporal punishment.
"Then, Neru, Captain can go kill people himself and sail ship himself. Dive for barnacles himself and rig mast himself."
He declared solemny.
"Ship like that, me no is stay, rather stay in ocean with shark. From shark me know what expect... but people only look in face. Me thought, this ship better than Spaniard, but is same. Me better go, before log in brigg here, too. You might say, captainhere no do, but if use whip, what else use? Me no trust men who do. First do one thing, then do other thing, when nobody stop."
He regarded Neil for a moment, eyes dark and fathomless.
"But is good me know now, Neru. THank you. Me just go fetch other harpoon head, then me gone. Maybe one day, we meet again, free men, other ship... ship for self, without captain and cat... only purr-cat and good men."
And quickly, Sharky turned around and scurried under deck, intending to fetch what little he owned in this world,to escape from the ship, that he had once thought to be preferable to a spanish one.
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NEIL DONOVAN[/align]


Sharky’s reaction was far stronger than he could envisage. He got frightened and asked in disbelief:

"Youuu... is do jest, Neru! Me ever see Captain is has whip man... you is sure is this ship? Neru... you is really, really sure, sure to swear on Christ-god and whatnot... Captain Ashutonu is allow use cat?"

“I am not joking, and our captain wouldn’t allow it for minor offences. He ordered it when the indiscipline of a man who didn’t do his duty could cost us all lives and the ship to be a prize for the pirates... If the weapons weren’t cleaned this was only one thing which could have affected the outcome of a fight, but this man had got drunk and lost the money he had been entrusted to buy ammunition. What use are we in a fight with no ammunition?”

"Then, Neru, Captain can go kill people himself and sail ship himself. Dive for barnacles himself and rig mast himself," he declared solemny. "Ship like that, me no is stay, rather stay in ocean with shark. From shark me know what expect... but people only look in face. Me thought, this ship better than Spaniard, but is same. Me better go, before log in brigg here, too. You might say, captain here no do, but if use whip, what else use? Me no trust men who do. First do one thing, then do other thing, when nobody stop."

“It isn’t like this, at least not on this ship. Whom have you seen in brig, except the prisoners captured from the Spanish or the pirate ships? If you do your duty, you don’t quarrel with the others and show the needed respect, you are respected in exchange. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but here it does. The cat won’t be for you as long as you behave appropriately, I can guarantee it. It wasn’t for me, and I am aboard the <Fate’s Hand> since it was an ordinary merchant ship, before getting transformed into a privateer, and it wasn’t for most crewmen. But if an officer, the armourer, didn’t do his duty, he had it worse than an ordinary sailor should have, because he had a higher responsibility and a higher share of the prize. No, our captain isn’t how you think. He doesn’t punish the ones who don’t deserve it. So he is better than the Spaniards, who had punished you for no reason.”

It seemed that all Neil’s explanations couldn’t convince Sharky that flogging was only a consequence to criminal indiscipline. He looked strangely at the Irishman, and said on a weird tone:

"But is good me know now, Neru. Thank you. Me just go fetch other harpoon head, then me gone. Maybe one day, we meet again, free men, other ship... ship for self, without captain and cat... only purr-cat and good men."

Sharky scurried under deck, to comply with what he was saying, but Neil caught him from a few big steps, landing a big, heavy but friendly hand on his shoulder:

“And where do you think to find a better ship for the moment being, to hire you? Perhaps a pirate ship would take you aboard, but don’t think the pirate captains never use the cat against unruly crewmen! Or do you imagine that somewhere on land you’ll find a better life than aboard <Fate’s Hand>, which is one of the best ships from this point of view? Sorry to tear down your sweet dreams, Sharky, but New Providence, where we are now, has slaves and slave owners. And some people might be mistaken by your colour to think that you have Negro blood. From there to considering you a slave because you can’t show them freedom papers, it isn’t much, and who can save you? You are far freer here, and our captain is scarce with punishment. The cat is meant only for those who can’t understand by a normal word. And I can’t say the same about some other ships I have worked on, so you’d better stay here, among your friends.”

Neil met his dark eyes with a sincere and friendly blue gaze. He liked Sharky and he didn’t want the poor dreamer to get into a worse situation. If only he could get him to understand about the big foolish mistake he was about to make!


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Shirai Masaki
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Sharky frowned and shook his head.
"Neru... friends do no whip friends. Friends do no allow "ANY-FUCKING-BODY* whip friends! IF such people friends... sharks better friends. Eat their own as well."
Sharkys eyes were sparkling with outrage, it was unbelievable to him how anybody could condone such derogations and abuse and call himself a friend then.
"Friend, Neru... is other thing. If anybody try whip you, he eat harpoon and believe me, no whale, no shark can stomach harpoon. No man can. But me no sure, what you do...
And respect? Me no respect people like that, people who know less than clam in ocean, but can use whip. They no deserve respect. Only thing they deserve is harpoon... and that they get from me, on ship or on shore. Me long enough free to know one thing... be free better than be slave. And dead be better than be slave, no matter colour."


Masaki gritted his teeth, ready and willing to defend his new-found freedom to his last breath.
"Me can live on land and on sea. Me can dive long enough for people think me dead. They no catch me again and if do, me is has dagger. Me no need captain or other men save me, me save self. If no can get free with dagger or harpoon, by kill other men, me can kill self... more hoourable than be slave and fear cat. But first me kill as many white men as can."
He took a deep breath, trying to calm down.
"And now, Neru, you better let go."
he stated coolly, glancing towards the paw-like hand on his shoulder.
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NEIL DONOVAN[/align]


Despite Neil’s good faith efforts, Sharky seemed not to understand how the world had been made:

"Neru... friends do no whip friends. Friends do no allow *ANY-FUCKING-BODY* whip friends! IF such people friends... sharks better friends. Eat their own as well. Friend, Neru... is other thing. If anybody try whip you, he eat harpoon and believe me, no whale, no shark can stomach harpoon. No man can. But me no sure, what you do... And respect? Me no respect people like that, people who know less than clam in ocean, but can use whip. They no deserve respect. Only thing they deserve is harpoon... and that they get from me, on ship or on shore. Me long enough free to know one thing... be free better than be slave. And dead be better than be slave, no matter colour."

”First of all, I agree with you that friends don’t whip friends. Nobody said that the bossun’s mate was friend with the armourer, neither that I was friend with him. And sorry, but he had deserved it, he had been warned not to drink when he was out for supplies. It wasn’t the first offence. If he couldn’t understand of word, he understood of pain. If you were to meet an enemy ship without having ammunition because the idiot had drunk and gambled the money for buying it, what would you have said then? He was made an example, and it was a good example, because it was the only case of flogging I had witnessed aboard this ship. You asked me what I would do if you were in danger to be whipped; I would try everything to avoid it!” he stated determinedly.

"Only that your stubbornness would make this damn more difficult than it should be!" he thought, exasperated. After eleven years on seas, both in the Navy and aboard merchantmen, then privateer ships, he had learnt enough discipline to understand how things were going. And unlike on other vessels, here one had to fully deserve the “captain’s daughter” in order to get it. Only that he couldn’t make this obstinate little critter understand that it was his own perdition he was heading to with this attitude.

Neil heard Sharky telling how he thought he could live free on land and on the sea, and his heart wretched. He cared for his friend, irrespectively that Sharky was doubting his friendship, and he wouldn’t like such a dramatic end for him. Why the fate wanted him saved two times, once from drowning and then from slavery, only to push him to another cruel death?

”Have you ever heard about the maroons? I guess this is the community you want to join, the runaway slaves who are hiding in the mountains – however even they are in Jamaica, not here on this island forgotten by God! Killing a few of your chasers before you get killed yourself… yes, it is better than slavery, I agree; but why, when you can have a better life aboard the <Fate’s Hand>, without being a slave and without having to fear the cat? I told you that if you do your duty responsibly, you mustn’t fear flogging. Here only the ones who really deserve it, get it – thing which I can’t tell about certain other ships. Do you want me to show you? I am perfectly aware what you are saying, I have served aboard two ships where a sailor got flogged for minor offences. Look, I wasn’t exempted, I had my share of such <caresses>. So I know very well that here it is different, and I am not lying.”

He raised his shirt to show him the scars on his back. One more reason to hate the damn Navy… Nevertheless, Sharky seemed unmoved in his determination to leave for an obvious suicide:

"And now, Neru, you better let go."

”Yes, I let you go, because nobody can force you to accept a good advice. But I’d suggest you think better about all the opportunities you have. And understand, once and forever, that aboard this ship, unlike certain others I have served on, you don’t have to fear the cat if you do your duty and you don’t brawl with your crew mates. Here the ones who understand a word – and you do - don’t need to be made to understand by pain. Cat is only for unruly men. And I can’t get it why would you want to go seek your death when you can have a good life here until the war ends, and a better life afterwards.”

Neil shook his head, unable to understand this stance. Indeed, nobody could get wiser by force. If that was his friend’s destiny, then he couldn’t do anything more. At least he tried to convince him, to show him the truth. Maybe in his far away country, beyond the Cape Horn, things were different, but in the Caribbean they were better than in Europe, still exactly how he had described them to Sharky. And he should try to adapt and live, not go find his death.


[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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