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The Last One Will Be The First; att French Navy,British Navy, privateers
Topic Started: Mar 13 2011, 03:10 PM (1,118 Views)
Giles Laurent
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Captain of "Le Phenix"
French Navy
Giles put a small amount of sugar into his coffee before stirring it. Always black with sugar. It wasn't as if they had access to cream on the ship anyway. He took a deep breath and sipped at his coffee, listening to Raoul. He didn't have the consciousness he required yet, but with the coffee, it would come.

"I have yet to see it. I will later in the day. Tonight's meeting. It is a formal occasion, I assume," he said, more as a question than a statement. He hoped this hangover would pass before he would have to get dressed up and go listen to men speak about the maneuvers he would have to endure before the week was out. The Alliance was really a lot of talk. Giles had never liked the political game -- which was possibly why he didn't have his own command.

Giles sat back in the chair, smiling at the Creole saying. He had heard it before, but did not expect to hear it from his captain. "I didn't know you spent your free time with the Creoles, Raoul. The saying is a good one, anyway." Giles had read it before in a book, he was sure. Giles loved expressions and proverbs from other cultures, but it went without saying, of course, the best ones were from French literature.
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Raoul Duval
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Rear Admiral
French Navy Admin
Raoul looked smiling at his lieutenant. When the discussion came to the events which were, most likely, in store for them today, Giles asked if there would be a formal meeting.

”I think it must be one. We were the ones who invited them here, unfortunately we are the last to arrive... this is life. We have to plan... and you know these Brits are always formal...” he ended with a grimace.

When he told Giles the words he had learnt from Lucia, he didn’t expect his friend to recognise what people they belonged to, but he did. And given how he commented it, this was a better opening than any, though, to say what he had on his mind since early morning when they had set sail. If Raoul fell on duty during the upcoming battle, Giles was the one who would remain as acting captain, and he would carry out his last wishes.

”Yes, I liked it since I heard it for the first time,” Raoul smiled. ”And... what else to do during the long two months spent ashore, Giles? You frequented the places I was no more desirable to, I had to find comfort somewhere too. If she happened to be a Creole beauty, why not? Her innocent love helped me resist the humiliation, overcome the demons haunting my mind.”

He looked at Giles more seriously than usually when he talked in jest about his latest conquests. Then he realised that a part of his words could be misinterpreted. Giles had never told him that he was courting Marie, but gossips flew anyway, and the Governor’s secretary was one of the very few friends Raoul had got here. So he had to set this clear too:

”Giles, don’t get me wrong, I am really grateful for your friendship, and I know that you had something to do with the fact that the Marquis seemed to have appeased lately as concerns me. I think you are doing the right thing, and you have my support whenever you’d need it. If you are in his graces and if he wants you as a son-in-law, perhaps you’ll choose me as best man. I honestly don’t have anything against it, and I think you two are a good match.”
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Giles Laurent
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Captain of "Le Phenix"
French Navy
Giles found himself looking at his feet as he heard the captain's words. He had wanted to tell Raoul about his affair with Marie. He wanted to tell the whole world. He was just so happy to have someone in his life once again. He took a deep breath. "I thank you for that, Raoul. She's... a remarkable woman," That was all he could get out at the moment. With a thousand thoughts through his mind, he couldn't form any of them into sentences.

"I do hope you know that I would have told you eventually... If we are to be married, there is no one more than I would like to be my best man than my captain," he said, a smile on his face. "You are my closest friend, after all." Giles grinned widely, looking at his captain.

"But enough of that. How is this Creole beauty of yours? Is she beautiful?"
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Raoul Duval
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Rear Admiral
French Navy Admin
Raoul smiled seeing Giles embarrassed by his words, but better be uncomfortable this way than in a wrong way, if he had misinterpreted the captain’s previous statement. He had nothing against this couple and it was better to be known.

”She is remarkable indeed. I wish you two happiness together, and I hope to find a good wife when I’ll be ready for marriage too,” he smiled warmly to his friend.

When Giles asked him about Lucia, Raoul looked at him, unsure how to start… and even less sure how to tell him what he had on his soul.

”Lucia is beautiful, young and naïve… and madly in love with me. Yes, you could blame me that I am recognizing openly to you what most gentlemen don’t – that I have an affair with my maid; so what? She was the only one who tried to comfort me when I arrived home defeated and mortified; she showed me that she cared, in the little ways she could… Her life hadn’t been easy either, it was like… two torn souls trying to find healing together. And it felt just right… I think what I needed the most was exactly to feel loved and wanted by a pretty woman, after having been spurned publicly by the Spanish prisoner and also publicly becoming the object of a man’s desire. But… things changed… and I might need your help.”

The harder part was just starting. If Giles wasn’t shocked yet, he would be soon. Raoul took a deep breath and ended his coffee, then he continued:

”The battle we have ahead might have an unexpected turn. All battles can, you know it. And if I die… I’ll write a will today, and I’ll give it to you. Please make sure that Lucia and the child she is bearing – my child – will be safe, and not thrown on the roads. I want a reasonable future for my first child, irrespective that he happens to be an illegitimate one, of a commoner status, and I have money to ensure it. If I outlive the battle and I go back to Port de Paix, I’ll try to make amends somehow myself. If not, would you accept, my friend, to carry out my will and watch over them?”
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Giles Laurent
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Captain of "Le Phenix"
French Navy
Giles listened intently to Raoul's words. He seemed to really love Lucia, and what did it matter that she was a maid. Giles had read so many tales of men having affairs with their maids while wedded to another woman. It seemed vulgar to him. He couldn't understand adultery. If marriage was supposed to be sacred, he would keep it as such. He was glad Raoul had no wife to speak of in this situation.

The grave situation that they faced kept a smile from Giles' face. He didn't like to be serious when facing a battle... he would rather be lighthearted until the fallen had to be dealt with. It was a good philosophy.

"Captain, it would be an honor, should it come to that. She will be taken care of, I promise you." Giles would do most anything for his captain, not because he was a superior officer, but because he was a good man. He liked to think that Raoul would do the same for him if the situations were reversed.

He took a sip of his coffee, before setting it on the table. "While we are on the subject. I have letters in my bunk... should I fall, I would like them delivered as some last goodbye to the world..." He smiled a little. Most of them were for Marie... but there was one or two for his family back in France. He was unsure if the letters would be able to be sent, but he definitely hoped so.
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Raoul Duval
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Rear Admiral
French Navy Admin
Giles wasn’t shocked even by Raoul’s confession that he was going to have an illegitimate child. Perhaps he was less of a dreamer than the French captain had thought, and more understanding in the ways of life. Or, simply it meant only that his first lieutenant was a good friend, thing proved by his promise that he’d watch over Lucia if the need be.

At his turn, Giles asked him to send good-bye letters on his behalf, in the worst case. It was a normal approach for anybody who lived with the shadow of death above the head.

”I’ll make sure they are delivered,” Raoul’s voice trembled a little. ”But once those have been said, cheer up, mon gars! Maybe life will be kind to us and give us many more happy years to enjoy its blessings!”

He stood up and went to pour more coffee, both of them needed some. It was a long day ahead…

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