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Unexpected Revelations; att Sharky
Topic Started: Mar 30 2011, 03:24 PM (2,119 Views)
Marina Costa
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Governess, Kingston
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[align=center]Date: 3-rd of May 1719, late evening
Place: Ile de la Gonave[/align]



The most difficult part of sailmaking was getting the shape of a new sail right. Usually an old one was used as a pattern, but this time the masts have been heightened, the yardarms lengthened too, and a part of the square rigging had been replaced with fore and aft rigging, in order not to let the ship look like a frigate anymore. The boom has also been lengthened to add a flying jib, which meant lot of work for the sailmakers, to make new sails from scratch, at the new dimensions.

And, given that Marina knew how to sew sails, she had been asked to assist the sailmaker all day long... Of course, it made sense, since she couldn’t do wood work or anything related, and she wasn’t as strong as to be needed elsewhere at a more consuming physical labour.

But during the resting time, she had succeeded to cut out her linen fabric meant for the shirt too, and this was an important achievement for her. Now, that the day had nearly passed and the men started gathering ashore, she had asked Ned, as promised, to look ashore and towards the privateer ship, spying for Masaki’s arrival. She knew that he might be late, and she made efforts to focus on sewing, without any flying thoughts.

Easy to say, hard to do...
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Shirai Masaki
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It had been a long, hard day for the ddiminuitive japanese topman, an exhausting day in any regard. First off he had been woken up by a drill that the first mate had ordered - again - then he had had to frantically clean the next part of the ships rump, a task that hadhad to be postponed in Kingston and in the end, when the day of work was nearly oer and he had wanted nothing more than to curl up and sleep, he remembered, that he had a crew to feed.
Or, rather two crews and it was a safe bet that the Navy men were even hungrier than the privateers.
Therefore, just after most of the crew had been dismissed, a small boat, six men at the oars and a Sharky with his harpoons at the bow, left for the open sea.

This time they were lucky, a handful of dolphins showed Sharky the way to a large school of tuna - fat, tasty fishes and most easy to catch.
Since the dolphins seemed to "help", by keeping the tunas nervous and closely together, as well as lose to the surface, it was easy enough to spear more than twenty large fishes, none of them shorter than three yards... more than the crews could eat in a day.
Therefore, spirits were high when they returned slowly, their large booty, tied to the boat with ropes, slowing them down enormously.
Sharky himself was exhausted, this hadn't been a hunt, but merely slaughtering... and the extremely easy catch had tempted him to kill more than they would need for the night meal. Alas, tomorrow was a new day... and who knew if the fishes would be so accomodating tomorrow?
He was exempted from hauling the heavy fishes onto the sandy shore... he would have been of little help anyway... and trotted tiredly away to rest in the shadow of a fig tree.
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Marina Costa
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As it wasn’t yet evening, but only late afternoon and the sun, as much as it got seen between the clouds, wasn’t going to set for about one more hour, Marina was still sewing when Ned told her that her privateer friend was already ashore, and that the men had caught lots of fish.

”Then let’s go there too! You know the cook will need your help in cleaning them!” she reminded him, as Ned was usually helping in the galley and now both cooks and their helpers, supplemented by some volunteers, were busy cooking the fish for the two crews.

Well, theoretically she could have helped too… but spending a little more time with Masaki was far more interesting, so she went towards him.

”Hello, Masaki–kun! I saw the big fish you have caught. Congratulations!” she greeted him, with a happy glitter in her eyes, but trying to see how he was feeling, if he took care properly of his wounds, and how tired he was.

Talking with him there was as a good place as any other, even if she was curious about the mysteries of the forest behind them. Not going far inside, of course - there could be other good fruits than pineapples close enough to the shore, and as long as the daylight still helped seeing them…

But if he was as tired as yesterday, of course, she couldn't say it openly...
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Shirai Masaki
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Masaki had rested, leant against the tree, eyes closed and his hands and forearms resting lightly on his knees, the barnacle cuts exposed to the fresh breeze from the sea.
He had done his duty to get the food, the men who had rowed as well, now it was up to the others to give their contribution to the meal.
They would clean and cut the fish and the cooks would prepare them, with whatever vegetables, spices or other ingredients they had until every an had received his share or even a second helping. There was no need for rationing here, there was enough for everybody to eat as much as they wanted.
A familiar, happy voice interrupted his reveries and he looked up to the young topman, who first of all congratulated him on the large catch.

"Hello, Martin-kun! No be difficult this time, fish is be worry for jump-fish and stay close to boat."
he explained as good as he could.
"Is easy catch and much fish. Enough next day, too!"
He stretched languidly and then, out of a sudden, jumped to his feet, grinning happily.
"Sun is good after day be in water."
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Marina Costa
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Marina smiled, glad to hear the well known voice of her friend, who tried to modestly lessen his contribution to the fishing:

„Good for us all if the fish came to you willingly,” she said, „but you are still the good fisher who caught them.”

Her eyes followed his familiar silhouette stretching like a cat, and his quick moves afterwards, which surprised her.

„Of course sun is good, pity that it is so moody today, looking at us between the clouds, like a child playing with a pillow!” she commented. „But please tell me how do you feel? How are your wounds, if you dove today too? she worried about him, even if something in his moves was telling her that he was better. „And how tired you are? Too tired for a few fruit while it is still daylight?”

He liked fruit as much as she did, so it was a good objective for a little exploring. Not to mention that, as much as both of them loved the sea, some greenery around and a firm earth under their feet didn’t harm from time to time.
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Shirai Masaki
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"Yes... fish be very nice today."
Sharky agreed, laughing.
"If always like that, all fishermen rich men... two bell on sea, then lie in sun all day. But me think, fish is enough for next day, too. Maybe then me no need fish more."
Once asked how his arms were, he looked down on the cuts. Yes, they were wet and slightly swollen, but that was a reaction to the salty water, not an infection.
"Arm is be good."
he said, shrugging.
"When sea and wind come, no bad blood come in wound. Round-eye people is always make mistake... hide wound from friendly sun and wind, wrap cloth around... but Amaterasu must smile on wound, or no can heal."

That was his way of interpreting what he had seen... of course, none of his former masters had wasted good linen to bandage an unruly slave after a floggig, but some of them had bandaged punished sailors. While Sharkys wounds have healed easily through the fresh air and salty - disinfecting - water, some of the bandaged sailors had suffered more and the japanese whaler had explained this pheomenon in the animistic traditions of his homeland.

Martins suggestions to go and search for fruits was a good one... Masaki liked fruits, a rare treat for sailors in general and for a former slave even more so.
"Me only is tired for catch fish... not fruit!"
he declared convincingly.
"Where we go catch fruit, Martin-kun?"
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Marina Costa
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Marina liked his happy mood. She had been worried for him lately, damn his foolish first mate!

”If you don’t need to fish anymore tomorrow, then it means you might rest more... you need rest too.”

When he reassured her that he was feeling well, and that the barnacle cuts would heal soon, she smiled.

”What you are saying is true only sometimes. In other cases, the protection is needed, depending on your work,” she tried to explain him.

Her grin got wider when he declared that he wasn’t tired for a bit of exploring and the perspective of finding some fruit.

”We might see around in the forest, not too far away from here, what kind of trees and what kind of fruits are there,” she suggested. ”I’ve brought something to put them into,”, she showed not a basket, but a sort of fabric which was to be made into a bundle, easier to carry.

The forest was made up of palm trees, smaller trees and bushes, making rather difficult the path. Besides the fruits they were looking for, there were plenty of multi-coloured birds, flying scared by the two explorers who chatted merrily.

”How is it in your country, Masaki-kun? Is it as warm as here, or a bit cooler, or winter with snow and hot only in the summer?” she asked him.
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Shirai Masaki
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Masaki chuckled when he understood how the young man worried for him.
"But Martin-kun, me is has worse with Spaniard."
he argued.
"No much cut of barnacle, but of cat, so.. me is like barnacles better. me can work with cat, me can work with barnacle. No worry."
He clapped the younger man on the shoulder and nodded towards the forest.
"You is no need worry."
he continued.
"Island too small is for big beast try eat us. Me just take knife for snake. But no big danger here, no can live, too little island is."

He followed Martin willingly into the strange and unknown vegetation, looking curiously to and fro, while looking for something that looked edible.

”How is it in your country, Masaki-kun? Is it as warm as here, or a bit cooler, or winter with snow and hot only in the summer?”

Martin asked curiously and Sharky thought about it for a moment. How was the weather in Shikoku? He had nearly forgotten it in the scourging heat of the caribbean sun...

"Cool..."
he replied dreamily.
"Sun is shine, but not so hot... much wind, much rain and storm, and then sun come out and we rejoice. Here, we rejoice when sun go away for a while. What your country is, like Caribbean?"
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Marina Costa
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Marina nodded understandingly when Masaki told him that under the Spaniards who had kept him as a slave he had been worse overworked and tortured. She knew this, it was written in the scars on his back, which had impressed her since she had seen them in Nassau. No, she wasn’t repulsed by them, she was feeling only pity for his pain, and fighting the impulse to extend a hand in a light caress.

Now, it felt like a bitter irony that he liked barnacles better than what those damn slave-drivers had done to him, and he was telling her not to worry for him – as if she weren’t a worrier by definition, or as if she wouldn’t care...

”Of course you can, because you are strong, but ...friends do care, you know...” she said softly.

He explained her that the island was too small for wild beasts, and she nodded approvingly:

”My crewmates have been here before, they said the same, only lizards and birds of all kind. They didn’t see snakes, but I agree with you it is possible to be hidden somewhere.”

Because it was rather late and spending a night lost in the woods wasn’t appealing at all, Marina suggested they go somehow parallel with the shore, which was rising on a slope towards the hill well formed at horizon.

They found some star apples and they focused, for a while, on selecting the soft, well ripe fruits, with wrinkled skin, while discussing about their far away countries.

When Masaki asked her about her country, if it was as hot as in the Caribbean, Marina smiled and answered:

"I guess it’s more like in your country… I mean, it is as hot as here sometimes in the summertime, but only in July or August, not as much as here. Other times it is cool. But in Ireland, which is far to the North, it’s too misty and cold for my taste."

Then, some guavas caught their attention, and Marina’s improvised bag started to get filled. Too busy with their task, with happily chatting and with the anticipation of the fruits’ sweetness, they didn’t realise that the darkness was falling, less from the night and more from the dark clouds.
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Shirai Masaki
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Masaki laughed happily, while he followed the young gaijin deeper into the forest. Certainly he, like everybody else, preferred light work and no pain, but alas, that was life. He had never had a day without work since he had been picked up by the spanish merchant vessel and he had assumed, that the gaijin never rested. Or if they did, due to some orders of their Jesus Christ god, then it didn't mean that he was allowed to rest as well.

"Ah well... life good now, Martin-kun, no more cat, no more brig... rest come later."
He joked.
"One day we own ship, then every day fish or barnacle for eat."
That was a goal that Sharky had and he was glad that his friend seemed to share his wish. It would be great to be on their own vessel, without these silly crowns and pirates and alliances he could ot understand, but to mind their own business like honourable people did, work hard for their own benefit and bother no one.
And even better to do so with friends...

Like the fruits they were busily picking and loading in Martins bag for later... and of course, Masaki didn't notice the darkened sky ad the thunder rolling far away as well.
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Marina Costa
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Both of them were in a happy mood, discussing and laughing while gathering fruits.

”Indeed, now you are a free man, and later we’ll have our own ship, no more crazy orders and mad boatswains,” Marina approved him. ”Work is done quicker and better when there is no one to yell at us. And with a good fisherman like you, one would never fear starving,” she smiled, pangs of hungers touching her stomach at the thought of the fish which was just being cooked now.

Well, there would be dessert afterwards – star apples, guavas and figs… maybe they could find some papaya too…

Blinding flashes of light interrupted suddenly their discussion, making Marina’s eyes close. She crossed herself widely, asking in Greek, like her father, for the protection of Saint Elias and Saint Nicholas, the ones to be invoked during storms, while a big thunder almost ripped the forest in two. Brusquely, it got completely dark.

”Let’s go out of here, to the shore! Being caught by lightning in the woods is dangerous!” Marina said, even if she was sure that he knew this already.

But once when “Colomba” was at anchor in Chios, it was a storm so strong that the ship next to theirs got its main mast hit and burnt by the thunderbolt. The men of “Colomba”, including Andrea, who was around 12-13 at that time, had helped with putting out the fire, which had caused enough damage, so she was rather afraid of lightning. Since then she had been working her way through enough storms, nevertheless it was not necessary to like them.

A heavy tropical rain started pounding, and in two minutes they got soaked to the bone. They were advancing slowly through the newly formed, slippery mud, not seeing anything around them except in the moments when the skies were illuminated by a new lightning flash. Fortunately, both of them knew the direction the shore was in.
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Shirai Masaki
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When the rain started to whip down on them, Masaki snorted angrilyad shook like a wet dog. While rain was something fortunate on the open sea, meaning fresh water if one knew how to get it, on an island with a decent water supply and many trees, that attracted lightning, it was annoying.
Annoying and cold, come to that.
But he was used o be exposed to the weather without deent shleter (or any food, come to that) and therefore he did not mind that much for himself... but it seemed that Martin was more affected by the weather.
And since Sharky cared for him in a strange way, he decided t hat it was obviously his job now to get them back to the ships or, if they couldn't make it, to shelter.

Now Masakis homeland was sometimes hostile as well, but he knew these little islands already. Rocks and vegetation mixing, rain and wind whipping against the hills and trees... he knew what to look for.
To their luck, Sharky found soon what he was looking for, a tree, that was halfway vanishing into the mountain... a sign for a cave.
Through the merciless storm, he couldn't address Martin properly, so he merely took his upper arm and nudged him into the appropriate direction until a small rock projection offered them the desired shelter.
Despite of the seemingly freezing cold, Sharky grinned.
"See, Martin-kun..."
he explained happily.
"Now we is has little... house?"
He was rather proud of himself, but Martin looked far unhappier... and cold.
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Marina Costa
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Marina was used to working aboard the ship during storms, but it didn’t mean she liked them, as if each of them reminded her about the strong gale when she had lost her family. Besides, now it was the possibility of a thunderbolt too... They were walking together towards the shore, beneath curtains of rain, and if Marina had been the first one to say „Let’s go!”, then Masaki took the leading role. She followed closely, shivering, somehow reassured when he took her arm.

She didn’t understand what he was looking for, until he grinned happily and showed her

”See, Martin-kun... Now we is has little... house?"

Yes, a cave! She finally understood. It was heaven sent! No more lightning, no more rain inside... Hopefully it wasn’t already taken and claimed by God knew what wild beast... But she wasn’t alone, she was with her friend, and she was strangely feeling that together, they could overcome anything.

The entrance of the cave small, with a narrow opening they had to lower their heads to enter. Her smile was bright too, while following him inside:

”Thank you for finding the cave! Are there any signs after which you can recognise if there is any cave around?” she asked.

It was dark inside, but at least not wet anymore… Hopefully he had something to start a fire with, because she didn’t. The darkness wasn’t particularly inviting, however neither anything to be afraid of. She was not one of the squeamish girls who have been her classmates in the monastery!
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Shirai Masaki
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Sharky wasted no time in exploring the cave. He knew that the only source of dry material might be in this cave, not outside where the rai was whipping, no, scourging the trees, breaking off branches and throwing fruits around like an angry child.
He chuckled.
"Susa-noo angry tonight."
he explained happily.
"But here, he no see us, he can only ruffle tree, no ruffle us."
His eyes adapted quickly to the darkness and he foud a few small branches and twigs here and there.. obviously the long-abandoned lair of an animal.
Sharkys language skills were poor, he knew that ad he knew that he souded like a umbwit, but he certainly wasn't. He had noticed how much Martin was trembling, the rain seemed to have cooled him down extremely. Masaki was cold as well, small shudders ran occasionally through his slender body, but Martin was trembling continuously. the young man needed to get warmed, soon and the easiest way to do so, was a fire.

From the leather, Sharky had originally intended for his tabi boots, he had taken a piece to make a good, tight little pouch he wore on his belt, that held needle and thread as well as a firestone. That he carried a dagger, was more or less standard.
Therefore it took him ess than a minute to produce a few sparks and after five more minutes, a small fire was lightening up the cave and warming the dripping wet topmen.
Sharky cowered down at the fire, soaking up the warmth and sighing with contentment. After a minute he started to undress.
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Marina Costa
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It was so cold inside the cave! Marina could have remembered that all the caves she had ever seen – and there weren’t many – were cooler than the outside air, and this one was no exception. Still, when hearing Masaki’s words about the gods he believed in, and his happy chuckle, she already felt warmer and better.

”Indeed, here nobody sees us, we are safe from the weather.”

She always understood what he meant, his lack of vocabulary didn’t bother her at all. She couldn’t forget that she had been in the same situation too...

Marina gasped when he left her side, but she didn’t say anything. She knew it was childish to be afraid, even slightly, as she was, and she was habituated to master her fears since early childhood, when she had to prove that she is no less than her elder brother.

Masaki was so fast! He returned soon with some wood and he started a fire, which enticing glow dissipated all her fears. At its light, she could see the cave around them too. It was a small one, which seemed to have been used as shelter before, but not too recently. Very good, it meant the place would warm up quickly.

”It is so good to feel warm again!” she approached the fire. ”You are right, we fear nothing here.”
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