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Not Quite An Enemy; att. Adoracion de Chucho
Topic Started: Aug 11 2013, 03:50 AM (1,392 Views)
NPC

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”Little John” Gibbens, British Navy sailor[/align]

[align=center] Date: 13-th of November 1719
Place: Port de Paix, Saint Domingue, Hispaniola,
in the tavern “The Sword and the Barrell” [/align]



John was not usually a drinker, but this time he had let himself dragged to this tavern by other crewmates on shore leave. He didn’t speak French – or he had learnt a few words, not enough to get him food and drink – so he didn’t want to wander alone through Port de Paix. But he had shore leave, and he didn’t want to pass on the distractions of the French port either. Were the French women as beautiful as it was alleged? Until now, in the street, he had seen both pretty and ugly ones, both French and coloured women.

The tavern, with whitewashed walls, flagstones and pew-type benches, was not far from the quays, and not as fancy as “Au Gobelet d’Or”. It was frequented mostly by marines and soldiers, this was the idea behind its name. (Of course, these were details the British Navy men couldn’t know). John couldn’t read French, but the sign outside showed clearly the translation: “The Sword and the Barrell”.

Mark was offering a round – he didn’t remember the reason. The man had said it, for sure, but he hadn’t paid attention. Now they were inside, and the tavern girl promptly offered them each a mug of beer after staring without comprehending when Mark had ordered “ale”. Fortunately, the word “beer” one of them had thought to explain it with had clarified it.

They knew they would soon leave port and go to show the damn Spaniards not to rise at war with England anymore. If it was for him (but who would have asked him anyway?) he thought they didn’t need to share their glory with the French, however the higher-ups had thought differently. This meant merely an opportunity to get a taste of the French life here… Starting with their beer, which was not worse than the one in Kingston.

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Adoracion deChucho
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"Marooned" wasn't quite the word to be used. Abandoned, maybe. Or forgotten...deliberately. Fired. Yes, he'd been summarily dismissed. Fired. Only a week ago Adoracion had been employed (less-than-happily, yes. But employed none the less) aboard a small merchant ship that ran "errands" between Jamaica, Hispaniola and Tortuga. As one might suspect, they were, indeed, less-than-honorable errands. But that was beside the point.

The point was, he had had a job, and then he had had an argument with the higher-ups, and then he'd had shore leave and...when he'd gone back to the ship, it just wasn't there any more.

So he'd been stuck here. A long, complex and dry story, indeed. But one that left Adoracion with a serious problem: he was a Spaniard in a very French province, and despite looking for ships taking on crew, he had no immediate way of getting out.

"L'épée...et ...le Barrell," Adoracion mumbled under his breath, trying the words on his tongue. French had never come easy to him. He could understand a handful of commands - mostly ship related - but could not for the life of him get the words to come out sounding anything even remotely correct.

In a dark purple shirt tucked into black breeches, Addie was sitting alone at a small round table against the tavern's far wall. His back was to the room and he faced the wall, but his focus was on the grain of the table he sat at, and the intersection it held with the mug of almost-untouched, warm beer before him.

If he tried to act as though he wasn't there, he'd figured, maybe no one would mess with him - and so far, for the most part it had worked. In fact, Adoracion's dejected demeanor had nothing to do with any of the people in the tavern at all.

Heaving a sigh, the Spaniard stood suddenly from his table, and the chair he had been sitting in scraped back over the floor from the push of his legs.

It ended with a thunk and a jolt as it hit a chair behind Addie, placed too close in the Tavern's crowded interior.
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NEIL DONOVAN, privateer carpenter [/align]

They had arrived yesterday, and today had been shopping day. Port de Paix was cheaper than Kingston… at least usually. This time, so and so…

After a long day of doing errands, the privateer carpenter couldn't think of a better way to end it then by getting some rhum and decent food in his belly. He had been enough times in Port de Paix, lately, given that the new captain favoured this port, to know that he wouldn’t find any whiskey here.

As he approached the rather old building with whitewashed stone walls, he could hear noise and laughter and smell unwashed bodies and overpowering perfume. At least there was a difference from the ship – the perfume, which meant there were generous women around too. Generous with a lonely sailor, Neil meant…

The Irishman walked through the doors, passing by the sign showing clearly a barrel and a sword, and he looked around for a seat. Did he prefer the company of French soldiers, with their mouse-like uniforms compared to which the British “lobsters” seemed acceptable? No way. There was no free place at the table of the loud British Navy men who were seated in a corner either. So, he looked around and he found a man alone at a table, and he decided that was the good place for him.

Neil asked him politely, in a French as good as he could muster (which didn’t mean too much, nevertheless):

”May I sit here?”

The man seemed to flinch as if disturbed from deep thoughts, and he got up suddenly. During this unexpected move, the chair fell on one of the British Navy men’s at the next table.

[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Adoracion deChucho
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Privateer
Adoracion had been zoning-out in his "forever-alone" corner when a sudden voice at his side startled him. Badly. He was embarrassed at himself even as he was but half-way up, but of course the body does what the body wants, and so he continued right on up until he was standing tall.

A man of average height, he looked to Neil with discerning eyes, examining his garb and demeanor in one quick swoop. He seemed not to be a soldier of British or French colors - and perhaps not a soldier at all, although he did speak in what sounded to be French. Yes, French. Not that this Spaniard was quite good enough with that tongue to realise that this man was no native speaker.

As most people did when they wanted to sit somewhere, Neil had psuedo-gestured towards the chair, or the table, or something. Addie had caught that motion and, along with his understanding, taken it to mean that the man either wanted to take the free chair, or to sit with him at his table, in the free chair - either of which was perfectly fine to Addie.

But the Spaniard had little chance to reply just yet because he was quickly turning to where his chair had smacked up against someone else's.

"Perdón." Addie spoke in the direction of the table as he moved an arm to pull his chair back towards himself and away from those it might have offended. The word was spanish, but similar enough in most of the languages spoken here that he was sure someone would understand what he meant. You know, "Sorry."

Expecting no trouble, Addie returned his eyes to Neil and gestured an open hand at the table. Please, it said. Sit.
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Neil smiled and followed the invitation, gathering his meager knowledge of French to ask for a beer. A smiling tavern maid came to serve him.

The man behind his table neighbour, whose chair had been touched, looked menacingly at him. He took the excuse as being in French (and so had Neil), but this didn’t mean anything. In Little John’s opinion, those damn frogs should be taught some manners too.

”Mind what you are doing, and don’t disturb others again!” the Navy sailor growled in English.

”He did nothing on purpose, I had startled him from his thoughts,” the privateer replied promptly.

When getting the requested beer, Neil saw that his table neighbour had some left in his mug too, so he raised his, politely, saying the only toast in French he knew:

Sante!” (“Cheers” – literally “Good health”).

[align=center] This post has been written by ELENA[/align]
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Adoracion deChucho
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Ah. So they all spoke english here. Well, then, that made things easy, didn't it?

Adoracion, who was already in a fiery mood (his heritage aside) because of his predicament, did not take kindly to the Brit's haughty assumption that Addie had hit his "bloody" chair on purpose. In Addie's opinion, the British tended to be too self-righteous any way, and generally undeserving of any forgiveness on the matter. They saw any forgiveness as a sign that they had been right all along.

If Neil did indeed toast the Spaniard, Adoracion did not notice. For after offering Neil the seat, he had been distracted by the rude Brit, and had fasted his attention upon him, not looking back to Neil even when that sailor spoke for him.

His right hand curled around the back of his own chair, holding it towards him so that it rested on its front two legs, its back two about the length of a finger off the floor.

"Gilipollas!" Adoracion cussed, frowning as he stood not far from the Brit who'd dared have an attitude about a simple accident. "Who do you take yourself as? A king? I said my apologies!" his Spanish accent poked through the English words, as though his emphatic hand gestures didn't give him away enough.
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Neil would have got angry that the man didn’t answer his toast, only that… he saw the other had just been insulted, so it was normal to have the attention to the potential enemy. So he looked at the Navy sailor, agreeing with his table neighbour’s irritation.

John recognized the man’s accent in English. This was not French, it was obviously Spanish. And if the Frogs were circumstantial allies, to be endured by their sides, even if he didn’t like them, at least the Spanish were legit enemies. So, better to focus his anger on him.

”I will take no apology from a damn Spanish spy. If the Frogs are too coward to do anything about locking you up, I am the one to speak up and to teach you a lesson.”

Neil had listened and he had recognized this was a Spanish word. He had heard it from Bene before. But he didn’t think a Spanish spy would be in the open, in a tavern meant for sailors and soldiers.

”And whom you call frogs, here in our town, bloody Brit?” a coarse voice with Breton accent was heard from another table, where some French soldiers had been eating in peace before the incident.

”You who are supposed to be our allies and you don’t do anything when a Spanish spy is drinking in your middle!”

The soldier looked at the alleged spy and asked him – in the same unsure English, since he had spoken English before:

”Who are you? And, if you are Spanish, which is your business here, on enemy territory?”

The plump tavern maid shuffled through the tables, drinks sloshing precariously as she did. She had never quite gotten the hang of carrying mugs of beer, but there were few enough people that wanted her job that she didn't get fired.

As of now she didn't have to worry about that. Her job as a barmaid left her with just enough to get by. There were plenty of interesting characters who came through and, as barmaid, she was privy to some of their more fantastic tales. She was unsure how much truth came from drunken lips, but it was entertainment just the same. Even witnessing a fight – which was most likely to happen now, upon the tone of the debates in a foreign language – could be entertaining when not on the receiving side, she mused.

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Adoracion deChucho
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Adoracion was not in a good place, given what he was, and he knew that. But between his annoyance at being fired and the general pent-up energy that came from hands too-idle for too long, he kind of, secretly, wanted a fight. There was a very real and very honest possibility that that sort of thinking could get him killed. After all, he was "picking fights" in a time of near-on war where tensions were already high, and in hostile territory. But the truth was that although Adoracion had been trying to be very good, he was very anxious and really wouldn't have minded the sting of fists. Giving or receiving.

He didn't want a fight. But he wasn't full-out avoiding one, either.

Addie was about to call the Brit out on "teaching him a lesson," but fortunately the sailor was doing enough to offend all of those around him that someone else jumped in to the conversation, annoyance on their tongue, too. It was true. Why did this sailor dare to insult the French in their own stronghold, of sorts.

The Spaniard locked his jaw and looked between the two - the French man and the Brit - though he kept a close watch on the sitting British soldier with the foul attitude.

But the next words from the Frenchman were obviously directed at Adoracion. Addie turned his eyes that way, noting that many, many eyes were now on his once-quiet little corner, waiting to see if there was a rat to be thrown to the dogs.

He could fight valiantly, but if these men decided to, Adoracion would be ripped limb from limb. Mentally, he felt the outline of the little knife in his waistband, and the somewhat bigger one in his boot. His pistol was in his room. His sword...onboard the ship that had abandoned him. Along with most of his original wardrobe...

If someone thought he was over-armed for a day of drinking and soliciting work, they ought to have tried a day in his complexion.

"None of you but this red-haired hijo de puta are my enemy." Adoracion declared in the clearest english he could muster, and loud enough that hopefully all the war dogs who had just perked their ears could hear. It probably would have been tactful to not slip into Spanish, but with his blood boiling, it was all he could do to keep most of his words in English. "I am a sailor. For you-" Adoracion gestured open-handedly to the table of monsieurs , "For them-" he gestured, then to the gentlemen. "Whomever's got a ship that needs sailing. And I was having a drink, and waiting for someone to hire me...until this offered to...how did you say? 'Teach me a lesson?'"

Naturally, the little defense ended with Addie's eyes on carrot-top.
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NEIL DONOVAN, privateer, &”Little John” GIBBENS, British Navy[/align]

The Breton soldier was partially satisfied with the answer. A sailor… but what would do a Spanish sailor in an enemy port? Even if he declared that nobody else was his enemy than the man who… well, he sort of felt everybody’s enemy since having called them Frogs.

He was the representative of law enforcement, so he should enforce law even in this unruly tavern. He had to watch against spies and against cheeky so-called allies ready to stab somebody in the back too.

”Offering your services and looking for a ship to hire you wouldn’t be a great thing… but who would hire a Spaniard in a French colony, when there is a war boiling for almost one year?” he wondered, on a casual, not threatening tone. ”How did you remain here, what ship have you served before?”

He had a hunch that it might be a smugglers’ ship, and that, if he had got left behind, this would make him speak and help them catch the smugglers.

Then, his focus turned on the offending British sailor.

”And you? What ship are you on and what’s your name and rank?”

Little John didn’t need to actually know Spanish in order to understand that the Spaniard had insulted him somehow and that the “enemy” part was a declaration of war. But before being able to say anything, he found himself interrogated by the soldier. Exactly what he could wish to make his day! He felt his anger rise higher.

”My name is John Gibbens, able seaman on HMS Sovereign,” he answered briefly, barely containing his fists not to fly to their faces – all of them around!

Neil knew well the Spanish word his table neighbour had used. It had been in Sharky’s mouth rather often too. He was listening to the man’s answers, knowing that if he liked him, he would recommend him to the quartermaster of “Twilight Shark” to get hired. A privateer ship always needed skilled hands… and cannon fodder, unfortunately.

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Adoracion deChucho
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Adoracion should have been happy, he supposed, that the Frenchman had chimed in. The man had certainly toned down the tension that had been ripe to build and snap between Addie and any snobby Brit who had desired to pick on him today. However, as sentence structure implies, he was not 100% delighted.

"who would hire a Spaniard in a French colony, when there is a war boiling for almost one year? How did you remain here, what ship have you served before?”" he asked.

"Those who need an experienced hand will take me..." the spaniard explained. "Just recently I was aboard a private merchant which served these islands. But my contract expired."

That seemed to appease the Frenchman to some extent, for he then turned to the Brit, asking the same. And lo, the Brit actually replied.

A Navy man...of course...stuck-up prick..

Taking a breath, Adoracion turned to look at his table, taking the first decent look at his tablemate. The man had been fairly silent, and Addie wondered if he wasn't taking some silent offense to Adoracion's accent and implied heritage.
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The Breton soldier was almost satisfied by the answer, even if he thought he understood something else by private merchantman. All were private merchantmen, only the cargo manifest would show the difference between a smuggler and a legal carrier.

”Care to tell the ship’s name?” he asked, not on a threatening, but on an interested tone. ”And is it still at anchor here?”

The man could tell him, as he wasn’t associated anymore with the ship. And if he lied… well, soldiers could find him in town.

John’s hands were itching for a fight. However, he was clever enough to understand that he couldn’t do anything while the soldiers were still there. It was up to the man’s luck if he left with them, as a Spanish coward would do, or if he remained… and got the consequences.

Neil liked the man’s answer. He didn’t get intimidated quickly, he had answers prepared, and he was rather fluent in English, unlike Bene. Well, Connor was coming from the Spanish colonies too and he was still aboard, so... it made sense somehow. He might bring him to Kevin, if he really wanted a place aboard a privateer ship.

”I might know a ship willing to take you… but not quite a merchant one,” he said on a low tone, not to be heard by the French soldiers. ”There are two other men with Spanish roots aboard, however they have sworn allegiance to our captain and to the British flag our privateer ship is wearing. We fight against Spanish ships according to our war commission, so it is up to you if you want it or not.”

The Irishman’s tone was neutral.

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Adoracion looked over his shoulder as the Frenchman called his attention back, his back to the table of Englishmen as he rested a hand on his chair and gave the Frenchman his attention. The quickest way to piss someone off, after all, was to ignore them.

"Dupleix" Addie spoke, meeting the Frenchman's eyes as he named, honestly, a french merchant sloop. He turned now, back to his table mate, and began to lower himself into the seat. "And it is not."

His body language spoke that their conversation should end as Addie settled himself into the seat...and then shifted his chair over so that his tablemate was across from him and the Brit was on his left.

And then the tablemate spoke up. Addie took a deep breath, and tried to give the man a friendly look, although it was obvious some tension remained.

It sounded like a job offer... Neil had Addie's attention.

Adoracion nodded appropriately, frowning with interest as Neil explained that there were others with spanish strains aboard. A spaniard-friendly ship...A privateer gig.

"You are paid to plunder Spanish ships?" Adoracion smirked and cocked his head to the right as he reached, finally, for his liquor. "Everyone knows the Spanish are the best game. Your crew must be doing well for themselves?"

He noticed a touch of strange accent in the other man's voice, but made no comment on it.
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The soldier looked obviously disappointed when told that the ship – a French one - was not in port anymore. But he knew the name – an explorer’s – and it gave legitimacy to the merchant ship. No doubt, since the man was not so widely known, he must be associated somehow to the ship in order to have received its name… His initial thoughts were replaced by a little respect for the Spaniard.

”If you have served on a French ship lately, I take back my previous statement. You might find work here.”

The soldiers had drunk their last swig of ale and they were ready to leave, knowing that the conflict had been solved. The Spaniard was talking with the Englishman at his table, quietly.

Neil smiled at the man’s reaction. It seemed that, exactly like Connor, he had no allegiance feelings towards his country. (If he knew what the man was thinking, that he considered the ship Spanish-friendly, he would have laughed and corrected him, as it was not the case.) For Connor, it was easier to explain due to his mixed blood. For him… only God knew what he had in his history to hate the ones of the same blood. And as concerned Bene… that poor sod was too dim-witted to understand any notion of allegiance. Indeed, good to swab the deck and pump out the water.

”Not only. We are hunting for pirate ships too,” he answered. ”Sometimes the shares are better than other times, it depends on the ship load and how it sells after the adjudication in the Admiralty Council,” he shrugged. ”At least the ship is ours. We all have a share in it. We have a captain, but no ship owner.”

Actually, they were organized a little bit like the pirates’ democratic style … while keeping the legality, though.

John had waited for the soldiers to leave. He didn’t hear well what the Spaniard had to say to his table mate, but his mere accent aggravated him. Once he made sure there was no soldier around (and most likely not on that street anymore) he got up, not minding how he was brusquing the other’s chair and person.

”Now it seems I have enough room for teaching you that lesson, damn spy!” he said on a threatening tone, while his fist was flying through the air as quick as thought.

Mark, his mate, cheered up.

”Yes, Little John! Make the Don feel the British superiority!”

Neil swallowed hard. His Irish blood had something to say about the alleged British superiority… And the Navy men’s too. He stepped laterally and grabbed the Navy man’s wrist, attempting to deflect the blow, but he succeeded only to change its direction. Mark, quick to help his crewmate, launched a fist into Neil’s cheek bone, which sent him flying over the next table, where some Frenchmen were peacefully drinking their cider.

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The sound of this privateer ship sounded good, and the fact that his tablemate was pitching it to him even despite knowing that he was "spanish" was a momentously positive sign.

"Pirates, too?" Adoracion noted. He laughed, "I see you boys like to play it safe. But worry not, nary a pirate has afeared me. And I have met my share." More than this privateer would proabbly like to know, if he was going to hire Adoracion. A spaniard was one thing, after all. But a spaniard who had heaved-to beneath a jolly roger? No, Adoracion would keep that to himself.

The boys at the curious Frenchman's table had raised and gone at some point, but hadn't been gone very long before English words with a nasty attitude were racing through the air and Adoracion's tablemate was leaping up, lunging Addie's way - no, in the way of a fist that was aimed in Addie's direction. The Spaniard caught the fist out of the corner of his eye and ducked away, standing in nearly the same motion and facing the Brit's table, from where the attack had come.

Two men, the carrot-top from before, and one at his side were meaning to engage, but it didn't take a genius to know that the rest of their table joining in wasn't a very far-off possibility.

Neil was quickly dispatched for his helpful effort, and Adoracion was left alone, for the time, as the center of the Brits' attentions.

Little John was surely coming at Adoracion again, despite that he had lost what "surprise" he'd been trying to leverage, and Addie took him at face value, waiting for the guy to get in range. If a fist came for him, again, the Spaniard watched to duck, or swerve out of its way, not hesitating a moment before he threw a punch for the Brit's exposed abdomen... and if that hit, the Brit's jaw, as he came down...and then a good knock to the side of the head...

Quick succession, if he could pull it off...and if he did, the Spaniard was stepping to the side, trying to get out of the cramped place where he was pinned at his table.
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There was now a full-blown fight. The Frenchmen, disturbed from their conversation upon a mug of cider, pushed Neil back, making him land into the British sailors’ table. This, actually, helped the Spaniard with making a few of the Navy men unable to help their crewmate, and got the Irishman’s bones affected by the sudden impact with the table and a couple of bodies which were in the way.

The carpenter cursed in both Gaelic and English, attempting to stand up and ducking a blow from one of those he had been thrown onto.

”Bloody Irishman, you have to pay for the spilled drinks… and one round more for the inconvenience,” one of them pretended.

”Yes, just wait,” Neil answered, firmly convinced that it wouldn’t happen.

But they didn’t know how to read minds, so the reply had soothed, for the moment, the desire a few had to hit the intruder.

John and Mark were busy with the Spaniard. As John recoiled after having received a fist in his belly, he received another in his jaw before having the possibility to ripost. Then Mark, seeing his friend cornered, decided to see the Spaniard’s blood at any cost, and threw out his knife, attempting to get it in the man’s belly.

”A knife!” Neil warned the Spaniard, seeing what was happening. ”This one is too coward to fight by fists. Did the Navy teach you to fight unfairly?” he continued to the Navy man.

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