Tides In, Waves Out (Durandal and Queen Elsa)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Durandal, Feb 6, 2014.

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  1. No blood stained his Blade requiring a thorough cleaning, and no Powder need vacate his flask to replenish spent shots. Between the two of those, the minor bruises Juan suffered to his ribs and right arm seemed trivial compared to the Outcome of a tavern full of occupants willing to leave him to his Business without interruption. Though one might consider the odd Looks from the other patrons of this out of the way establishment a detriment to the Plans he had for those who resided within.

    Here on the island of Espiritu Santo, outsiders were regarded with a fierce sort of skepticism that made up for the complete lack of hesitance on the part of the island's original occupants when they accepted the first disease-bearing Spanish visitors over a century and a half before. The locals called the place the San Andreas islands (or more commonly just the Andros Islands), but this particular point of interest was Morgan's bluff, named for the famous but dead privateer Henry Morgan.

    Juan mused on that fact as he carried his mug of the local drink of choice back to the lone empty table he'd spotted. He stepped over a sprawled and squirming rapscallion stretched out on the floor, careful not to spill his cup of lime juice, sugar water, and rum as he made it to the seat. In stark contrast with the cloth-clad troublemakers who'd sought to sour his night, Juan wore a reinforced leather jacket, with strips of material stiffening the shoulders and upper arms, and a simply ridiculous number of clasps and buttons adorning the dark black leather, most attached to nothing at all and probably never would, though a few kept the garment clothed over his toned muscular body.

    Already women were coming along to wake the bested scoundrels with splashes of water or slaps to the face, the groggy bullies roused with groans of unhappiness as they faced their failure to fend off the suspect newcomer. At least none of them sported any serious lasting injuries, and with Time the rowdy atmosphere of the pub returned, the slurred drinking songs of the sauced trio at the bar picked back up as if they'd never paused; the heated debates and lively conversation of men far too drunk to actually carry on an intelligent discussion picked up again. And corset-clad barmaids shuffled their way from table to table with plenty a dip to show cleavage in the hopes of eliciting a generous Tip from the clouded brains of their clientele. Juan observed it all with the satisfied smile of a man who belonged, well Assured in his purpose and able to wave away the latest approaching wench so as not to busy himself with idle chitchat.

    For he had a Mission here, a goal in mind. The trip from Spain had been long and harrowing, and a harsh Storm had seen to it that several of the men he's set out with did not make it to their Destination. Two gunners down, valiant men seeing to it that their carronade stayed put on deck and did not buck forth to slide into the deep- but for that they'd paid with their lives. And what's more his Second Mate had succumbed to an Illness on the way, and he faced promoting an undeserving member of the crew to such a position lest he find someone right for the spot in town. To that End, he'd had the word spread by his Contacts here in Morgan's Bluff that any man seeking fortune on the seas come here to the Wetted Tongue pub, to find him at his table and make their case for a spot on his ship, should they desire a share in the grand Prize he sought.

    The night was still young, and combined with the feat of hand to hand combat he'd demonstrated against admittedly unprepared drunkards at the bar, word would spread faster than wildfire on a parched plain. All Juan had to do was wait, he knew, and at the very least a few down and out sailors would stagger forth to claim his Offer.
     
  2. There was a good and evil, a right and a wrong, the world was white and black, and there were Assassins and Templars. There was a never ending war and a never ending struggle between the two, peace would never be achievable with the other still existing, revolting against the other’s way. One cannot live while the other strives to their goal with victory.


    Rosario strongly believed in this struggle, it was one of the reasons why she hadn’t made Master Assassin yet within the Order though the other Masters wouldn’t tell her that. She had to learn on her own, gain knowledge within the world and return to them when her naivity no longer existed. Her hand grasped her river of curls and pulled them to the back of her head into a ponytail, she wrapped a bandana around her head to hide her luscious locks, and then pulled on her hat comfortably and rose from the bed, picking up her discarded weaponry. The man in the bed stirred slightly as she shoved her pistol in her sash in the front and reattached her sword to the hilt and then slipped on her bracers. Rasario made certain her binding to her chest was pulled on tightly, making her look flatter and the appearance of a man, more than a girl.


    “Not even a good morning dance,” the male voice asked in a thick Caribbean accent.


    Chuckling as she flexed her wrist to test both of her bracers, she watched as the weapon shot out of her wrist – a truly deadly weapon, “it is not morning, my friend, but night out.”


    “And that is the time when you shall prowl the night? It’s not safe for a woman, m’lady,” he whispered, he had gotten up from the bed and now pressed himself against her, attempting to tempt her back to the bed.


    Grabbing him, she shoved him with surprising strength back onto the bed, flexing her wrist and shoving her hidden blade into the mattress. The man only grinned as he said, “I suppose you can handle yourself.”


    She gave him a chaste kiss, “and you are a sadist.” And with that she gave him a small cut to appease him and then removed herself from on top of him to head downstairs of the brothel.


    The Mistress who owned the brothel gave a smile and asked, “Did you enjoy yourself?”


    “That I did,” Rosario said, giving an extra couple of coins as a tip, “you were right.” And with that, Rosario left, taking the streets of Morgan’s Bluff with ease, she inhaled deeply at the wonderful salty sea air. She could actually imagine herself on a ship rather than deserted in a place like this, forced to fulfill contracts until she could find a means off the island or someone from the Brotherhood finally found her.


    The Assassins had attempted to take a Templar Fort, not too far from here. They had been forced to abandon ship, and then Rosario had been lost in the tides quickly enough. She had swam close to Templar ships, clung to their sides and basically stowed away on their ship right underneath their noses. She wasn't so certain how long she had done this, a couple of times she had snuck on board to devour food and water as to not die from starvation and rest her arms from clinging to the ship. But she didn't think she'd make much longer traveling the way that she was. Finally a small ship, not affiliated with either side much to Rosario’s regret and relief, and taken her aboard when she had been floating on some drift after a ship was nearing Templar territory, thinking her to be a man and a useful sailor. But she revealed herself to be a woman, and he hurriedly dumped her on the first island he came across: Andros Islands.


    She whistled a friendly tune as she walked down the street, we're rascals, scoundrels, villains, and knaves - drink up me hearties yo ho. Rosario sang in her head as she whistled along, her gaze landing on a tavern. The best people to talk to were the bartenders, they could tell you anything about anyone; like a way off this blasted island. She entered the pub, cheers and shouts hit her ears and men attempting to sing along to some rhythm, and failing miserably. Rosario eased through the crowd, practically like a ghost, only a couple of times did she have to give a gentle push to other patrons, but they didn't seem at all interested in her at all as she made it to the bar and tossed down a couple of coins and two gold pieces.

    The bartender raised an eyebrow at the gold pieces but he knew exactly who she was right away, not many would ask for rumors from a simple bartender, "What will ya have?"

    "Whatever ya have," Rosario responded, and the bartender immediately gave her a mug, rum hit her senses immediately and a hint of lime, "Nothing is true."

    "Everything is permitted," the bartender responded in kind, the tension leaving him as Rosario indicated her allegiance, "What else will ye be havin?"

    Rosario said in a low voice as she sloshed her drink around a bit in the mug, "A way off this Isle if ya know anyone."

    "I know of a few, most that wouldn't enjoy your type of company," the bartender warned, cleaning a mug before nodding somewhere in the back of the pub though, "there is one though, looking for sailors after losing a couple in a rather nasty brawl. But he also speaks nonesense of some sort of ancient artifact, might not want to get mixed up with a loon like him."

    Rosario smiled, "that's exactly the type of loon that I want." She assured, thanking him and then rising from the bar and heading in the direction that the bartender had indicated. The crowd was getting a bit roughier though, she had to duck a throwing knife and she hoped that they could get out of this pub as quickly as possible. She had to squeeze between two large men who gave her a look, but didn't pay her much mind as she finally arrived to a lone man, seated alone at a table.

    "Mind if I sit here, friend," she asked, making certain to speak in slightly lower octave so she didn't sound feminine.
     
  3. In the stretch of unoccupied time between claiming his seat in solitude and being joined by any job seekers, Juan found himself a moment to reflect. The short-lived adrenaline rush from the tussle left without even the shakes to mark its passing, though the low did cause the man's lips to purse in dissatisfaction with the review of his actions. It had happened very fast; a sharp comment that a calm retort failed to deflect, an aggressive step that raised hands did not deter, and a thrown punch which had signaled to Juan the end of peaceful talk and the need for direct Action. In replaying the progression of things, at no part did his own behavior seem to be an Initiation of Force, and in that he took solace- his principles remained untarnished.

    But the harsh reality of the Caribbean spoke to a deeper issue than an isolated bar fight and it caused his dark brow to furrow above thoughtful amber eyes shifted distant with introspection. The people here lived by different rules than those back in Europe, where they at least had the courtesy to pretend civility while plotting and scheming. The different political atmosphere here drew a certain type of man to these distant waters, men who valued the freedom to act on their inner impulses, a sort of honesty with their violent natures that made them both easy to predict and difficult to navigate. As he sipped his grog, Juan realized that it was here that his morals would be put to the test, and he hoped he possessed the fortitude to stand by his convictions and the tenants of the Templar Order.

    Motion caught Juan's eye and drew him back to the present moment where a young boy with bronzed skin tentatively asked if he was seeking crew members and then proceeded to sit and tell him about fishing exploits and his wish to escape this island and his overbearing father. And so began a meager series of interviews, some no more than a stern refusal to a slurring drunkard, some more in depth with clearly experienced sailors desiring to know the articles of his crew, the code that laid out the duties, rewards and regulations that everyone who stepped aboard must live by. When each interview came to the Purpose of his voyage, he spun for them his carefully prepared back story and that turned a few away with looks of boredom or disgust. Such was disappointing, but it did help repel those who sought only an opportunity for combat and murder, destruction and theft.

    The night waned- though the revelry in the tavern seemed bolstered because of it- and Juan felt he could nearly wrap up his Business there tonight. With a tentative roster of potential new crewmembers set to appear at the dock where his brigantine sat moored in the shallow waters and a mood-lifting duo of alcoholic drinks downed, the young captain leaned back in his seat with a reserved smile under his trimmed stubble-length mustache. Perhaps his initial estimation had been overly pessimistic. Men out here weren't so unreasonable, if one ignored the drunken debauchery of the bar patrons, chucking daggers at a crudely rendered target on a wall in a game which may or may not have assigned bonus points for hitting the hands or fingers of opposing players. Juan just chuckled and shook his head lightly. Mutually agreed-upon violence was fine by him.

    Moments before he decided to pay off his tab and return to his ship, another person joined him at the table, and his chair creaked as he straightened in it. "Not at all, though this seat comes with a Price," he replied smoothly in a cultured tone revealing a sophisticated education background. He spoke perfect English, but his words paid homage to his Spanish upbringing: the 'i' in 'this' was a long one and the 'r' in 'price' had a sharp single tap of his tongue as he said it. "An Ear to hear and an open Mind, lest my careful prepared offer of work be in vain!" He seemed in excellent cheer for a man searching what amounted to the bottom of the barrel for help, though the way he motioned to the barmaid keeping an eye on his table might suggest a reason for his demeanor as she set about fetching him a third Drink.
     
  4. At the mention of a price, Rosario hesitated to sit, her blue orbs fixating on him and her brows furrowing slightly. Her mind immediately jumped to the fact that he knew, but how exactly could he know? Her pants were baggy around her pelvis to hide her lack of manhood, and her chest bound tightly down so that she simply looked as though she worked out appropriately. And then he spoke again and there was a moment of silence as he called to the barmaid, then her mouth cracked into a grin as she finally took a seat, angling it so she kick up her muddy boots onto the edge of the table.

    "You're not from around here, are ya," she said, her gaze looking him up and down before she went on, "I was told I could find a Sea Cap here, one who'd be willing to plunder for gold against his enemies, that would go to the ends of the Earth searching for a treasure beyond mosts wildest wet dreams." Rosario spoke before she swished the contents that were the pathetic excuse of her drink and then tossed back quite a bit, she raised an eyebrow to him as though to explain to her if she was right or wrong.
     
  5. There was much to be told about a man by the way he conducted himself. The hyper aware straight posture of a nervous man sitting at the edge of his seat, the attempted casual glances at entrance and exit points of a man being followed, they all told a story by their mannerisms and positioning. And the tale Juan read from this young lad who claimed the seat opposite him was that of a free spirit completely assured with his own abilities. Given his smooth skin and soft features, it seemed the man had not encountered enough hardship to properly thrash the wheat from the chaff, and Juan had as much need for an unproven crewman on his ship as he did an untested blade in his scabbard.

    But he found himself at that special intersection of desperation and amusement, needing at least enough crew to keep his undermanned ship afloat, and then some for any land-bound dangers they were sure to encounter in the mission ahead. And what's more, the flippant attitude of this youth actually made him chuckle- perhaps in part due to the rum- and Juan found himself flashing a winning smile to the blue-eyed lad. "You are correct, I hail from España, a coastal town in Andalucía." The way he said 'hail,' Rosario might be forgiven for thinking there was a 'ch' at the start of the word. "And I fear my Reputation precedes a much more... fierce man than I." This was the answer he always gave, to those searching for a cutthroat of a captain, the next Blackbeard to which the next generation of brutes and bandits could attach themselves to get their fill of murder and slate their lust for the blood of other men.

    "I do seek a Treasure- one of immense 'istorical value. My Sponsors are men with deep Pockets and great Appetites for items of scholarly interest, but make no mistake; this journey will not be a safe or peaceful one. I have the necessary secured letters of safe passage but I fear- no- I trust many an opportunist pirate will block our path and seek our Provisions." At this point he nodded solemnly, with a second nod and a smile to the waitress as she dropped off a pair of full cups, the quality of the drink within somehow decreasing as the night wore on- not that they were expected to notice. Juan leaned in and continued. "If it is Riches you seek, these you shall have in spades. If it is a good Fight, I am confident this will come in time. But I have no interest for brigands and their dreams of fast Plunder without foresight, violence without Vision..." With his little spiel over, Juan sat back again and sipped his new drink, wincing a little at the bite of the alcohol, though his observing gaze never left Rosario. "How did I do? Careful prepared as I said, yes?" A hint of a grin worked its way to his lips as he set his mug down and awaited the response.
     
    #5 Durandal, Feb 8, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2014
  6. She gave a soft "ah" as he admitted he wasn't from here, most men wouldn't dare admit that in a pub full of locals and more than likely pirates given the state of the area. Rosario sipped her drink patiently as she listened, she gave a quirk of her eyebrow as he explained he wasn't the man she had just spoke of, but her smirk said that she didn't believe him. And she didn't. She listened to his spiel, each word thought of and articulated carefully, his point given across with ease. He should have been some sort of scholar, not a sea man, and she sort of wanted to bring up the topic of his education and if it was a highly one, why was he sailing the sea instead of sitting in a fancy house somewhere?

    Rosario grinned at his question, "you did as well as I thought you would, España." She tossed back the rest of her drink before explaining, "I got dumped here some weeks ago, been tryin' to get off this God forsaken island for months. The company here isn't terrible though, it's been paradise," Rosario said, flashing her pearly white teeth, contrasting against her dark skin. When the bar wench walked away, Rosario played her part and eyed her up and down before returning her attention to the man across from her. She set her feet down and leaned forward against the table, "I don't got that much experience over the sea, mate, I'll be honest. But I have me knives, ma' sword, and gun. Give me adventure and I'll fight for ya until you've taken ya'r last breath." Rosario said, she was lying through her teeth. She was a pirate, so it was branded on her wrist which she had wrapped in a handkerchief, but he didn't need to know that. At least not until Rosario saw an opportunity at hand that might conflict with him.

    Right now ya just gotta sell yourself to him, make him want you without realizing how much ya need him, she seemed to console in her own head as she kept her gaze steady upon him. Suddenly growing quite serious compared to the joking, lazy attitude she had earlier - which might be a giveaway of how badly she wanted off this island.
     
  7. Juan might have been more hesitant with his admittance of foreign origin had he not just left four of the locals in question knocked out on the rough wooden floor but an hour earlier. He hadn't needed to announce his birthplace for them to pick up on accent and lack of awareness of their customs and dialect, and in such a merciless place as this, that had been enough for a fight to ensue.

    Although verbally appreciated, it was apparent Rosario's heart was hardened to his honest words. He noted the disbelieving smile on peculiarly full lips- an observation which elicited a fleeting dismissive shake of Juan's head and a thought-clearing blink followed by frown in the direction of his third mug of grog. The cup clunked and contents swished as he set it back down on the table with resolve to step back his intake. "Now, English may not be my mother tongue so explain to me this: You have been here for weeks..." The way he said 'have' gave it a soft 'f' sound. "But you seek escape for months... How is this so?" Even in his buzzed state of mind, the inconsistencies in her story jumped out to his astute attentions.

    Ironically enough, between the man and the woman sitting at the table, only the latter turned to inspect the barmaid flaunted by revealing outfit. Juan's attention remained squarely leveled on the young but eager 'lad' seated across him. Even without that earlier slip up, this applicant's words gave him pause. Very few get 'dumped' at a port city like this one without having experience on the sea. So either she was being untruthful about her skills- an odd choice when trying to secure a spot on the crew of his ship... or she was honestly unused to life at sea, meaning she would be useless working the rigging or sails or manning a cannon. "Have you no trade to speak of? Carpentry? Fishing? Can you cook? Mend clothes? Work a mop?" he prompted, obviously trying to elicit something out of the youth that he could put to use. "I have a ship full of men who can swing a sword or fire a flintlock..."
     
  8. "I have had no means of leaving da Island for weeks, but I have wanted escape for months. To sail the sea and be a part of Her freedom," Rosario said before giving a light shrug, "or you could say that it was a simple slip of the tongue. I could have been here weeks, could have been here months, you know how time goes." She gave a shrug before sitting back in her seat once more. She had him on her hook, that much was obvious, or he was really good at lying and simply was playing along with her just to let her down easily.

    I can assure you, that you'd have no man deadlier than I on your ship. Rosario thought before twisting her face a bit in thought, deciding what she could do - she didn't want to limit herself to woman's work. She had her pride to think about, she didn't want to mend clothing or be cooking while everyone else got to enjoy all the fun. She settled before speaking, "I can mend clothing, growing up without a mother taught me a couple of things. But I can also read maps, read and write, and I have worked in the crow's nest before." She admitted, and then added with a sly grin, "so, cap'n, by ya'r inquisition...could you saw we have an accord?" She asked, rapping her dirty nails against the table before sipping at her drink and looking to him with anticipation.
     
  9. An analytical mind did not merely abandon analysis even after a healthy serving of alcohol. Juan considered the unconvincing explanations he had been given with an accepting nod of his head, even if he wasn't entirely persuaded. Still, pursuing the issue further would hardly prove worthwhile and so he pushed his hesitations aside in favor of acknowledging the far more useful answers given regarding this youth's skill sets. "Now this is more like it," he indicated more enthusiastically, gesturing with his arms spread to show his approval. "With skills such as these, you could be of good use, in truth."

    It occurred to him distantly how low his standard were compared to the Spanish Navy but his Business was not official enough to warrant a conspicuous military detachment. Aside from this eager young lad, only two or three of the other applicants had shown any promise at all, and their inclusion on his vessel when he departed the following depended largely on whether or not they showed up in the morning for the final inspection and induction into the crew. "I will say this: tomorrow morning at first light, come to the docks. There you will find my ship, La Isabella, large for a brigantine, 200 tons burden." He gave Rosario a measuring glance and then shrugged lightly. "If you are in question, just look for me. I... wish to see your skills with your sword, and gun." He gestured a hand lazily in her direction, sweeping down the new recruit's body to indicate her weapons, concealed or otherwise.

    "We will discuss the matters of pay and bounty then, though I assure you my Terms are quite agreeable. If you help me find the Prize I seek, you will not find yourself wanting." And what's more, he left out what seemed the most important part to her- escape from the island. To seal the deal, he picked his mug back up and held it out. "A toast, to ourselves..." he began, with an impish smile as he left the phrase unfinished, checking to see if she knew the rest of the naval custom.
     
  10. Rosario grinned, happy to have appeared to finally gained some sort of foothold with the Captain. Her shoulders relaxing the tiniest bit, only a careful gaze could pick up on such. His brown eyes were a bit clouded from the alcohol and she pondered in the back of her head if he was only taking her in because of the influence of alcohol. She pushed that thought out of her mind though, his speech wasn't in the slightest bit slurred and his unshaven face wasn't even flushed with the tell tale signs of being drunk. She smirked instead as he told her where to be and when to report tomorrow and nodded in simple understanding, offering no verbal confirmation as he went on with ease.

    He gestured to her weaponry, almost everything was open carry except for her hidden blade, which simply looked like bracers, and a knife inside of her boot. "Aye, ya shall be more than happy to know I ain't blowing air," Rosario assured calmly as she grabbed her drink the same time he did and listened to him toast, he didn't finish it and she was glad her hood was up to quirk an eyebrow in question. Was this normal? Or did he simply not trust her? She decided not to think too much into it as she slapped her drink against his and finished, "'cause no one else is likely to bother." She said and drank, finishing the last half of her drink by tilting her head back and then dropping some coins into her own mug for the bar maid and then rising from her seat.

    "Cap'n, a pleasure. I shall see ya in the morn'," Rosario spoke in that same forced lower octave as she kicked in her chair as to not be in the way, "I am certain ya can understand that I will be seeking another's pleasure for the night, as this might be the last night on land for awhile." And with that, she slapped his shoulder as though they were old pals instead of just meeting and then ducked to avoid a bottle being tossed across the room and exited the pub.

    Calmly Rosario walked down the street, in case the Captain decided to follow her, though she would probably be able to detect such with her own training within the Order. She entered a brothel, a different one as she wasn't interested in staying in the same brothel twice and went up to a woman who immediately looked her up and down, believing her to be a man. "Nothing is true," Rosario said abruptly in her normal feminine, dropping a coin purse into the woman's hand who's gaze flickered with understanding immediately.

    "Everything is permitted," she said, "what might I help you with, darling?"

    "I'd like a bath for starters, then send me the company of a male...or a woman...or both," Rosario said with a smirk and a shrug as the woman led her to a couch where girls immediately flocked Rosario, believing her to be a man as well, though none would be appalled if they knew her real gender.

    The woman looked inside the coin purse, being certain she wasn't being robbed before she said, "very well. Few minutes to draw up the bath, and I shall send your company shortly after."

    ~~~
    Rosario woke early, paying both her whores for the wonderful bout of love making and then dressed quickly and fluidly. As she pulled back her hair and pulled on her bandana she thought of possibly cutting it shorter quickly. The last thing she needed was for a bunch of sex deprived men to learn that there was a single woman on the ship. She had never run into trouble before though as she pulled up her hood, as though that would finalize her decision to keeping her long hair simply pulled back as she exited the brothel. The morning air was cold and Rosario couldn't stop herself from stifling a yawn, it had been a long time since she was up this early.

    Finding the ship was easy enough, it was one of the largest in the port and Rosario whistled softly at the sheer size of the ship, she knocked on the wood as though inspecting the ship, in all honesty she couldn't tell if it was a good ship or not. She simply knew it was a big ship. Seeing men loading up the ship, Rosario thought she might help. Just in time too as she saw one man struggling to carry two crates at once, she steadied him first and then grabbed the top crate, grunting a bit at the weight as she followed him up the ramp and dumped the crate where he put his.

    "Thanks lad," he said grinning, "new?"

    "Yes," Rosario stated simply, "know where I'm supposed to be?"

    "Right over there, Cap'n's waitin' on the lot of ya," he said nodding towards the bow of the ship. Rosario thanked him in her lower octave and then moved calmly towards him, it appeared she was the first one - but she didn't mind, she was taught as a recruit to always be early rather than on time.
     
  11. As a general rule, Juan never trusted anyone. It came with immersion in the Templar order, a deeper understanding of the flaws of humanity. Rather than let that be a depressing outlook, Juan took it as somewhat reassuring- the awareness that everyone lies, that humans are self-centered, greedy animals willing to betray and harm one another for personal gain. It meant people tended to be fairly predictable, even if it was to do the wrong thing in the choice between the Greater Good and personal gain. So when it came to this young 'lad' seated in front of him, no, he didn't trust the spoken words but he did rely on the love of money to at least cause the boy to work toward his own goals.

    He finished the contents of his cup after she finished his toast, hiding his smirk of amusement about her familiarity with a naval custom behind the mug he drained in a couple of gulps. "Ah yes, conclude any business you might have here. For tomorrow we depart, the weather willing!" he encouraged with a chuckle, digging out his own coinage for a generous tip. He had no doubt a number of his crew were currently enjoying such company while here, blowing their pay on a lady of the night. Whatever appeased their hungers.

    By this point the atmosphere in the tavern was reaching raucous levels and Juan doubted any other acceptable candidate would step forward tonight. He gave one final eye to the other patrons, and the one who met his gaze did so with either crippling dizziness or potential malice as liquid courage overcame the already distant memory of the last expression of aggression. Juan chuckled casually while shaking his head, and stood to stretch, pushing his chair neatly in under the table and passing around to the other side to adjust the seat Rosario had left askew before heading for the exit. With luck he wouldn't be back here again, but it never hurt to leave a good impression, so he flipped an additional 8 real coin to the bartender and gave him a grateful nod while departing.

    There were other chores to attend to, namely following up to ensure that his quartermaster had secured the supplies they would need for the rest of the trip. Food and especially fruits, rifles and pistols and the appropriate ammunition for such, and if possible some extra sailcloth to replace the segments used for repairs. Even though the time was already late, there was much to do. It would be another hour and a half before he finally settled down to rest for the night, opting for his captain's quarters rather than the stationary sleep of a bed ashore.



    Morning came and the reflecting sunlight shining through the foggy windows in his quarters roused Juan from his sleep. He already had plans on his mind, though whether they had followed him from dreams of logistics and course plotting or were simply an extension of his thoughts before falling asleep, he couldn't say. There were so many moving parts, and before waking fully the closest he could get to wrapping his head around all of them was to focus on the first thing of the day. Wearing only his loose-fitting trousers, Juan slipped to the ground to get into pushup position and began a series of slow, controlled dips.

    The first thing would be to meet the crew. He'd asked the three likeliest candidates to show up early but there was no telling when they'd actually get there. He'd have his gunners put the nearly deaf man to the test, have him clean a cannon, reload it, fire a test shot- a blank, of course. The condition of the man's hearing seemed to suggest a familiarity with the roar of the guns on a ship or fort, but only a real test would tell. As for the young bravado he'd met last night? He would put that one to the examination himself.

    After forty agonizingly slow pushups, he switched to crunches, aching arms behind his head as he worked his toned abs. There would be barely any time for breakfast so he'd grab something to eat on the go. Perhaps something with meat if he was lucky! They'd managed to secure several crates of rations, the dreaded hard tack of course but also some cheese and a box of fresh oranges. Somehow his quartermaster had even located a set of new pots and pans to replace the rusting, pitted cooking utensils his poor chef had bee using to feed the crew.

    With his workout completed- or cut short really- Juan donned his shirt and leather jacket and armed himself. A punch dagger strapped to his ankle, a sailor's knife at his hip, a holdout flintlock in his inner jacket pocket and a more proper long-barreled pistol on his side. The elegant cutlass and its scuffed scabbard went on last, clipped to his belt at a perfect drawing position and then it was out the door, grabbing his hat from its rack as he went.

    The brim did little to protect his eyes from the low angle of the dawn's sunlight, but he still smiled as he stepped out onto the deck and headed for the mess. Just a quick stop to speak with his gunners and it was up to the bow of La Isabella, where he stood at the forecastle leaning against the wooden railing, his mind wandering and eyes idly watching the docks. He considered pulling his sword and warming up but opted instead to stretch his arms, his triceps tight from his workout. There wasn't enough time anyway because he heard a voice from near the main mast that made him look, spotting the boy from the night before and offering a smile and a wave over. "Good morning!" he called out, pleased that Rosario had come in a timely manner. "I trust your night provided a pleasant memory to cherish on the journey ahead?"

    He was only being polite, but perhaps a little mischievous in his question. The animal instincts of the men under his watch did amuse him somewhat. "I hope you did not tire yourself out instead of get a good rest. I would very much appreciate a good duel to get the blood flowing!" A pair of practice swords laid on the deck already, older weapons with their blades dulled so as to prevent a cut that might get infected. Out at sea the presence of medicine was scarce and none of it could be spared to treat a wound suffered in practice.
     
  12. "Aye, the company here never disappoints, Cap'n," she assured in that low octave as she finished closing the distance between the two. She was already ready for the sparring match as well, she hadn't forgotten it and Rosario was always the type that wanted to prove herself worthy. Even within the Order she had to prove her skills as a woman, but she had done so and received a decent rank and Rosario was determined to show the Captain that she wasn't all talk. She knew as he stated that he hoped she hadn't tired him out, most men would defend their manhood appropriately, and so she said in a practiced even tone, "One rump could hardly tire me, Cap. But a workout would be nice," she stated, her hand going to the fancy grips of her own swords instinctively before her gaze landed on the practice swords.

    She took both of her own, giving them a practice swing a bit and getting the feeling for them. Rosario made certain that because she was using two blades that one didn't move without the other doing a counter movement to give the appearance of a beautiful, flowing form. One went left, the other went right; both thrusting forward to an invisible enemy before swirling in a defensive gesture before she finally finished the fluid movements and turned to the Captain, "I figured it'd be best if I got used to 'em first, pardon the wait. Shall we then?" Rosario asked casually as she rested her actual blades where she had removed the practice blades, she didn't want her actual blades to get in her way. She took a couple of paces away from the Captain and crossed her own blades in a ready stance for her opponent.

    Her cowl hid her eyes which were narrowed and immediately taking in the man's body, she would have to use her speed against him, obviously. But she planned on making quick jabs at him, finding a weakness in his defense and offense and then abusing that opening until she could get him to yield. Of course she'd have to be careful though, the last thing she needed was to stay focused on trying to find a weakness in the Captain and allow the Captain to land a killing blow. Though her eyes and brow were one of complete concentration, her lips which was not shrouded in the darkness of her hood was laid in a soft smirk, one to keep the atmosphere relaxed as though this one match didn't weigh in on everything that she had spoke about at the bar. If he found her ability unfitting of what she boast about last night, he could very well call her a liar and kick her off the ship altogether. This match could be the decision of whether or not she stayed or went.
     
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