Vox Populi Forum
Aye, sit, lads! Lemme tell ye of the most beautiful woman I ever seen. No, ain't the dusky Mughal women… Shut it, Seamus! T’were Pamelá Maurice! Gascony-dark, curved like a perfect wave, lips like ripe apples, voice soft as velvet. Man who married ‘er is a lucky bastard, indeed…
Ye know I served with Moridin, Viceroy of Japan, as Master of Sails aboard “Petrel.” Captain Moridin sent me t’ help the famous Vert Valliant. I met Alain Gignot, Mathys Violette, Louis Brighteyes and Nemo McAlias of the Valliant on the voyage t’ Xanadu. I met their friends Birmin'am Brown and Rolfe d’Ambray, too. Lord Baileigh of the Valliant - heard of ‘im, hadn’t met ‘im before.
Gaël, a sculptor, were takin’ Kleef’s flagship, “Thor,” t’ drydock in Kleef. A new figurehead were t’ be gifted. Think this were s’posed t’ make France and Kleef friends again? Kleef’s got no love for Republicans or Reformists. Who does? Thor were Captained by Olaf Porse - yeah, that Porse. Yeah, I met ‘im, too. We were gonna sail from Marseille, ‘round the Straights of Fatima t’ Oslo. Birmin’am were in charge.
Marseille were blockaded. I were more worried ‘bout rumors of sharpshooters after us. Then Alain left. Seems ‘e were engaged t’ a Bonadventure or somthin’. Tommy Marchand came aboard in ‘is stead. Aye, that same Marchand called “The Gargoyle.” T’were this voyage ‘e earned the name.
We were attacked leavin’ harbor. The Valliant led the repulse. T’were a rough fight - Rolfe, and Louis were almost taken. Mathys got stabbed. Tommy lost ‘is ear. T’were Mathys who started callin’ ‘im “The Gargoyle.” Mathys were coughin’ up blood as ‘e joked.
We sent our wounded t’ shore in the jollyboats. Alain came back. Guess 'is blushin’ bride weren’t ready t’ see ‘is face yet?
Second try runnin’ blockade, and the crew weren’t happy with how things were goin’, so the grumblers went t’ talk t’ the Valliant. Alain were tryin’ t’ snow the men with tall tales of profit when that hot headed fop Lord Baileigh decided t’were better t’ shoot a man in the face t’ make a point. Crew didn’t like that at all! Nemo were still tryin’ t’ talk like a fool when fightin’ were happenin’, and got ‘imself beaten bloody. Some sailor named Tommy Guy tries blamin’ Louis for all our woes, so Louis fired a deck gun into the crew and Birmin’am threw in grenades!
I weren’t impressed. Crew backed down, but y’know they weren’t happy. The Valliant sent Nemo ashore. They picked up Mal de Merd-a-din. I knows ‘im, too, from Petryl. I does, Seamus, no lie! ‘E’s Moridin’s cousin!
Anyways, the crew still weren’t happy. They knew the Valliant weren’t willin’ t’ talk. Next time they made a move, it were right t’ the fightin’. The fop shot men up again, Louis fired the deck gun again - ain’t smart t’ shoot up yer own ship, mate! - and Birmin’am threw more grenades. this time ‘e blew ‘imself up! Alain and Mal somehow talked the crew down… for now.
We a’int even run the blockade, yet! I just imagine the patrols watchin’ our ship and laughin’ like hyaenas! I tells ye, I were tempted t' jump ship meself. Two mutinies in one day? Birmin’am sure weren’t the best Captain I ever served under, but I gives ‘im this…’e didn’t set t' shore like them others. ‘E just bounded up ‘is wounds and took the wheel. this sure weren’t the sort of thing t' ever happen under Captain Moridin! ‘E runs ‘is ship with an iron hand, I tells ye! I tell ye somethin’ else - t’were my idea t' break into the small arms locker and toss everything over! Figure with no guns or swords everyone would stop killin’ each other long enough t' get where we were goin’.
Worked, too! We limped out t' sea - figure the blockade let us past, cuz, trailin’ smoke as we were, they’d figure we’d just sink in open water - and sailed t' Baku. There half the crew got kicked off and replaced with Russian lads.
After that, t’were smooth sailin’ all the way t' Oslo.
That’s where we met ‘er. Pamelá Maurice. Gascony-dark, curved like a perfect wave, lips like ripe apples, voice soft as velvet. Man who married ‘er a lucky - what? I said that bit? I’ll say it again, for it’s true! Who married her? Aye, lads, we ain’t there, yet!
Anyways, the Lady wanted t' know if we brought the “Kingswood.” Hadn’t even occurred t’ Birmin’am t’ ask if there were somthin’ t’ bring! She fired the Valliant then and there. Then rehired ‘em then and there. Olaf Porse were t’ bring “Thor” t' Burma - somethin’-somethin’ 'bout hirin’ an army or somethin’. I dunno who for!
But, Pamelá, lovely Pamelá, Gascony-dark, curved like - yeah, yeah, I said it before! If ye lads ‘ad seen ‘her, ye’d understand! Lovely Pamelá, she hired us t' get the “Kingswood.” She were goin’ along, so I were goin’ along! I t’weren’t the only man a-smitten. I think we all were, except Alain and Lord Baileigh. Alain were engaged, anyways, and Lord Baileigh were married. Pamelá weren’t married.
Lord Baileigh said somethin’ 'bout how this mission t’weren’t for the “Glory of France,” and that ‘is “talents were better utilized drafting pamphlets for Lord Bonadventure and 'Is Excellence, Percy.” Alain said somethin’ 'bout needin’ t' support the Marshal of France. They were headin’ home. Somehow, Captain Porse let ‘em strip the cannon from Thor and take ‘em back t' France on Alain’s ship. Why Porse agreed? No idea. We sailed without guns. Least we didn’t need ‘em yet.
We set ashore in Bavaria, and hiked out t' the Weald. At the Edge Wald, we mustered up. With crew and whatnot we had enough men for three “companies” of Rabble. Birmin’am put Louis in charge of one, Tommy Guy in charge of another and a man named Stephan Bravoure in charge of the third. Captain Porse stayed with Thor. I were tempted t' stay behind, but the Kingswood were what lovely Pamelá wanted, so Kingswood I’d help find.
We were ambushed right away by fifteen sharpshooters - and I think they were French! We fought our way through. Stephan’s men failed with their coverin’ fire, but Rolphe shot three. Tommy had 'is boys use standard tactics, which were less effective on the run-and-gun fightin’ of the attackers. Brighteyes took 'is lads up a hill, while Merd-a-din split some of Tommy’s boys t' flank the other side. We caught ‘em in a crossfire, and Tommy got the leader. Seven of our lads fell. All the enemy died. I shot two or ‘em, meself.
We headed south and were attacked by the local plank cutters. Rabble we were, but led by soldiers - more than a match for woodsmen. Tommy’s men captured the cutter leader. Brighteyes threatened t' kill ‘im. The cutters backed down.
We backtracked t' the Edge Weald. Wouldn’t ye know it, another eight sharpshooters were there, and they t’weren’t happy 'bout what we’d done t' their friends! Birmin’am got cover fire goin’, but there were no real plan t' the battle. Somehow, Stephan closed with the enemy leader and cut him down. We lost three more of our boys. One of the lads were impressed with Steven and pledged t' serve him directly. Think ‘is name were Tony-somethin’. We were buryin’ our dead and lootin’ our foes when we discovered the source of Kingswood were right behind the sharpshooter line. We returned t' the ship with our prize - a block of Kingswood. The real prize were the smile on the face of lovely Pamelá.
Lovely Pamelá - did I tell ye her voice were… I did? Aye, no need t' be impatient!
Lovely Pamelá talked with Porse and we set out for Burma. Lucky the Spice Lanes were free of Pyrates, for we still had no cannon. Gaël were carvin’ away on what were an Eagle with a face. Merd-a-din said it looked familiar.
The Spice Lanes were peaceful, as I said, and the crew were entertainin’ themselves with drink and dice. Birmin’am and Rolfe put a stop t' the drinkin’. Except for Louie. The Russian sailors t’weren’t happy ‘bout havin’ no rum - especially when Louie Brighteyes were still obviously drunken.
Once again, the crew went into mutiny. Once again, I mulled on how Captain Moridin wouldn’t have had these problems. Least this time that hotheaded Lord Baileigh t’weren’t 'round t' start shootin’. Birmin’am and Tommy Guy used drum and trumpet t' disorient the mutineers. Brighteyes organized the loyal crew into teams t' restrain the Russians. They tired grabbin’ Merd-a-din as a bargaining tool! I told the Russians who Merd-a-din were, and who 'is cousin were. Captain Moridin survived on ‘is own for years in Japan, and killed two Emperors by ‘is own hand. The Russians were smart enough t' ain't risk makin’ an enemy of Moridin by threatenin’ ‘is family. The mutineers gave up.
We sailed on and ended up on the wrong coast of Burma. Fleets of Junks sailed up and down the coast. Lucky they were mere merchantmen! If ye’ve never seen a junk before - shut up, Seamus, I know ye never have - picture the biggest five-deck Galleon ye ever saw. That’s like a jolly-boat compared t' a junk! I swear by the Bible, my Mum and by the perfect smile of Pamelá, lovely Pamelá, with her skin as clear as fresh-drawn cream, her eyes, green like… What? Go on, if ye only saw her for yerself….
Ah, ‘er voice were low as she told us our real plans. Burma, Mandar and France were once friendly. Now less so, and Burma had stopped trade. were there a new king? We didn’t know. The Archbishop sent t' convert these unbelievers were missin’. ‘E were s’posed t' be near the city of Sung. Pamelá proved t' be as brave as she were beautiful, fro she were gonna search for ‘Is Excellency. If she were goin’, I were goin’. T’were only honor t' be gained by servin’ t' protect a woman like ‘er! The only greater honor would be t' marry ‘er! Birmin’am decided we’d start the search at the Bête Verne…
Aye, but I see our bottles have run dry, friends. Who’s buyin’ the next round? Pierre? Roldopho? Seamus? I’ll need t' re-wet me whistle to continue the tale. Surely ye wish to know if we found the Archbishop, and who woo’d the woman? Watch yer mouth, Seamus, and watch who yer callin’ a liar. All I tell is as true as I remember it, or they don’t call me “Salty Pete!”
Perrin le Salé
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