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"Privation of a Forgotten Man” pt.2 (Cutlass Play 6-5-2019)


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Aye, lads, now that there is truly a fine Alexandrian rum! Pierre, Rodolpho, I thank ye! Sit, sit, grab your purses, place yer bets an' let’s get t' playin’ Taro. Aye, Seamus, I shuffled. Seven times!

Now, where was I? Right!

So we was in Burma, searchin’ fer th' Ambassador t’ th’ Burmese, at th’ behest o’ Pamelá Maurice, th’ lovely, Gascony-dark - aye, Seamus, if ye’d have seen ‘er, ye’d be singin’ ‘er praises ‘longside me! Man who married ‘er is a… Aye, I’m runnin’ ahead o' meself, again!

Anyways, Birmin’am Brown was s’posed t' be our leader, but Olaf Porse was stayin’ behind an' Birmin’am dint trust ‘im at all, so ‘e stayed back, too. ‘E deputized Fortuno Bonadventure, th’ younger brother o’ th' great an’ noble Jasc Bonadventure t' take charge o' our group. Th' lovely Pamelá - an’ she could make a pair o’ breeches look as fine on ‘er hips as th’ finest ballgown - was goin’, so I was goin’. Louis Brighteyes, Alain Gignot, an' Mal-de-Mer-a-din o' th' Vert Valliant went. Tommy Guy went, too, 'long with another hundred-fifty-odd soldiers, includin’ Manfridus Montague, ‘Ector Szelbano, an' me drinkin’ buddy, Joey la Marin. We was at th' Bête Verne on th’ east side o’ th’ continent, searchin’ fer th’ city o’ Sung.

Aye, an’ th' climate o’ that land was harsh, lads! Desert, desert, as far as th’ eye could see. Desert from coast t' coast, near as I could tell! Men was droppin’ left an’ right, wherever we went! Th’ weather was constantly foul. Winds like th' fiercest storms at sea would kick up an' confuse us. Even our compasses couldn’t handle it! We was constantly gettin’ lost. Men was dyin’ o' sunstroke early on - an’ that was before we found ourselves in th' Desert Blanc!

Even in th’ Desert Blanc, Merd-a-din t’was th’ one who insisted we take th' time t' bury our dead. Men was dyin’ diggin’ th' graves o' those already dead! Manfridus led us from th' Desert Blanc into more desert. Not an improvement, I tells ye! Men died in desert floods. Men died from scorpion stings. Men died o' snakebite. Men died shootin’ each other tryin’ t' shoot th' damn snakes! So many men died from th' snakes we started callin’ Fortuno, “Th’ Snakefinder.” Louis, 'e was braver than most, fer 'e captured an' tamed ‘is very own snake, an' pulled out it’s fangs!

I was bitten by a snake, meself. I was one o’ th’ lucky ones. I didn’t die - yer not funny, Seamus - but I got real sick. If it wasn’t fer Joey helpin’ me walk, I don’t think I’d have made it out o' th' desert meself!

Through all th' weeks o' wanderin’ an' dyin’ we found ourselves out near Cairo in th’ lands o' th’ Fatimah. Too bad Burma was on th’ other side o' th' continent, wasn’t it?! We thought maybe in Cairo we could hire a ship t' take us back ‘round t' Burma, but some o' us was unsure. Seems th’ man callin’ ‘imself “Th’ Seer” was th’ infamous Bartholomeu Diaz - no, Seamus, I never met ‘im, but I heard about ‘im from Captain Moridin an’ others when we sailed out t' Xanadu. Pierre, slap ‘im fer me, would ye? There’s a fine lad!.

So, seems Diaz had turned against France an' was one o' th' leaders o' them Tri-Colors, an' ‘e’d been writin’ all over th' world, poisonin' minds against th' true French. We was worried Cairo wouldn’t be safe. Merd-a-din said ‘e was a friend o' th' Merchant Prince who ruled th' city an' that ‘e could bargain fer us. Well, th’ Prince said ‘e couldn’t just openly let us charter or buy a ship, but 'e could make sure th' authorities turned a blind eye if we stole one… Long as t’was a Turk vessel.

So we did. Alain led us aboard with grenades tossed right into th’ hold. Manfridus swung across on a rope, knocked Turks off th' rail an' cleared a path fer everyone else t' climb on. Tommy Guy grabbed th’ Mate an' used ‘im as a shield t' push right up near th' Turk Captain, an' Louis led our soldiers in th' final capture.

We’d just set out t’ sea when th' sailors an' soldiers who’d been trapped in th' hold burst out t' defend their Captain. Silly buggers didn’t even know th’ battle’d already been lost! Joey le Marin distracted ‘em with a call t’ arms, ‘Ector inspired our lads with another call t’ arms, but Fortuno ended it all by wavin’ their defeated Captain’s hat at ‘em.

No, Seamus, I didn’t fight in th’ battle. I was still feverish from snakebite, an' was lucky that th' Lady Pamelá ‘erself was helpin’ nurse me. Ah, she was an Angel o’ Mercy, as pure in ‘er kindness as ‘er beauty! Pierre, your bid. Garde sans le chien?

So we set east towards La Bobine an' set ashore at th' Savior’s Birthplace. Here in this Holy land we stopped fer prayer an' reflection, where we Godly men affirmed our belief in th' sacred things. We decided t' continue east afoot, rather than risk La Bobine.

We made it t' Yangtzee. Louis an' Joey spoke enough o' th' local language - or at least somethin’ close enough - t' hire a brace o' guides t' help guide us across th' desert. We was still lookin’ fer Sung, so we set out fer th’ south. “Let’s find some snakes!” joked Fortuno th’ Snakefinder!

Aye, t’wasn’t snakes we found in th' desert. Eight o' our men starved t' death in th' wastes. Another nine was killed in th' night by bandits. By then we’d lost over half o' our troops!

Then we found th' snakes. Manfridus was bitten, but lived. Fortuno pulled 'im free an' cut th' head from th' serpent. Alain had learned a little o' our guide’s sing-song speech an' t’was 'e who told us th' skins o' th' snakes was valuable in trade. From then on, any snake we killed, we skinned. Many became rich from their skins. I was still ailin', an' didn’t hear th' news. I missed out on th' money… Laugh if ye must, Seamus, fer tonight I’m makin’ me money off you, ain’t I? Aye, that shut ye up, didn’t it?

We trod on. Men weren’t just dyin’, they was desertin’! Ten lads fled into th' sands. Fools, they, t' leave without a guide. Even with our guides th' shiftin’ winds had us constantly losin’ our way. I’d bet those who fled came t' a bad end.

Speakin’ o’ bets… Seamus? Trust ye t' bid petite. Pierre? Oh, ho, Poignée? Rodolpho? Garde? Hmmmm… Poignée, Pierre? I’ll Chelem annoncé.

Aye, we wandered th' desert an' we found yet more o' th' accursed snakes. Manfridus was convinced th' snakes was demons sent from Hell t' torment our band.

The troops was fed up with all th’ snakes an' sand. ‘bout half mutinied! A lieutenant announced their anger by tryin’ t' run ‘is sword into Fortuno! Fortuno lived up t' ‘is name. 'E parried th’ thrust an' ran th' traitor through. “Dispatch th' scoundrels!” Fortuno cried!

A mutinous sergeant called his scurvy dogs t' arms. Merd-a-din dropped th' man with a right-left combination. Too late! Th' disloyal took up their swords! Joey stepped up an' tried t' form up our loyal boys. 'E got ‘em ordered, but not before th' traitors cut a swath through those men. ‘Ector charged in with a couple o' stout lads an' beat down th' mutineer’s remainin' officer. Th' fight ended, an' we all set out again, but, o' our original hundred-fifty soldiers, under fifty remained, an' it was clear they wasn’t happy.

We continued explorin’. More snakes. We must’ve found every snake den in that Godforsaken desert! Then, what we thought was another sandstorm turned out t' be Burmese bandits. Or was they slavers? Louis offered ‘em gold t' join us. 'E offered fifty men twenty doubloons each t' join up. For that amount o' money, Seamus ‘ere would offer up ‘is own mother! Aye, aye, sit down Seamus, I admit, that was goin’ too far… ‘Ere’s twenty doubloons fer th’ slight. I’ll just win ‘em back from ye, anyways.

So, with th' Burmese in our band, we finally made it t' Sung. Fortuno decided we had no more reason t' keep th' disloyal dogs who’d mutinied. Fortuno was a good-hearted man. Rather than just abandon th' scalawags in th' dunes t' die, 'e sent ‘em east with Joey la Marin t' find th' sea an' our ship. Joey was t' keep an eye on ‘em, an’ not let ‘em spread their poison t' th' sailors.

I was still ailin' from snakebite; th’ fever’d abated, but me leg was still swollen an’ purple. I’d not’ve minded headin’ back t’ th’ ship meself, but th’ lovely Pamelá - bravest an’ most beauteous o’ all women - was eager t’ stay in Sung and find th' Ambassador, an’ I, smitten as I was, would have followed ‘er from Xanadu t' th' Incago lands just t' watch 'er hair blow in a sea-breeze.

T’was Pamelá who discovered where th’ Ambassador was bein’ held prisoner. Th’ man was at least bein’ shown some respect, fer, rather than a stone prison, ‘e was bein’ held in a yurt in a small cavalry camp outside o’ town. Pamelá took th’ troops an’ our Burmese slavers t' handle th' rest o’ th' camp. Fortuno, Alain, Manfridus, Tommy Guy, Merd-a-din, ‘Hector, Brighteyes an’ me was t’ tackle th' eight guards around th’ Ambassador.

Alain was jokin’ as 'e led th' charge. Th’ man should’ve realized this wasn’t a time t' play games, but t' fight. 'E dodged a flung net, stumbled right into a yurt an’ got ‘imself tangled up good! ‘E looked so silly flailin’ around Fortuno, Tommy Guy, and Manfridus started laughin’ too! Manfridus was so busy laughin’ 'e almost got knocked out when 'e was grabbed from behind, and Tommy got stabbed when Alain stumbled right into him. Think Tommy might’ve fell on ‘is own sword!

Brighteyes was tryin' t' bribe th' guards with snakeskin goods. One took th' skins and took t' th' hills, while Fortuno stopped laughin’ and started shoutin’. 'E was ragin’ 'e was gonna start breakin’ necks with ‘is bare hands while snatchin’ th' pistol away from a frantic guard.

Merd-a-din kept ‘is cool like th' seasoned soldier ‘e was. ‘E blocked, thrust, and ‘is first foe went down. I was in too much pain t' muck around. I tripped my man, thrust poniard into ‘is shoulder an’ pummeled him t' death with me fists. I think me moves intimidated th' guards, as th' remainin' foes started lookin’ nervous. ‘Ector leapt in and beat another down with a one-two punch while Alain, still tangled in yurt, took a blow t' th' head with some kind o’ mace. A muffled clang proved ‘e still had ‘is helmet.

Manfridus cut a guard down, Brighteyes fired, missed, reloaded, fired again, and another guard dropped dead. Fortuno tried ‘is own pistol, but th' powder only flashed in th' pan.

I thought fer a minute Merd-a-din was in trouble. One o' th' guards had a rope around ‘is throat and a knee in ‘is back. Merd-a-din kept ‘is cool and flipped th' man right over ‘is head! Th' remainin' three guards was gettin' their confidence back and their leader was barkin’ orders. I pulled my poniard an’ threw it into ‘is neck - I did, Seamus! Test me. No? Thought not. Don’t be interruptin’ th' good parts o’ th' story.

Aye, so ‘Ector, ‘e was tryin’ t' draw a bead on a Burmese when th' flailin’, tangled Alain bore into ‘im. Both men fell. ‘Ector got knocked cold. Alain was rollin’ like mad, tryin’ t’ get free. Dunno if ‘e rolled on ‘is own sword or ‘Ector’s, but, when we cut ‘im out o’ th’ yurt after th' battle, ‘e was bleedin’ pretty bad.

In th’ meantime, Manfridus had t’ dodge a sword slash. ‘E stepped right into Louis and spoiled Louis’s shot. At least they didn’t knock each other down! Fortuno’s blade pushed down on th' sword o’ th’ man who’d just gone fer Manfridus. Fortuno’s dagger made sure ‘e’d never try t' cut anyone again. Finally, Merd-a-din’s man lunged again. Merd-a-din stepped aside, grabbed th’ man’s wrist and guided him, ever so gently, into a large rock. One thud later, th' last guard was sleepin' in th' dirt.

Pamelá an’ th’ troops had done a good job, too. No-one else in th' camp had joined th' guards, and no-one in th' camp had ridden fer aid. Th' Ambassador was freed!

Now, Louis, Alain, Merd-a-din and me, we was in fer a big shock, fer th' Ambassador was someone we all thought was dead - poisoned, slain, and baked into a statue. Any guesses? No, Seamus, not Ben Jonson! Yes, Rodolpho, yes! T’was Alexander Pope, ‘imself!

Pamelá had th' troops gather up th' horse and camels in th' camp while we held conference with Pope. Seemed that th' Burmese was no friends t' France and there was no hope o' Burma comin’ t' th' aid o' th' French loyalists. Th' true mission was t' save Pope this whole time. T’was a little strange t' realize Pamelá - so beautiful, brave, and sweet, could also be so deceitful, but, it only made ‘er a stronger woman in a dangerous world. We mounted up and rode fer th’ coast, fer Thor.

As we rode, we still talked. Pope would only go back t' Paris with us if we pledged t' rescue th' “fool” ‘Enry, Uncle o’ th’ late King. Pope said ‘Enry was only pretendin’ t' be th' fool so as t' not find ‘imself wakin’ up dead. Fortuno swore, “I, Sir, Lady, shall endeavour t' rescue th' Prince.” Merd-a-din chimed in, “Not so, Monsieur Bonadventure, fer it is WE who SHALL rescue th' Prince!” One by one we all pledged our aid. And with that, Merd-a-din and Fortuno produced two halves o' a document. When joined they proved t' be th' fabled Carta Magna!

What’s th' Carta Magna? Seamus, that be th' old Roman Law - what? “Magna Carta?” Yer a fool, ye daft Scot! Yer also up t' deal…

Anyways, we made it back t' Thor and made ready t' sail back t' Paris. Captain Porse and th' sailors looked fed and rested, and th' Captain cast many a jape at our return. We left th' ship with some hundred-fifty proud, strong soldiers, and returned with twenty-four bedraggled troopers. In our absence, th' sculptor, Gaël, had finished carvin' th' new figurehead fer Thor. All that remained was t' sail 'er t' Kleef t' attach it.

Captain Porse gestured t' th' carvin' - a squat form - and laughed, “I don’t know who’s idea this was, but it’s only th' second ugliest Imp I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

Louis Brighteyes said, later, that th' look on Captain Porse’s face when Alexander Pope stepped forward with a cry of, “And am I th’ first or third?” made th' entire voyage one o' his favorites.

So, we set our bow fer Paris. Once asea th' mood aboard grew somber, then angry. Th' troops sent back with Joey was still unhappy about th' adventures in th’ desert. Th' sailors was still nervous about sailin' ‘round th' Fatimah with no cannon. Th' superstitious Russians in th’ crew made fearful signs and thought it an ill omen that th' monstrous figurehead o' Thor had “been brought t' life.” Captain Moridin would have kept tight rein, Captain Porse was no Moridin. Th' crew mutinied - Aye, Pierre, again. Laugh if ye must, lookin’ back, I, too, laugh.

Tommy Guy was first t' feel th' crew’s wrath. ‘E was dragged from ‘is bunk and was tied up and forced against a mast. Brighteyes growled at th' assembly t' “Knock it off an’ get back t’ yer stations.” 'E had t' dodge a hurled club fer ‘is trouble. Fortuno came up on deck t' see what was th’ matter. Someone dropped a belayin' pin on ‘is head from th' crow’s nest. Th' mutiny was off t’ a strong start.

Merd-a-din, below, rallied soldiers and sailors t' muster. ‘E started with those who had been in th' desert. Those men was not loyal, and Merd-a-din barely escaped a beatin’, while I ran topside. Th’ lout in th' Crow’s nest almost brained me with another belayin' pin, but I saw it droppin’ an’ stepped aside.

‘Ector it was who found th' loyal crew and rallied them t' action. Alain strode into th' fray. Th' mutineers pushed Tommy Guy into ‘im, and both men almost fell overboard.

Manfridus tried lightin' a powder keg. What ‘e hoped t’ achieve, I don’t know. All ‘e did was almost blow up ‘imself an’ Merd-a-din.

Brighteyes pulled Fortuno from th' fray and slapped ‘im awake. Roused, Fortuno jumped up on th' rail, dashed down th' deck, grabbed Tommy and hauled him free, while I sliced th' lines on a jib-sail and caught up a band o' mutineers in canvas like Alain in a yurt.

‘Ector led ‘is men up from below. ‘E advanced after tossin’ a smoke grenade up from th' hold. Th’ throw was a perfect toss into th' middle o' those caught in th' sail. Alain, meanwhile, was hesitatin’, Manfridus was tryin’ t' convince th' mutineers t' surrender, at th’ same time ‘Ector was tryin’ t’ convince th’ mutineers they was bein’ flanked from behind.

Half th' mutineers was gettin’ confused and th' other half was still strugglin’ under canvas. Merd-a-din crossed t' Alain and told ‘im t' pull ‘imself t’gether. Alain did, an’ started reasonin’ with th' mutineers t' stand down. Better t' return t' Kleef with a new figurehead than t' swim home through shark-filled waters! Th’ mutineers started t' listen.

Manfridus set another powder keg alight and rolled it onto th’ deck. Merd-a-din had seen things was calmin’ down so ‘e ran in and kicked th' keg back towards Manfridus. Manfridus yelped and ran and th' powder blew. Brighteyes tried throwin' a grenade into th' men trapped in th' sail. Merd-a-din batted th' grenade t' sea with his Cutlass, then sliced th' sail open t’ free th’ men trapped beneath. Those men crawled out fightin’ mad, but Merd-a-din treated them almost as Moridin himself would. 'E told th' dogs how he’d put himself in harms way t' save them from his own loyal friends. Those cowed mutineers who had seen what Merd-a-din had done cried out th' truth o' what Merd-a-din had said. They was ashamed that a noble man like Merd-a-din put himself in danger t' save them when they was fightin' against Merd-a-din. Thus, th' actions o' Merd-a-din brought th’ traitorous dogs t’ heel.

Aye, lads, and with that, that’s th' end o' th' rum, th' end o' yer money - and I thank ye fer it! - and th' end o' me story. Until we meet again t' eat, drink and gamble!

What, Rodolpho? Who woo’d th' Lady Pamelá?

Aye… Pamelá Maurice, th’ most beautiful woman I ever seen. She was Gascony-dark. She curved like a perfect wave. 'Er lips like apples, voice like velvet, eyes like deep pools, skin soft as satin, and 'er hair was black like th' deepest knight. Ah, lads, didn’t I say th' man who married ‘er was a lucky bastard, indeed? Would ye like t’ guess?

No, Seamus, t’wasn’t me, tho’ that’s th' nicest thin' ye’ve ever said t’ me…

Rodolpho? Alexander Pope? Aye, yer funny, lad! Beauty and th' Beast, indeed? No, I said ‘he was a lucky bastard….

Pierre? Aye! Ye guessed it! Lady Pamelá did marry Fortuno Bonadventure. In th' end, ‘e lived up t’ ‘is name! So sez I, “Salty Pete!”
~Perrin le Salé

Yours,

   Perrin le Salé



Message Replies:
It sounds like a fantastic idea to write first-person "dialect..." -- Chronicler Mike (posted: 6/6/2019) 
Seamus? -- red (posted: 6/7/2019) 
And a fine game, too. -- Pedantic Mike (posted: 6/7/2019) 
Five mutinies this mission... -- Chronicler Mike (posted: 6/6/2019) 
As the Ship's Physician I blame the -- Fredrick Rourk (posted: 6/6/2019) 
Fully Successful ... Got the Girl .... What is there to not like? -- Iron Conrad (posted: 6/7/2019) 
Cosplay Chaucer Sux -- red (posted: 6/7/2019) 
Privations pt 2, now with 99% less "dialect" (Happy?) -- Perrin le Salé (posted: 6/7/2019) 
Men was dying digging the graves of those already dead! -- red (posted: 6/9/2019) 
I'll just assume it was the contractions.... -- Chronicler Mike (posted: 6/7/2019) 
Perhaps I've heard Pete speak too much but I was hearing ... -- Iron Conrad (posted: 6/7/2019) 
 
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