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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2015, 3:14 am 
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Tap tap. The sounds from the harbour had faded. Heat radiated off the pavement. Sweat trickled down his neck. Tap tap. His footsteps echoed between the tall houses. His cane swept left to right. Tim took a left and another left, deeper into the maze of narrow streets that was invisible to him. He hoped by moving more land inward that he would get to the city’s centre. He kept walking at a quick pace, glad that his legs could get some exercise after being cooped up at the ship for so long.

Tap tap. His cane sweeping the sidewalk. There was shouting from somewhere inside a house. Tap tap. He heard chatter and laughter. Female voices. A group of women seemed to be standing on the street, blocking his passage. They spoke to him as he passed. A hand went through his hair, another was in his neck. But Tim shrugged them off, leaving the group of prostitutes behind. Tap tap. He tried to dismiss the feeling that he was being watched.

The next scream gave Tim a sinking feeling in his stomach. This was a voice he recognised, a woman’s voice: Bathsheba. He started to run towards the source of the noise, which sounded muffled and far away. His heart was filled with dread, his head with questions. What had happened? Had she wandered into the city on her own? Was she now assaulted or worse?

He clenched his teeth and took another turn. His lungs filled with hot air from the sprint, but Tim hardly noticed. When he heard Bathsheba’s panicking voice again, it was louder and nearby, probably at the end of the street. He hoped that there was only one attacker and that he was not faced in his direction.
Tim pulled his cane from the street, so that the tapping sound wouldn’t give him away. He was close now. Why didn’t Bathsheba yell again? He needed her voice as guidance. Then –suddenly- all his senses were dulled for a moment as he ran right into someone. The impact dazed Tim for seconds, but he was sure that his casualty was not Bathsheba, judging by the smell of sweat and stale breath.

He raised his cane and smashed it into the man, which resulted in a loud yelp. When he tried to hit his target again, he hit only air.

“Where is he?” Tim called out to Bathsheba. “Where is he?”


----------------


Liam reached up and took Guinevere’s hand in his. He tilted his head and looked at the woman standing in front of him. She had changed but was also much the same. There was the same fierce determination as back when they had fought over that first kiss back on the docks. She was still as cold-blooded under pressure like during their escape from Barbossa’s gang at Port Royal. But her inner conflict of where her heart truly lay remained as well. It was a part of her, just like the other things he loved so much about her.

He pulled her closer again and kissed her. His hand went through her hair, the other one was still holding her hand. He felt her trembling under his touch and held her closer in an embrace. He had heard her words and he knew what she wanted to hear from him. She wanted him to decide. Now. But Liam wasn’t sure he could give her an answer just yet. He had asked Guin to give him an answer when they’d reached their destination. So only then he would ask her again. Realising that their moment would soon be over, he cherished it and then let go.

“I never changed my mind, Guin,” Liam sighed. If for one thing, his intentions had never been dubious. From the moment they had met, Liam had been straight about his feelings for her, his opinion of pirates, everything.

“And I am not going to leave you,” he said simply. “So perhaps it’s about time to return to the docks. People might wonder where the captain is.”

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2015, 1:52 pm 
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Guinevere struggled to steady her breathing when Liam let her go again. She closed her eyes for a moment, praying for the shaking in her hands to stop. How difficult it was to try and regain some form of calm when Liam was only standing a step away from her. It had always been like this. From the very first moment they'd met. It had been another harbour back then, another place to stand and look at the sea from: Port Royal. It could have been that exact day now. Her heart was hammering against her chest in same way. She opened her eyes to look at Liam again, and smiled at him. He had not changed his mind - he was not going to leave her. Hearing those words, her expression was flooded with such warmth and joy that it took all of her control not to dart forward and fling her arms around him.

Instead she remained very quiet and still. A few moments passed before she spoke up, a familiar twinkle in her blue eyes. "Well then," she said softly, "we'd better head back to the docks." She didn't really want to go back to the ship and retreat to her private quarters. Another sleepless night spent going over and over her thoughts sounded unbearable. No, what mattered, what meant everything, was the walk back by Liam's side. As they fell into step beside each other, Guin was aware of the ever present tremble in her fingertips. She did her best to hide it as she tucked a few curls of red hair behind her ear.

She hardly dared look at Liam as they walked. So focused was she on him, that she didn't notice a group of men pass them by, wolf-whistling at her and making a few comments in a foreign tongue. There was a far off look in her eyes as she wondered whether she could summon the courage to reach out and take Liam's hand. A devilish instinct told her to wait, to wait for him to take her hand of his own accord. She wanted him to demonstrate his feelings for her. They'd had so little time alone since their escape from prison; this was the best chance they'd had in a long time.

"Do you remember the day we first met?" she suddenly said. The smile returned to her lips. "When you asked me for a kiss? I was so shocked. I'd never met a man so bold, so open about what it was he desired. No man had ever spoken to me like that before." Certainly not Cairbre, who back then had always been the epitome of gentlemanly politeness. But politeness that denied desire wasn't really what Guin wanted.

~~~

"Tim!" Bathsheba exclaimed, her gaze darting from her friend to her attacker who was now lying motionless on the ground. He was still breathing, but definitely knocked out. Quickly, she bent down and snatched the pearl bracelet from the man's hand. Despite the struggle, the delicate piece of jewellery had remained intact. She cried out with relief and closed her hand into a fist over the pearls, tears filling her eyes. "Oh, thank God!" she repeated several times, before going to Tim's side. "It's alright, you knocked him pretty hard on the head," she reassured him. She could scarcely believe that Tim had come rushing to her aid, just when she had needed him most. It felt too miraculous to be true.

"Come on, let's get away from this place. We don't want anyone finding us here like this. We might just end up clapped behind bars after all," she said, slipping her arm through his in the way they were both so used to. Fear was still pulsing through her veins as they hurried away from the scene. What if Tim hadn't found her? What would have happened if no one had come to her rescue? The answer to those questions was too horrible to think about, so she did her best not to think of them. Her hold on Tim's arm tightened.

"He was trying to steal the pearl bracelet," she whispered. "The one I stole, back in England. I was going to give the bracelet to you, Tim. I couldn't let him steal it. Steal what it's worth. I daresay it's not worth as much as I'd like it to be, but it's something. Money like that could help you, Tim." Her voice shook a little. "You could decide not to have to rely on me." There they were, the words she'd dreaded. She was offering Tim a way out of their friendship. He could be better off without her. "Well? What do you think?"

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 8th, 2015, 2:37 pm 
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Tim doubled over, placing his hands on his knees to catch his breath. He derived from Bathsheba's quiet whispers of relief that she was not actually hurt. Standing up straight again, Tim kept leaning on his cane. Did his knees tremble from exertion or of relief?

When Bathsheba locked her arm into his and they hurried away from the knocked out man, a smile spread on Tim's face. No matter how important it was for him to be able to cope on his own, having someone near him to rely on not only made life easier for Tim but also much more pleasant. He squeezed her hand when he realised she had been very quiet. Perhaps she was still in shock after what had happened. Sometimes Tim forgot she had not been raised in the same world as he. That her life had been sheltered and protected until one day that was gone.

"You're all right now," he said trying to comfort her. "I won't let anyone hurt you."
Tim didn't bring up the quarrel they had earlier, glad that his friend had momentarily forgotten about it.

When Bathsheba showed him the pearl necklace, he held it in his hand, letting the pearls slip through his fingers one by one. He had all forgotten about it, but he remembered how proud Bathsheba had been to have acquired it and how he had entrusted it to her for safekeeping. And now..

"Are you trying to buy off our friendship with a necklace?" Tim asked incredulous. It was then true after all. She probably got sick of having him in tow all the time. Tim realised that she could achieve so much more on her own, without him holding her back. Did she realise this as well? Was that what this was about?

He stopped walking and he held out his arm so that Bathsheba would stop as well. He didn't know if they were still in the shady part of town, but Tim didn't care. What he wanted to say was more important. He needed her to listen and understand.

"I left my home, the place where I grew up for you." Tim hesitated. It was more than just his home town he'd left. What Bathsheba didn't know was that he'd also left behind the last tiny bit of hope that he could find his family. Just like it had been painful for her to speak about her past, he had not spoken of his either.

"I left for you. Because you said we could find a better life out here. And I still intend to find it. For us."
Tim's sightless eyes flickered over her face, unable to meet her gaze. He sometimes wondered what colour her eyes are. He'd never asked her. He ran his hand through his short chestnut coloured hair and spoke again. "Unless you are backing out. If you have other plans tell me now, because then I will return home."

His voice was firm but still he dreaded the answer to his question. He had been reluctant to jump into this adventure and to leave everything he knew behind. But no matter how hard it was to leave home, Tim knew the alternative of letting Bathsheba go would have been infinitely harder.


---------------------------------


As Liam and Guinevere walked back side by side, he couldn't help but feel more self-conscious than before. His feelings were strengthened by the rum he had consumed and that it made him forget about everything else when kissing Guin. But now his head was clearer he realised the trouble they could get into. Perhaps his prolonged stay in England had affected his attitude or the images of the hardened atmosphere in Port Royal were still fresh on his mind. A man like him walking alongside a English lady instead of a few steps behind her would be considered an outrage, let alone holding hands.

When they passed a group of jeering men, Liam suddenly was glad that a pistol was hidden in the inside pocket of his coat. Who knew what crazy things people could do? He expected that after the revolt every coloured man, woman or child that was behaving any way but how they were supposed to behave was to be arrested, interrogated or even executed. He had to keep a low profile when they reached home, especially because of his heritage.

Do you remember the day we first met?

A smile spread over Liam's thoughtful features. "How could I forget?" he responded as Guin recounted the events of that day. He remembered how she had come across as a proud and strong-willed woman, so different from the other women he knew or had been with. It was a challenge to steal a kiss from her. That's how it all started.

"I probably never told you, but that was also the day my father died. Back then it had been twenty-one years since. He passed away when I was six years old."

Liam looked out into the street and far away the docks and the blue glittering of the sea was already visible. He wasn't sure why he spoke about his father. All he probably ever told about his father and that side of the family was that he died when Liam was still a boy. Still, it somehow felt like an important thing to share with Guinevere.

"So, it was already decided that that day wouldn't be a good one." One corner of his mouth was pulled up in a crooked grin.

"I was flat broke and thrown out of the tavern. But then you turned up," he said tenderly. "And you changed everything."

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 8th, 2015, 9:00 pm 
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Bathsheba stared at Tim in bewilderment, both upset and shocked by her friend's unexpected confrontation. He had completely misunderstood her. She wasn't trying to 'buy off' their friendship. Her offer had been an earnest attempt to mend things between them, to let Tim know that he didn't have to be stuck with her anymore if he didn't want to be. Shaking her head, Bathsheba reached out and grabbed Tim's arm. "No, Tim, no," she gabbled desperately. "You've got it all wrong! I don't want to leave you. I only offered you the pearls as a way for you to leave me. Because I've been so horrible lately and I always end up letting you down. You deserve a better friend than I am."

She let go of him and wiped at her damp eyes. "I did say we could find a better life," she mumbled, "but I don't see a way how to. Not anymore. I feel as if this world is so big, far bigger than I imagined. I dreamed such daring things, of sailing the seas, of seeing foreign countries, but now that I actually am... I'm frightened," she admitted frankly. "I'm frightened of not knowing what's on the other side of our journey. Of not having... a, a grasp on my future! I was always certain before. Now I just feel useless, Tim." She didn't feel like the same person who had persuaded him to accompany her on an adventure. Bathsheba had never questioned herself and who she was before, until now. Nothing felt steady and sure. Nowhere felt safe.

"That's why I offered you the pearls," she repeated. "Because blind or not, you're one hell of a better person than I am. And I'm sorry for being so horrible. I don't deserve you."

~~~

Guin listened with a soft expression, filled with empathy, whilst Liam spoke of his father. They walked in step, the ocean coming into view on the horizon. She breathed in the salt scented air, thinking back to that first day. She had turned up in Port Royal with nothing but a handful of coins and the clothes on her back, determined to reclaim her beloved ship, the Anne Boleyn. The last thing she'd been expecting was to meet a man and fall in love. But that was what happened. She turned her head to smile at Liam, the tenderness in his voice enveloping her in a warm rush of effervescent joy.

"I never told you how much changed for me when we met," she said, looking back at the sea. "But it really, really did. You awoke something inside me when we kissed. You showed me what love was." She blushed and laughed at her own sense of shyness. "I had hidden from love all my life. Scorned it, even. I was afraid of it because it was unknown to me. I was brought up in a loveless environment, you see. Not a home, but a house - one very like Lord Autumn's - where everything was cold and unreal and made of money. Even my parents' marriage. They didn't love one another. They were tied together as a financial arrangement, and they wanted the same fate for me."

It still chilled her to think of her old life. She took a deep breath, still walking along. "As far as I know, both my parents are still alive and well," she said. "It's me who is dead to them." After Guinevere's fiance had succumbed to a sudden and deadly fever, her would-be in-laws had put about word that she had killed him. Guin's parents had her smuggled out of England to save her from the noose, but more importantly for them, to avoid a scandal. "They put word out that I was dead of a fever. Told me they'd fill a coffin with stones, and hold my funeral." She shrugged her shoulders matter-of-factly, even though it hurt to think of it. "Somewhere in England there's a headstone with my name on it."

The docks were coming into clearer sight. Guin swept the past from her mind, and focused on Liam. Not caring what onlookers might think, she reached out and slipped her hand into his, twining their fingers together. She could just about recognize the ship in the distance, to which they would soon be returning. Guin wanted to delay that for a little while. She turned and faced Liam, smiling up at him with warm eyes. She lifted his hand to her lips, and kissed it softly.

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 19th, 2015, 3:39 am 
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Tim burst in laughter and for a moment only his joyful laughter echoed through the street. He quickly raised his hand and hoped Bathsheba would let him explain. He imagined how she froze upon seeing him laugh, insulted that he mocked her feelings.

“I was so afraid that you had grown sick of me,” he explained. “That you decided
you were better off without me.” Relief was now audible in his voice. He laughed again and he sounded happier than he had been in days. Indeed it seemed like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
“I had three younger brothers and a sister. So I think I am proof against your teasing.”

Suddenly, he regretted the joke which he blurted out. He didn’t want to hurt Bathsheba’s feelings any more than he already had and now he wondered whether bringing up the family subject did any good. Why was it so hard to say the right thing? She had been his friend for a long time and they usually could speak about anything, but right now it felt like he didn’t know what she needed to hear to feel better.

“Listen,” he continued in a serious tone. “You’re my only friend after..” There was a short silence and he quickly corrected himself. “You’re my best friend, not a horrible person.” Tim's hand searched for Bathsheba shoulder and then moved up. With two fingers he tilted her chin upwards, so that she no longer looked at the ground like she usually did when she was ashamed.

"And you might not see a way, but I can," he smiled. "I can be quite perceptive you know. For now we need to make a choice. We still can go back home. We might be able to buy passage on a ship and we will find a new life in England. Or we stay and leave the ship as soon as we get to Port Royal." Two choices. One just as unpredictable in outcome as the other. "Forget your fear and doubts. What does your heart tell you to do?"

-----------

"You never told me this before," Liam said quietly after Guin finished speaking. He wondered what that man who she was supposed to marry was like and what the actual cause of his death was. But Liam knew better than to insult Guinevere with those questions. She would probably have met Eagle somewhere during her escape from England. Liam didn't know their story, but after the things Rosalind had said to him to spite him, he was sure that Cairbre had been privy to her secrets.

"Perhaps that headstone is the reason you have cheated death so many times," Liam continued with half a smile. "Men cannot die twice."
Immediately he heard the shocked voice of Aileen in his mind. Don't joke about the dead!

Liam's smile broadened. Unlike his mother he had never been superstitious. Instead he joked about it to the dismay of his sister. He was silent for a moment as he remembered his family. They had loved him as if he had been their son or brother by blood, while in fact his next of kin who should have been his parents hated the earth he walked on.

"It's strange is it?" Liam muttered, half in thought. "How parents, who should love and support you, are able to ruin your life. They can destroy their own flesh and blood.." His voice trailed away and his heart skipped a beat when Guin's fingers entwined with his. His hand tingled upon feeling her touch. The sensation spread through his body and he tried to ignore his rapidly beating heart.

"Guinevere," Liam mumbled. Either she had not listened to a word he had said, or she just didn't care about any potential consequences. Her lips met his again and Liam's protests died on his lips. He closed his eyes and let himself be swept away again.

Somehow, their moment ended earlier than intended. Liam's eyes flung open and grimaced, their connection broken. A sharp pain pulsed through his right side, underneath his rib cage. It felt like someone had hit him there with the hilt of a knife or something blunt. Immediately, he looked over his shoulder and warily scanned the crowd to look for his attacker. But this was the main passage from the harbour to the heart of the city. It was crowded, men and women with horses, donkeys or handcarts tried to wrestle past each other in the narrow street and the person who had laid a hand on Liam-whether intentionally or not- had already disappeared.

Taking her hand in his, Liam pulled Guinevere with him towards the docks, but said nothing of his suspicions of what just happened. "However much I love it," he remarked. "We should not he so conspicuous, both aboard and on land. It won't make things easier with the crew."

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 20th, 2015, 9:07 pm 
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Bathsheba hesitated, not knowing how to reply. Each option Tim offered was full of uncertainty: to find their way back to England, or to see their original journey through. It was so difficult to decide what might be for the best. England had been her home all her life. She knew nothing else. And yet... it would feel like a step backwards to return. Being afraid of a world so unfamiliar to her, perhaps she had to face it head on. She had yearned for a different life. Now that she was presented with the prospect of it, she couldn't just run away.

She cleared her throat and tried to look firm; however, she was blinking a lot and her voice wobbled up and down a little when she spoke. "We'll carry on to Port Royal," she said. "And when we get there, we'll part ways with the captain and her friends. We won't be criminals anymore. We'll present ourselves as decent, hard working people, which is exactly what we are." She smiled at Tim and gently squeezed his shoulder. She was so grateful that he had forgiven her. It was such a relief for them to be friends again. Things were back to the way they should be. "We'll sell the bracelet... and... and maybe we can find somewhere to live. Somewhere small at first, while we're still finding our feet." She hesitated, thinking things through. "We'll need to appear respectable. So perhaps we can tell people that we're brother and sister."

~~~

Guinevere looked around in confusion as Liam pulled her along with him towards the docks. Liam may not have wanted to mention it, but she was just aware as he was that someone had interrupted them, deliberately or otherwise. There was no chance of finding said person, though; there was no telling who it might have been. Guin's cheeks were flushed pink with indignation; however, it deepened to a shade of red when Liam made his suggestion. It may have been sensible advice, but that did not mean she had to like it.

"Conspicuous!" she repeated crossly. Her hand was still clasped in Liam's, and her pace quickened as they made their way through the crowds. "Why should we have to pretend not to be in love? Why should we have to restrain ourselves from demonstrating our feelings?" Her blush grew even fierier. She knew that doing so would make their crew mates - particularly Cairbre - more comfortable around them, but it still infuriated her. What made her even angrier was the unspoken truth that there would be people who would object to her and Liam's relationship simply because of the colour of their skin. It was most desperately unfair, and she refused to give in to such injustice.

She was silent for a long while before they finally reached a quieter area where they could stand by the harbour wall. She took a few moments to calm herself down before raising her eyes to Liam's. "I'm sorry for getting angry," she apologized. "I'm not angry at you." She paused and curled one hand around the back of her neck as she looked for words to express herself. She dropped her hand back down to her side and took a deep intake of breath. "I want us to be together," she said, direct as always. "And the thought of anyone trying to put a stop to that makes me furious. However... if you want us to be discreet for a while then I understand. Of course." She looked down for a moment before continuing in a quiet tone. "But let us have our time alone together. As we used to." She looked up, finding it difficult to phrase her words now, as her heart was beating very fast. "What I'm saying," she whispered, "is that if at some point you would... ever like to share the captain's cabin again... the captain's invitation has officially been extended." She laughed quietly and looked at her feet, on tenterhooks for Liam's response. Her joking manner did not in any way conceal her intensity of emotion; she was indeed being serious. Guin couldn't prevent herself from blushing; it was simply in her nature. She had been brought up in such a restricted environment that the mere thought of her relatively new found freedom even now brought a flush to her face. But she was not ashamed. She would never be. She loved Liam. It was as simple as that.

~~~

Everyone, apart from Cairbre and Ciaran, had gone to explore the town, leaving just the two of them to guard the ship. They had mostly kept to different parts of the deck, rarely exchanging a word. Cairbre didn't know if he preferred it that way or not. Time seemed to stretch on and on, leaving nothing but boredom and frustration - and a touch of anxiety. Liam and Guinevere were both somewhere on land, possibly together. Cairbre still resented Liam for, not long ago, reducing Guin to tears with his rejection. He had no doubt that, if given the chance, Guin would go back to the man. She would forgive him. But how long before the same thing happened again?

Cairbre remained grateful to Liam for what he had done, taking care of Guinevere in his absence. He was aware that Liam had saved Guin's life. However, his thankfulness could not diminish the increasing feeling of exasperation. He wished, not for the first time, that Guin had never met Liam. It had all started that day in Port Royal. Liam and Cairbre had instantly made a bad start with each other. Cairbre did not dislike Liam for his skin - unlike Lord Cathair, he was not intolerant in his thinking. Like Guinevere, Cairbre was an enlightened and accepting human being. They had both sailed the sea with people of from many different countries and backgrounds, after all. No - what had bothered Cairbre about Liam was the forward way he'd behaved towards Guin, and so soon after meeting her, too.

And that forwardness had won her heart. Guin always went back to Liam. Cairbre walked across the deck, trying to stop himself from spiralling into gloom. He had sworn to himself that from now on, he would content himself with only being Guinevere's friend again. It was almost impossible to reconcile himself to the fact that he and his once-fiance would never be together again, never marry as they had planned - but he had to reconcile himself to it. It was the only way he could survive.

"Archer," he greeted Ciaran as he reached the other man's look out spot. He offered a well meaning smile. It was getting more difficult to summon a smile these days, but he made himself do it - he couldn't go around looking utterly downcast and miserable all the time. "So, what do you make of Lisbon so far?" There was nothing for it but to try and start a conversation. Ciaran had helped him when he'd been ill, after all. "Have you travelled much before?"

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 31st, 2015, 7:00 am 
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Ciaran perched on the wooden rail of the ship. His eyes were fixed on the port and the bustle of people on shore, but his gaze was empty, almost indifferent as if he was looking right through the city in front of him and was thinking of an entirely different place. Would there in fact be someone to board the ship right in front of Ciaran, he would not have noticed. Unlike other moments when he made fun of someone or laughed there was not just a fleeting smile. Now there was a warm expression on his face, as if the daydream or memory he clung to gave him the greatest possible happiness.

Even though he was not susceptible to either warmth or cold, Ciaran's leather coat hung on the hook of a wooden pulley. Ciaran wore a shirt, just as black as his jacket, sleeves rolled up to his elbows so that a large white scar that reached from his inner elbow to the wrist of his left arm remained uncovered. The rest of his attire was matching black, from his trousers to his boots. The bounty hunter didn't seem to mind that his dark clothing absorbed the tropic heat. He enjoyed the warmth of the sun on his skin and the moment of peace and quiet where he could loose himself in thoughts.

When Cairbre joined him with a polite greeting, it took Ciaran some time to return to the now and then. He inclined his head to Cairbre and glanced in the direction of the man. He seemed to have recovered from the sudden burst of sickness and he was little less pale than the days before. The warmer climate obviously did him good, but his healthier complexion could also be caused by him being on speaking terms with the Captain again.

"The city certainly looks like how I expected it. I speak a little Spanish so I could find my way here. " Ciaran said nothing for a while when Cairbre enquired after his travel experiences. A wry smile had appeared on his face and when he spoke his gaze was focused on the docks once more. "I never had the opportunity to travel, so I only know these exotic countries from tales."

Not the opportunity! Ciaran thought grimly. He never got a chance. As dissenter, he had never enjoyed the equality with another Angelican Englishman. He had to pay more taxes and attending his own mass was forbidden by law. Freedom to travel freely, even from his hometown to London had been denied to him. So journeying outside the country was unthinkable, forbidden. He would never get the papers. All of this he didn't tell Eagle though. No, his true emotions and secrets were usually hidden beneath a mask of mockery and indifference. It was easier that way.

"I presume you have seen many places then?" Ciaran asked. "Do you like to travel? "

-----------------------------

Tim linked his arm in Bathsheba's again and after a quick glance over his shoulder he continued to walk in the opposite direction of where they came from. He suspected that they had ventured to a part of town where the Watch didn't frequently patrol, but he still he didn't want to take the risk of running into them.

He felt an odd feeling of indignation as Bathsheba mentioned they could pose as siblings. He felt as if inside him something resisted the idea of being her brother. He had many brothers and a sister and all were as good as lost on him. Why was it so bad to find a new sibling in his best friend? Because you don't want her to be your sister a voice whispered at the back of his head. But Tim ignored the voice and smiled at his friend.

"We'll need a good story then. Preferably one where we appear as two adventurers looking for a new life here and where I lost my sight during an act of bravery." Instead of something utterly meaningless, he thought silently.

In fact, starting a new life could prove to be difficult. He had some skills and work experience but no one would want to hire him, while Batsheba was capable and willing but even her roughened hands and resourcefulness couldn't hide the fact she had probably never worked a day in her life. "It might work," he added optimistically. "I should try to find work. Perhaps Cairbre can teach me more during the rest of the journey. It could help." He didn't want to dampen Bathsheba's hopes by showing doubt. He was only too glad she had not mentioned the said gentleman again.

"Speaking of our journey, don't you think we need to head back to the others? They might think we've run off or something." He nudged Batsheba's side. "I am glad you're here to show me the way. "

-----------------------

Liam remained silent when Guin spoke with anger and indignation of the situation. But what more was there to be said? That the world was unfair and unjust? Liam knew that all to well. If the wrong people in the wrong place saw them together he could end up in the gutter with a slit throat and God knew what would happen to Guinevere. How could he explain that they both were at risk if they weren't careful? Did she perhaps think that he was trying to put more distance between them? It was true, something inside him craved for some space between them, so that he could be sure. So that he would never fall in that pitch dark hole again where he descended after he had lost her. A shadow of the terrible things that had happened -of what he had done- was still in his heart, sometimes expanding, like an wild animal gnawing and clawing at him until his guilt was exposed.
After everything he'd wanted more than anything to reunite with Guin but it turned out now that he could not talk to her about it. She was not his priest. Perhaps he had to find a real one.

Relief replaced his worry when she agreed to remain discrete, although his concern that she did not realise how their safety could be at risk remained. All this, however was forgotten when she made her invitation in a semi- awkward way. A wicked smile appeared on Liam's features and his eyes lit up with longing. Contrary to Guinevere, he had never been indirect about what he wanted or how he longed for her. It was not in his nature to be ambiguous.

"I might accept that offer," he murmured. He cast a quick glance over his shoulder, but Guin had guided them to a quiet place; no one there seemed to be paying attention to them. One hand slid behind Guin's back and pushed her closer to him while he planted a kiss in her neck. "I'll make sure no one sees me though." He nuzzled her neck with his lips. "Cairbre will kill me if he knew. "

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: August 31st, 2015, 8:55 pm 
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Cairbre nodded to Ciaran's response. The other man's wry smile gave Cairbre the idea that there might be more to Ciaran's comment about never having had the opportunity to travel. However, he did not pursue this thought. The past was a sensitive subject for most people. Cairbre leaned against the ship railing, his back turned to the docks. He didn't want to keep on wondering where Guin and Liam were. It was too painful. He may have appeared calm, but inside his mind was racing, asking him endless questions. The one at the forefront of his mind was this: was there anything he could have done to make things turn out differently? There could be no answer to that one. Cairbre turned his head, realizing that Ciaran had just asked him a question of his own, and one that was far easier to reply to.

"Indeed. Many," he answered. He was not bragging; his tone was reticent and unexpressive. All of the various countries he had seen, he had seen with Guinevere. Each place they had visited brought to mind a particular memory, each one as precious as the last. Cairbre masked the pain he felt with an impassive expression. Just as Ciaran hid behind sarcasm and indifference, Cairbre often hid behind a curt aloofness. Some - like Liam - mistook this for arrogance.

"I have enjoyed travelling, in my time," Cairbre said, realizing that he hadn't yet answered Ciaran's second question. Talking helped to keep his restless thoughts at bay, if only a little. "But I had hoped to settle in England." He knew that his answers sounded abrupt, as if he was trying to end the conversation. Not wanting to appear unsociable, he ended up saying more than he had intended. "The captain and I. Guinevere. We intended to marry. We bought a house and some land in Devonshire..." he trailed off, seeing that time and that place so vividly. He remembered Guinevere planting her herb garden. Her laughter as the two of them struggled to fit new sheets on their bed. Her rushing out into the pouring rain to rescue one of his shirts she'd hung out to dry.

"Obviously, things did not go according to plan," Cairbre said quietly. He had no idea where this conversation could go after this. For all he knew, Ciaran might even laugh in his face. At this point, Cairbre didn't care. He would hold onto his memories. Somehow, he swore to himself, he had to make Guin remember all that they'd shared, and could share still. She still loved him - she had told him so. With this piece of hope, Cairbre could not accept that what they had was truly over.

~~~

Bathsheba bit her lip at the mention of Cairbre, but she nodded, trying to look enthusiastic about Tim's idea. Thinking about the man still made her uncomfortable. She hated the person her crush on him turned her into: a clumsy, blundering fool. The fact that Cairbre was hardly even aware of her existence made matters worse. She felt so far below him, so inferior. Her old self, that creature of society who craved high status, felt chagrin at the fact that she had been new money and he was a born aristocrat.

"Of course he could help you," she said bravely. "Yes, he strikes me as a very kind individual." There - she had managed to speak of Cairbre almost normally. Of course, Tim would be able to hear the hesitation in her voice. But hopefully he would make no mention of it. She was so grateful that they were back at each other's side once more. Life didn't feel quite so bad when Tim was with her. She smiled as he nudged her, and she nudged him back with a small laugh.

"We'll head back then. If I can navigate our way to the harbour, that is!" she said. "I'm afraid I'm not a natural geographer. I always feel lost in new places. When... when my family and I would visit London, or Bath, I would always have a companion with me. Ladies cannot walk on their own, you see. For me, it was the greatest blessing! On my own I'd have got completely lost."

~~~

Guinevere felt as if her heart had just turned over in her chest. Her hands curved over Liam's shoulders as he kissed her neck; blissfully happy, she closed her eyes and revelled in the sensation of his lips on her skin. She did not flinch when Liam mentioned Cairbre. "But he won't know," she whispered. "No one will. It's not anybody's business but our own." The very thought of being in Liam's arms again made her feel as if she was floating. She would not have to be lonely anymore, to wake up missing him and aching for his presence. They would be together; that was how it was meant to be. She smoothed her hands over Liam's chest and smiled up at him.

"I don't like to think of you sleeping in some uncomfortable hammock, when you could be warm and cosy with me," she said playfully, unable to resist teasing him. It felt so good for them both to be smiling again. To be happy again. Although she had promised to remain discreet, she wanted to sing, dance, shout with joy. Her eyes were sparkling. "The outline of the ship is very similar to that of The Anne Boleyn," she told him, "so you'll know how to find me."

Guin did consider the heartbreak she might cause Cairbre if he ever were to find out. There was no reason he should, but the possibility was a concern. She didn't want to cause him any more hurt. However, she pushed these thoughts away. If they were discreet, he would not be hurt. Guin wasn't ashamed - but the importance of secrecy, for now, was not lost on her. After all, it was not so very long ago that she and Cairbre had been the ones sharing sleeping quarters.

Touching Liam's face, Guin carefully raised the subject of her ex fiance. "You and Cairbre will try to get along, won't you?" she said delicately. "He would never kill you, Liam. That's a silly thing to say. He does glower a bit, but he doesn't mean to." She sank her fingers into Liam's dark hair. "I just want everyone to get along. Impossible as that sounds! But a united crew means a smoother journey, sweetheart." She blushed, realizing that she had not called him that for a long time. The endearment had slipped out completely naturally. She smiled and tried not to be embarrassed of the fact that she was still trembling.

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2015, 6:09 pm 
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Liam said nothing for a while and with closed eyes he held Guin in an embrace. He loved to hear her talk and laugh. For the first time after all the time he'd spent with her after their escape from Devonshire, she sounded like her old self again. This was the person he came back for. And even though his own problems weighed heavily on his shoulders and he still felt the necessity of keeping himself back in whatever they had going, he was glad that he found her again.

A sigh escaped Liam when Guinevere mentioned getting back at friendly terms with Cairbre. He withdrew from the embrace with a frown on his face. "I will try to get on with Cairbre if he does," he responded curtly.

As if.. Cairbre had treated him with suspicion and condescension from the start. As if he was a thief in the night out to steal something that could never be his, something he would never be worthy enough to obtain. Besides Eagle hated him now more than anyone else at this moment.
Liam turned to the docks, his hand resting on his forehead. Only an instant ago he'd felt so carefree and happy. But in that moment he just looked very tired.

"I think I won't live to see a day where Cairbre Eagle treats me with true amiability without distrust or disrespect," he said. With a serious gaze he looked at Guinevere. He was ready for her defense. She had a blind spot when it came to Cairbre's attitude towards him. She couldn't think ill of either Cairbre or him.

"Come, we should head back, " Liam extended his hand to Guin and started to walk towards the dock.


-----------------


There was something sad about Tim's smile when he heard how Bathsheba stumbled over her words concerning Cairbre. But even though he knew that the shade of her complexion now matched that of a tomato, he didn't comment on her choice of words or her hesitation like he usually would have done. After all the time they had spent together, Tim had learnt to read Bathsheba. He knew the low pitch in her voice when she felt sad and how her figure slumped when she felt hopeless. He heard it in her voice when she smiled. But for some reason he wasn't able to deduce her feelings when it came to this.

Soon however, they would arrive at their destination and they could part ways with the strange, but not unfriendly group of pirates. Still Tim somehow would be more than relieved if it was just him and Bathsheba again. Obviously, he felt no difficulty in bending the law for his own survival, but stealing a ship, kidnapping a man and associating with a group of criminals was something he'd never wanted to be part of.

"You were accompanied by someone everywhere and any time?" Tim asked incredulous. "I must say, I wouldn't mind being accompanied by a beautiful lady wherever I went." He grinned and let go of Bathsheba's arm.

"Don't worry. My remaining senses can tell us where to go." Tim stood still for a moment, his left ear turned up to the sky, while he slowly spinned around his own axis. "Right," he said decisively. Tim searched for Bathsheba's hand, took it in his and pointed somewhere their left. "There," he said, his head still slightly tilted. "I can faintly hear the screeching of the sea birds and shouting sailors."

Tim lowered her hand again, but still held it gently in his. He bowed and planted a light kiss on top of it.
"Shall we, Madam?"


---------------------------


Almost unnoticeably a crease formed between Ciaran's eyebrows as he listened to Cairbre. Even though he already suspected some of the facts Cairbre told him, he was grasped by amazement. It was not the type of amazement you felt upon hearing an extraordinary tale or when seeing a street performer's tricks, but a silent wonder at life. Happiness always seemed to come hand in hand with devastation. He had seen it. There was nothing fair about it and the outcome was usually the same. Misery.

Still Ciaran wondered what had happened to the happy couple of whom he had arrested the bride who apparently ran off with her lover.
There was an uneasy silence, although none of this uneasiness showed on Cairbre's features; Ciaran suspected he wasn't the only one trained in hiding his true feelings. Still he felt like he should say something. But what was there to say after such a cconfession of a man who was nothing more than an acquaintance? Only something of equal sincerity and self-exposure seemed in place.

"I know the pain of such loss," Ciaran finally said. His voice was hoarse but unwavering. Somehow acknowledging such feelings for himself and saying it out loud were two completely different things. A lump formed in his throat and his chest felt painful as if his heart was about to explode. He had in fact never spoken about this; perhaps that's what made it so difficult. "I lost the love of my life. Because of another man."

He couldn't look at Cairbre any longer, so instead Ciaran focused on rolling down the sleeves of his shirt. "I kept asking myself why this happened, what I could have done to prevent it. But now all I know is that we're in God's hands. And His ways are unfathomable."

Ciaran paused for a moment when he heard voices nearby growing louder. He looked over his shoulder and noticed Liam and Guinevere returning to the ship. His gaze immediately searched for Cairbre's and he lay his hand on the man's shoulder to catch his gaze.

"There might still be hope for you yet."

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: September 25th, 2015, 8:15 pm 
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"You were accompanied by someone everywhere and any time? I must say, I wouldn't mind being accompanied by a beautiful lady wherever I went."

Bathsheba laughed at Tim's remarks, but she still felt the need to justify the precaution she had described, which upon first hearing, might sound ridiculous. "Well, think about it," she said. "My family would hardly let me go wandering around on my own, would they?" It was still painful to talk about the past and her family, but she tried her best to sound light hearted. "A daughter is a valuable commodity." With these words, her tone became more strained. "Without a companion, she has no witness to testify against any accusations of impropriety. And impropriety is an indelible mark not just against her, but her family too. No one will trade and do business with a ruined family name."

She smiled as she watched Tim spin around and then take her hand. She was surprised when he kissed her hand, but didn't read anything particular into it. She was, for lack of a better word, blind to his efforts to make her see him in a different light. "Off we go then!" she said, linking her arm through his and leading them in the direction he'd pointed. Thinking of being back on board the ship, she felt an odd knotted feeling in her stomach. She was fine when it was just her and Tim - but when confronted with the pirates, so unfamiliar and strange to her, her nerves returned. Particularly around Cairbre.

"I wonder if any of the others will have gone exploring the port too," she said. "I bet they wouldn't find themselves getting lost."

~~~

Cairbre knew just how painful it was for Ciaran to speak of such things. He recognized the pain so visible in the other man's eyes. He did not make a display of sympathy; no amount of words could make things better. Instead he only nodded, showing that he understood all too well. He noticed how precisely Ciaran rolled down his shirt sleeves, observed the firmness with which he asserted his faith in God's plan. "Unfathomable is the right word," Cairbre replied quietly. "A year ago I could never have foreseen all of this." A year ago, Guinevere had agreed to marry him. He'd thought then that the fight was over - that Liam would never again come back to their lives.

How wrong he had been.

Ciaran's hand landing on his shoulder, Cairbre looked up caught sight of Liam and Guinevere, walking hand in hand back to the ship. With a sense of panic, Cairbre's heart started racing. It was unbearable to see Guin holding Liam's hand, as she'd used to hold his. Hiding his dismay, he looked at Ciaran and shook his head.

"How can you sound so sure?" he asked. "I still have hope. I can't deny it. But she... she's given up on what we were, what we still are. Look at her." He gestured to Guinevere. "See how she looks when she's around him." He almost choked on the words, and quickly turned away from the ship's rail. He met Ciaran's gaze and paused before carrying on. "If you had a chance," he said with some hesitation, "even the smallest chance, with the woman you spoke of... to make things right again. Would you take it? Even if you felt that all the odds were against you?"

~~~

Guinevere took Liam's hand and walked with him back to the docks, deciding that it was wisest not to jump to Cairbre's defence. Thinking of the bitterness between the two men, she felt an uncomfortable guilt. The hatred they felt for each other was her fault. It had started the very first day she met Liam. Cairbre had been instantly jealous, and with good cause. He'd seen Guin's kiss reddened lips. Seen the way she looked at Liam - and the way Liam looked at her. Guin felt her stomach sink as she thought of all the pain she had caused both Liam and Cairbre. It had never been her intention to hurt either of them; but it had happened anyway.

Guin looked up at Liam as they walked together, desperately wanting to say something. She could see that he had things on his mind. He looked exhausted. She wanted to say that she was sorry. But how many times could she apologize again and again? Instead she remained silent and gently squeezed his hand, hoping that he would feel the love flowing from her palm to his. They were getting closer to the ship. She could see two figures standing at the ship's rail: Cairbre and Ciaran. They'd been the ones left to watch the ship. Guin only briefly thought of Tim and Bathsheba, who would find the city strange and unfamiliar and might have got lost. She had too many things to be concerned with already without worrying herself about two strangers.

"Good evening, gentleman," Guin addressed Archer and Cairbre once she and Liam had crossed the gangplank. She summoned a smile and managed to meet both their gazes. "All's been well on watch duty, I hope?"

"Very well," Cairbre responded. He glanced at Liam and tried to battle against the surge of jealousy he felt at seeing him hand-clasped with Guin. "I suppose you've been exploring the city?" He tried to sound interested and polite. It wouldn't help matters at all to accidentally start another argument with Liam. He had to be civil.

"That's right," Guin said with a smile. "It involved a lot of walking! I might retire for the night sometime soon. Tell Bathsheba and... what was his name? Tim? Ask them if they might take over the watch when they get back, so you and Mr Archer can rest." Guin had no idea whether Liam wanted to join her tonight or not, but if he did, he'd know where to find her. In the meantime, getting away from the almost visible dislike going back and forth between Cairbre and Liam would suit her very well.

Cairbre nodded. "Will do." Knowing Guin's habits as he did, he felt a flicker of hope - even when she retired early, Guinevere rarely went to bed early. Like him, she often suffered from insomnia. She would probably stay up reading, or even just sitting alone and thinking. This was a real chance to talk to her on their own.

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: October 11th, 2015, 7:13 pm 
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Ciaran snorted with contempt when he watched Liam accompany the captain, hand in hand. He didn't like him from the start; from the moment they'd met he felt scorn for him. The man was a great pretender, acting like someone he was not and associating with people who were not like him. Liam obviously didn't realise that he could never fit in the company of either Guinevere or Cairbre for the simple reason he didn't belong. This arrogance -or was it ignorance?- had formed Ciaran's judgement right away.

"It's irrelevant how she looks with him now," he spoke to Cairbre's back. Ciaran knew Cairbre's mask was slipping, how despair was clawing at him from the inside, eating away the last bit of hope. But he also knew how important it was to maintain a calm and controlled exterior, even though his emotions were raging inside him. "I still believe that when love is taken out of the equation, a woman picks a man who can provide for her, now and in the future. It's clear that on that area he is no match for you. And any fool can see the Captain is still in love with you."

His voice trailed away. Who would have thought that he would give advice on matters of the heart? He knew not how to make it beat harder with desire or longing. He had experienced the devastation of when this muscle, on which a life depended, was shattered or how quickly death followed when he stopped it.

When Cairbre spoke again, Ciaran was taken aback by his disarming question. The answer however was simple. "I would take it," he said without hesitation. "I would do anything for her." He lowered his voice so that the approaching couple wouldn't overhear him. "But there's nothing more I can do. He has taken her away from me." Ciaran grimaced. "That man.. he took her life."

He watched how the sun slowly sank into the water. The air seemed to be painted in a shade of orange, followed by fuchsia pink and when the sun had completely set purple. It was breathtaking. A picture of beauty, peace and tranquility. Usually, such a picture was distorted with pain or conflict. He vaguely heard the Captain speak but he only looked up when she and Liam had departed.

"We need some fresh water supplies for the journey ahead," he said, avoiding Cairbre gaze. "Other than that we can set sail tomorrow."

---------------------------------------

Liam joined Guinevere and the others on deck but let go of her hand. Cairbre's blank gaze and Ciaran's mocking glare hardly went unnoticed by him. That was right what he needed. Cairbre feeding lies to the bounty hunter about him. No more was needed to reinforce the man's dislike towards him.

Liam usually made friends easily among sailors, workmen and slaves- the ordinary Jamaicans. However, he had the natural tendency to pick fights or offend the wealthy, white men in Port Royal. He hated their snobbery and disdain for others and he was not afraid to tell them. This got him into trouble before. His attitude and the effect he had on Guin had ticked Cairbre off from the beginning. Liam suspected that under that thick layer of gentlemanism, there was a boiling anger that only surfaced incidentally, like when Eagle caught him sneaking into the house back in Devonshire. There and then, he had seen the anger in Cairbre's eyes, he had felt his unrestrained strength. He remembered how Guinevere intervened and comforted her fiancée. Liam knew that Eagle would want nothing more to be rid of him, and perhaps he was capable of doing it if he wanted to. And then, there was the bounty hunter; there was no question to where he was capable of.

Still, he nodded to both men as greeting and he didn't avoid their eyes when Guinevere spoke. When she mentioned Tim and Bathsheba, Liam looked around. Only now he noticed the empty decks and the lack of footsteps below deck. He scolded at himself inwardly. They should have taken measures to ensure these kids wouldn't bail on them halfway.

"Guin," Liam called out, when she was about to head below deck. He sprinted after her and tapped on her shoulder so she would turn and face him at the top of the stairs. He felt the gazes of the other men burning at his back, so he dropped his arm to his side. "I will go and fetch Bathsheba and Tim. Even though they are clumsy and not much of a help on deck, I would feel much better if they sailed with us to our destination."

Because we don't know who might be following us and who they might be talking to he added in his head. But he didn't say these words out loud. They both knew there a considerable chance they were being hunted.

Liam smiled; his usual grin was on his face. "I will be back soon, so we can sail before dawn."
He winked playfully at Guin and with that he disappeared.

--------------------------------------------

Tim thought for the next moments about what Bathsheba had told him. It felt strange to hear speak of a world that was so unknown to him. Of course, young girls were not allowed to go out and about on their own, but they usually had to work to support their families or they helped at home under the watchful eye of their mothers, until they married. But marriage was a necessity, courting and the prospect of a happy marriage a luxury that could not be afforded.

They walked on. Their surroundings became increasingly noisy and crowded, but Tim's thoughts were still far away so he hardly noticed returned to the harbour. Having no visual distractions, he easily slipped into the world of daydreaming or memories. It was a consolation that he could still see the images of his mind. He thought of England and the places he had known and seen. He thought of the road he used to take to the ropery, the house where he used to live, his family...

"Do you.." he started hesitantly. "Do you miss them? Your family?"

Hardly did he know that Bathsheba's thoughts had passed on to an entire other subject, or rather an entire other person. If Tim had known, he wouldn't have asked. Would he have known that Cairbre still occupied her mind, that ache in his chest would have increased. It was a heavy weight, that had pressed on his chest ever since Bathsheba and he had fallen out. It was a painful, unfamiliar sensation he did not know. It was known as heartbreak.

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: October 15th, 2015, 12:46 pm 
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"Do you.. Do you miss them? Your family?"

Bathsheba paused, distracted from her former thoughts. The image of Cairbre vanished from her mind, replaced by that of her family, whose faces she had not seen for a very long time. Of course she missed them; but it was difficult to admit this, even to herself. She had carried an enormous amount of resentment towards them for goodness knows how long. She blamed her father for losing all their money and reducing them to poverty. She hadn't seen him since he'd been sent away to the debtor's prison. As for her mother, Bathsheba had left her behind to go and find her fortune. Find her fortune! What a ridiculous notion that seemed now. She had been so full of dreams and aspirations once. Now she had no idea how she could ever have imagined them coming true.

"Yes, I do," came her eventual, awkward reply. She looked ahead, seeing the ship coming closer into view. "But... but I don't like to talk about it." It was far easier just to brush those memories away, or at least try to. What was the point in looking back now? She would likely never see any of her family ever again in her life. She had to look forward the best she could, otherwise there was no point in any of this - the journey to their new life, finding their feet in a foreign country, none of it.

Bathsheba pushed through the crowds and helped Tim approach the gangplank. It was then that she caught sight of one of the pirates, seemingly on the look out for them. Bathsheba couldn't help feeling annoyed. "It seems that we can't be trusted to our own devices," she muttered in Tim's ear so that Liam couldn't hear. She mustered a grudging smile as she helped Tim back on board. "If you were looking for us, we're here now," she said. She glanced at Cairbre, who was standing over by the rail with Ciaran, and then quickly looked away again.

~~~

Guinevere sat on her bed with a map spread out in front of her; it was weighed down by books as she ran her gaze across various points. She had changed out of her day clothes into her night clothes: an embroidered dressing gown, similar to the one she had owned back in Devonshire, fastened with a silver clasp at the waist and worn over a chemise of fine white lawn. It was clear that she was finding it difficult to concentrate on the map. The events of this evening were still fresh in her mind. The dislike between Liam and Cairbre was such a burden to bear - to put it lightly. How were they all supposed to work together in this tense atmosphere? They'd be lucky indeed if they ever made it to Jamaica in one piece.

She rolled up the map and impatiently pushed it away with the books, letting them fall to the floor. She breathed deeply, trying to hold onto a sense of stability. In truth, she had no idea what was going to happen. She was apprehensive over what manner of welcome they might have when they arrived in Port Royal. Their odd, thrown together crew would convince few people that they were simply respectable merchants and nothing more. What chance did they have of that? And with a woman captain, no less. One of the men was going to have to pose as the captain when they made it to the port - and after that they'd simply have to hope for the best.

Guin was still fearful, though. She dreaded the clamp of shackles around her wrists once again. The sore red marks from the last pair - the ones the bounty hunter had put her in - were gradually fading, but she couldn't shake the memory of how they felt. The feeling of being trapped, helpless. Condemned. All pirates feared the noose, and Guin was no different.

Her heart beating rapidly, she lay down, her long hair spreading out against the pillows as she stared up at the ceiling. She never felt more alone than when she was alone within the walls of these rooms - rooms that by rights belonged to another captain. She tried not to be superstitious and think that he had put a curse on her, never to succeed on her voyage. She stretched her arms above her head and closed her eyes, blocking out that thought.

~~~

"I would take it. I would do anything for her. But there's nothing more I can do. He has taken her away from me. That man.. he took her life."

Cairbre at once regretted his question. He had never suspected that the woman Ciaran loved was in fact dead. It had not been his intention to bring up all of the other man's pain and suffering. "I'm very sorry," Cairbre said quietly to him. There was nothing more that he could say. The idea of losing Guin, so dreadfully, so permanently, was terrifying - so much so that it sent an awful shiver down his spine. He watched as Liam and Guin went their separate ways, his heart thudding. Ciaran had no chance now to repair his relationship, but Cairbre did. He would be a fool not to take it.

He turned back to Ciaran and looked at him. "Fresh water supplies can wait, for now," he said, his tone mixing forced calmness with determination. "I'm going to go and talk to her. While I still have the opportunity..." he paused and offered a small smile. "Wish me luck, I suppose." With that he turned on his heel and strode off down the deck towards the stairs.

Once down the stairs, he found himself struck by sudden trepidation. He had a strange sensation in his throat as he slowly went along the corridor leading to the captain's cabin. His mouth was dry with nerves. He could catch the ghost of Guin's scent, as she had very recently been here. He thought of her behind that door and stopped in his tracks, leaning his back against the corridor panelling. There was a slight tremor in his hands. He longed to be in her presence, and yet at the same time he dreaded it - dreaded the thought of another rejection.

You won't know what might happen if you don't try, he told himself, and summoned all of his courage. He was ready to approach Guin's cabin door, when he suddenly heard a footstep behind him.

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: November 12th, 2015, 7:58 pm 
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The sounds of heels on the black and white marble tiles echoed through the wide hallway. The black silk brocaded with silver thread skimmed the floor, making rustling sound. Her fingers brushed over the envelope of expensive paper, while with decisive strides she made her way to her husband’s study. Lady Gray was quite a tall woman and her hips were broad; for easy child bearing or so the old wife tales said. But God had blessed her with only one child, just a daughter. The absence of a male heir had marked her life with frustration and grief, especially now it was too late; for wrinkles had appeared on her face and grey streaks showed in her raven black hair.

She carried herself with dignity and grace and she barely needed to nod to the footman for him to open the door to her husband’s study. The study was grand room with large windows and white marble tiles. The wooden panelling was made of a dark oak and countless of leather bound books gathered dust on the shelves. Lady Gray's gaze casually went through the room, used to all the splendour. She was a woman who didn't smile often. With her heavy eyelids and broad jaw her look was often one of arrogance. She turned to the man who sat behind a beautifully decorated desk; her husband.

Lord Gray looked up from his papers. His dark hair was bound back and he had an aristocratic face that betrayed his noble heritage at the first glance. He was a man of influence in the community of Port Royal and thus he treated those inferior to him with contempt, while he met his equals with a proud countenance. And yet, there was more to his haughty features that made his appearance more menacing: the cold and calculating look in his hazel eyes. This usually gave him the advantage over everyone in the room, except perhaps for his wife who could match his cunningness.

He looked at his wife from over his folded hands and he asked with his deep voice: "My dear, you come bearing news?"

"Indeed I am, Milord" his wife replied. Her lips had curled up in something that could not entirely pass for a smile.
"The Lady Granville has proven herself to be a worthy acquaintance after all. I must confess that I believed the Governor's wife to be capable of only witless chatter, but she surprised me." Lady Gray let out a joyless laugh and handed the letter to her husband.

"She has written me of a new guest of the Governor, an English Lord, who arrived in town not too long ago. She speaks very highly of him and claims that he has the King's favour."

Lord Gray scanned the letter silently. Contrary to his wife he was a man of a few words. "You are right, Milady. This seems like an opportunity we cannot ignore. I will make work of it and make sure we will meet this Lord Caithair Eagle."


-----------------


Liam had been quiet throughout the evening. Guinevere, having retired early, took a tray in her cabin, while the rest of them sat down on the mess deck for dinner. Their food was exceptionally good, since they had been able to buy fresh supplies in the city, but Liam hardly noticed it. He felt uncomfortable as he watched how Cairbre and Cairan had whispered together at one end of the table, while Tim and Bathsheba sat side by side at the other end.

His lack of allies was alarming while his trust in his one friend had not yet been restored. He was not likely win the sympathy price on this journey, neither did he in the company that set out from Devonshire. But he had not minded it then for his goal then had been clear, as well as the route he had to take to achieve it.

But now all of it seemed foggy. What would they do once they had arrived in Port Royal? Would Cairbre stick around like a shadow, following Guinevere's footsteps? Then he and Guinevere would never get a real chance. There was nothing in Port Royal left for him save for more enemies.

After dinner Liam headed towards the upper deck. The quiet of the night and the sight of a sky full of stars made the empty deck the perfect place to think. This night however, it didn't seem to work. His thoughts were going in circles, one question led to the other. Perhaps what he needed was not to think, but to let his heart lead him. It had gotten him in trouble before, but then it also got him out of trouble every time.

Liam realised his feet were taking him elsewhere: down a flight of stairs, through a narrow corridor, towards the Captain's cabin. But he didn’t stop to turn back; this was a matter of the heart, not the mind. He felt drawn to her with incredible force, like he had from the moment he had met her. He felt intoxicated by her and her look and touch was the only tonic. Would it be so bad to stop thinking for a moment and just to feel?

The wooden floor planks creaked under his boots as he neared the door of Guinevere’s cabin. The air was still warm below deck even if it was probably near to midnight, but Liam still shivered in anticipation. His hand was on the door’s handle, when he suddenly heard footsteps. He looked over his shoulder, wondering whoever would come here at such an hour. He stared into a pair of angry, blue eyes, that always looked at him with the same accusing look. Liam sighed and nodded his head.

“Eagle,” Liam spoke sharply. “A bit late for an evening stroll, don’t you think?"

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: November 13th, 2015, 9:09 pm 
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The greatest frustration of Jane's life was that she was not yet married. Time and time again she asked herself why this should be so. In her mind, she was everything a wife should be. She was beautiful, intelligent, well bred, and most importantly, organized. She saw everything in her life as a task to be completed. Cold and clever, she was more than capable of running her own household by now. She resented the fact that she lingered here still in her parents' home, waiting for a husband to be selected for her. The right candidate had never come along. The Grays clearly wanted nothing less than the best for their only daughter.

Jane wanted the best too. This was crystal clear in every aspect of her life. Standing before the full length looking glass placed in her chamber, Jane turned this way and that, examining her reflection at every angle. She wore a mantua of pale blue silk, which complimented her complexion perfectly. Jane was assiduously particular about the clothes she wore. She always made sure that she kept up to date with the latest London fashions, and would automatically discard any item of clothing which was no longer considered fashionable.

With a pleased smile, Jane sauntered out of her chamber and went to take breakfast. As she daintily sipped from a cup of tea, she wondered where her mother had got to. They usually sat together at this time in the morning. No doubt Lady Gray was in her husband's study, where most of their plotting about one thing or another took place. Jane thought it was about time that the two of them chose to include her in their discussions. She wanted certainty about her future, and at the present it had never been more uncertain.

Jane added a spoonful of sugar to her tea and stirred it irritably. She was sick and tired of biding her time. When could her time be if not now?

~~~

“Eagle. A bit late for an evening stroll, don’t you think?"

"I could say the same to you," Cairbre said coldly. There was Liam, standing outside Guinevere's cabin door without shame, looking at Cairbre as if he was the intruder. Cairbre had seem Liam about to turn the door handle, clearly intending to go in without knocking, as if he had already been invited. A frown marked Cairbre's brow as anxiety and anger raced through him. He had promised himself that he would try his best to talk with Guinevere tonight. He'd had this one chance, and here Liam was standing in his way, dashing his hopes as if they meant nothing.

Cairbre couldn't let this happen. All he asked for was a conversation that was well overdue. "I'm here to speak with Guinevere," he said steadily. "So I'm afraid I must ask you to stand aside, if you would." He was too tense to care if this sounded pompous or arrogant. He didn't care what misconceptions Liam had about him. All he cared about was taking this chance whilst he still could. He remained unmoving where he stood, indicating that he was not about to go anywhere.

It was then that the cabin door opened, revealing Guinevere herself. Cairbre turned instantly to face her, hope springing in his heart. His heart pounded at so painfully fast a pace that it was a wonder it didn't burst straight through his ribs. Guin's red hair was tumbled about her shoulders in shining locks, and she was attired for night. It pained him to think of how separate he was from her now, when he was used to living with her closely, to them spending their days and nights together. He struggled to find words but found that he was struck dumb. Searching for his voice, he suddenly realized that several candles were lit within the cabin behind Guin.

He was struck by a realization that was agonizingly obvious. He looked at Guin, searching her face. She seemed surprised to see him here - but not surprised to see Liam. She had been waiting up for him. Why else were the candles lit at this time of night? Why else would Liam not knock before going into her cabin?

Deadly pale, Cairbre stepped back. Guinevere's blue eyes went from him to Liam, and she held tightly onto the door frame with one hand. She was trying to remain calm, but the way her shoulders rose and fell made it clear that her breathing had become uneven. She bowed her head for a moment, looking desperately at the floor as if it would give her the answer as to what she should do, before looking up again. Cairbre watched as Guin's gaze went to Liam.

He knew what was happening here already. But he needed to hear it from Guinevere. "Guin," he said very softly, trying to hold back his grief, "what's going on? It's alright... you can tell me." It very clearly was not alright. But he needed to hear it.

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: December 22nd, 2015, 6:33 pm 
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The moonlight couldn't reach the cramp underdeck passages and since these were not lit by lanterns, Liam and Cairbre were veiled by shadows. And that was how Liam felt; his thoughts had been dark of late, but Cairbre's arrogant response only seemed to engulf him deeper in this dark mist.

He took a few steps away from the door which led to the Captain's cabin until he stood so near to Cairbre that he could distinguish the blue in the man's suspicious looking eyes in the dark.

"No, I won't let you pass," Liam replied curtly. "Why don't you leave her alone, Eagle? Why don't you give her some space?"

Liam felt anger building up inside him as noticed how indignation spread over his adversary's face, how his brow furrowed and eyes narrowed. Cairbre could act as hurt and dejected as he wanted but Liam only saw ignorance. What did Eagle know about Guinevere's suffering after his disappearance? The trials he had to overcome when they were on the run and keeping Guinevere alive, while still recovering from his gunshot wound. An injury he had suffered during his attempt to save both Eagle and Guinevere.

"You died," Liam whispered, still his words were perfectly audible to Cairbre. "To her, you died," Liam repeated this time more forcefully and he poked with his index finger in Cairbre's chest. "And she wanted to follow you to the Hereafter, begged me to let her die, cold and alone at the side of the road."
Liam was almost shouting now but he didn't care. "But she got better after some time, she grieved and accepted that you were gone. So why on earth is it so difficult for you to give her some space?"

When the cabin's door opened and Guinevere appeared, Liam fell silent and his hand dropped to his side. Although Guin's sharp gaze quickly assessed the situation as usual, she seemed at a total loss of how to diffuse the confrontation between the two of men. Liam turned and took a few steps back. He ran his hand through his long dark hair, but his brown gaze automatically wandered back to Guinevere. She looked stunning, clad in simple white nightgown and bathed in gold candle light. He felt enchanted by her beauty, her gaze and voice. And he knew with certainty that Cairbre felt the same. She had bewitched them, body and soul, and neither of them would give up until they had won her heart.

"Don't act so shocked," Liam commented mockingly on Cairbre's words of disbelief. "For you were the proficient once in stealing to her cabin unnoticed or sneaking to dark corners where you would not be noticed."

It seemed ages ago now, when they had all sailed on the Anne Boleyn and Liam still believed Guin had chosen him. Now he knew that she had given her heart to Cairbre back then and they had made secret preparations to leave together.

"How could you be the one to cast the first stone? "

~

The door to the breakfast parlour opened and Lady Gray entered. Her dark eyes scanned every detail of the ornate room, while she walked gracefully to the breakfast table. She slowly sat herself down at the table and watched how a footman poured her tea. Then the lady of the house pulled her cup and saucer closer and took a sip.

"Jane, dear," she finally addressed her daughter. "What does the Lord say about excess?" She glared pointedly at the cup of tea in Jane's hand and then with a wave of her hand signalled one of the footmen. Immediately one of the young men sprang into action and swiftly took the sugar pot away. There was a long silence in which Lady Gray ate some of her toast. The only sound was the clinking of china and the ticking of the pendulum.

"You ought to thank your father when you see him, Jane," she said with her heavy, proud voice. "He has just agreed to call on a very important man in town and when he is our guest, I want you to look at your very best."

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 Post subject: Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)
PostPosted: December 24th, 2015, 4:11 am 
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Guinevere looked between the two men, feeling utterly lost for words. She had been expecting and hoping for only Liam at her door, but here she was confronted with the two of them, both of them angrier than she had ever seen them. Cairbre was pale with shock and anger, looking at Liam as if he would have liked to hit him. As yet, Guin made no move away from the door, feeling choked and even a little afraid. She really didn't need for this to be happening. The truth was that this had been boiling up for God knows how long, and it was only a matter of time before the situation exploded. Still, Guin did not feel ready for it. They had all been put through so much already.

"You have the nerve to accuse me?" Cairbre said to Liam, his blue eyes blazing with fury and resentment. "You, who from the very first treated Guinevere like a piece of meat? You, who were always so bold and insolent in your approach? For the love of God! You demanded a kiss in trade for helping Guin escape Port Royal. You think I never guessed that? That is not the action of a decent man who means to treat a woman honourably. I said to Guin from the first - how likely is it that such a man will stay and care for her?"

Guinevere looked on, for a moment very still and silent. Her features had dropped the lost, stunned look, replaced by an expression of intense anger. She stepped forward, her hand dropping from the door frame. "Enough!" she exclaimed loudly. Cairbre's head immediately turned away from Liam, towards her. "Enough," she repeated, sounding more dangerous than she had for a long time. She spoke only to Cairbre; it was as clear as day that he was the one who had earned her displeasure. "How dare you speak like that! You have no idea about what kind of a man Liam is, nor will you ever. You have no right - no right to speak against him. I think that you had best leave, Cairbre, before you make a complete fool of yourself."

Silenced, Cairbre stared at Guinevere as if she had struck him across the face. Guinevere stood straight and proud, her chin raised a little. He saw at once that he had gone too far. And yet he felt absolutely unable to admit it. Instead, his anger towards Liam only grew greater still. "Why are you so blind in regard to him?" he whispered, wishing that Liam would vanish into thin air.

"Why are you so blind?" Guin shot back, her gaze burning. "Why won't you accept that I've made my choice? That I know my own mind! How can you presume to think you know everything about me?"

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