William Brand

The Watch Dog

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This thread is provided for those writers that make up the crew of the Watch Dog. This thread is for contributions to the tale of the Watch Dog. Any comments or questions about the Watch Dog outside of the story can be sent to the Captain or any other crew member you may wish to address. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Further information about the Watch Dog can be found in the first enstallment entitled "Pyrates of the West Coast, Chipping Under Oakwood" here on the Pub and in "Tome of the Watch Dog" on the Watch Dog website.

Anyone wishing to join the story may contact William Red Wake or Dorian Lasseter to see how, where and when they might enter into the tale. We are ever seeking new writers and players for our small stage.

For more information, please visit our website at: The Watch Dog

The Watch Dog

Book ll

Prologue

In the summer of 1704, a clergyman possessed of a small fortune and no small desire to adventure upon the seas of the Caribbean, rescued an aging ship from the brink of decay. The Nubian Trader was all but lost to the erosion of time and the sea when it was purchased by the Monsignor Diego de la Vega for a modest sum and towed to safe harbors.

Once secured, she underwent a resurrection of a kind, brought back to life by the ministrations of many craftsman and carpenters. Mallets and mauls were employed day and night in an effort to recover what might have been lost in a few short weeks. The fires of the blacksmith's forge never diminished in those few days and the pitch fires burned brightly day and night.

As she rose from her own ashes, literally restored by fires fueled from her own ancient hemp and timbers, wanderers from every walk of life found their way to her. Many of them were but dusty vagabonds attracted to the idea of liberty and spoils. Some came for escape. Some came for work. Each of them had a story, a past, and a shadow. By all estimations, they were a mixed lot of many talents both elevated and devious. Craftsman, soldiers, sailmakers, pirates, gentlemen, cooks, scoundrels, ladies, and able seamen all gathered into a crew that took shape as quickly as the ship herself. They were the strangest flock ever gathered under one clergyman.

They worked day and night together, restoring the ship in ten shorts days, and before the paint was yet dry they were speaking of her by a different name. What had been the blackbirder, known as the Nubian Trader, was now the Watch Dog. The noble head of a sober mastiff replaced the wasted figurehead, long since damaged by time and neglect. A second bell was cast bearing the ship's new name. And the stern was set with new stars and a warning... ...Cavete a Canibus.

Beware of the Dogs.

The weeks that followed the Watch Dog's rebirth were filled with events marked by tragedy and discovery. Friendships were made. Loyalties secured. Alliances came from strange quarters. Bargains were struck. Enemies were rooted out. The moon did not wax fully twice before they had seen thefts, poisonings, celebrations, kidnappings, festivals, accusations, rewards, drownings, imprisonments, escapes, deaths, proclamations, funerals and all manner of treacheries. As the Bard himself had written in his day, "...the funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables..." for tragedy was often followed swiftly upon by great prosperity, and death and life mingled daily on her decks.

Much that can and ought to be said of that first chapter in the Watch Dog's history is too deep and too varied for a simple explanation. Like a Moses, it is often easier to summarize the whole of creation in a few short verses. Like the Watch Dog herself, the narrators that make up her small crew are ever compelled to move forward with the wind rather than spend too long a time in any one place.

What follows is the second chapter in the travels and travails of the Watch Dog.

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July 18, 1704 - Aboard the Watch Dog

2 Bells of the Morning Watch

William awoke in a darkness that was quickly giving over to grey, and he knew that the dawn was almost upon them. As tired as he had been, he might have slept on into the morning late, but his thoughts would not have let him. Instead, he slipped from his hammock and bedclothes, and once he had on shirt and breaches, he went barefoot into the Ward Room. Here, he set out his logbooks and the few charts he had in his possession, giving special attention to those marked with the tiny island of La Blanquilla.

Somewhere ahead of him at the foremost part of the quarterdeck, the bell inscribed with the ship's name was being struck. He noted what could only be the second bell of morning watch and he began to pen notes in his logbook at once.

After a time, the Quartermaster noted the light coming through the small windows to either side of the wheelhouse and he might have tipped his hat to the Captain below, but William was too engrossed in his charts to look up from them. Instead, Mister Lasseter sent Jerrod Styles to fetch the Captain's Steward, that she might be available for errands and orders.

All the while, William scrutinized the charts of La Blanquilla with a heavy magnifying glass. The charts, while detailed in numbers and positions, were almost bereft of any real decoration and William wondered, not for the first time, if La Blanquilla was a barren place. It was called "The White One" and William was hopeful that the name implied clean beaches or white stone. It was his fear that the name might be a kinder way of saying "The Barren One" or "The Stark Island". He could see no streams, ponds or places of water marked anywhere on the maps of it and this was a concern too important not to be worried about. It was ever on the mind of any Captain, that while surrounded by water, he should be concerned of water. One could never go far over the salt seas of the Earth without something fresh in one's own stores.

And to counterpoint this thought, Tudor Smith arrived in the Ward Room bearing a tray freshly fetched from the galley, and featured among the many delicacies of the tray, was a glass of fresh water.

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The QuarterMaster rubbed his eyes with his fingertips, trying to delay the wish to sleep that much longer... as he heard and recorded the last throw of the logline, and as the stars faded, he took a bearing on the Morning star with the quadrant... Once he made his calculations, he took sightings with the Astrolabe, calculated those numbers and checked them against the quadrant. It was time to make what was hopefully the final course adjustment to bring them to La Blanquilla...

"Mr. Brisbane, make yer headin' NorthWest if ye please.... All Hands to braces!"

"Aye Mr. Lasseter, NorthWest it is..."

"Well Nigel... we should see Los Hermanos islands 'round six bells, fine on th' starb'd bow... keep a sharp eye... we should make landfall by eight bells if m'figures 'r right... which... they are..."

He chuckled at his seriousness and Nigel grinned but made no comment. Dorian put the logbook back in its hole and walked to the lee side of the quarterdeck, placed his hands on the rail and stretched his back, then he swung his arms around, working some blood through them while stiffleing a yawn. It had been a fine night of sailing, but a long night with morning creeping upon the ship. The QuarterMaster needed something more than just a rub of his eyes to ward off Lord Morpheus...

"Mr. Brisbane... I'll be heading to the Galley for a moment... send word if necessary, but I won't be long..."

Nigel nodded and quickly knuckled his forehead to Mr. Lasseter, who nodded and turned away walking to the stairs to the waist then made his way into the galley where he was greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee and morning vittles...

"Mr Gage... a fine mornin'... coffee... don' spare th' sugar... an' some milk fer colour too..."

Mr. Gage smiled as he poured a tankard full of the pungent liquid, then added what was asked to the QuarterMaster's liking.

"There ya go sir... enjoy..."

"Many thanks, Lad... Many thanks..."

Mr. Lasseter smiled, tentatively took a sip...

"Ahhh... perfection... "

Holding the tankard up as a salute he turned and exited the galley, out into the morning air from where he came, heading back to his post...

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::Eric walks out of the cabin and I grab his shoulders,

"Mate, 'pon these surroundin' yer head lays a great responsibility now. You an' I be in charge of the arms and mutions for each mate 'ere 'pon the Dog. Cap'n an Mr. Lasster are makin way t'words La Blanquilla jus' up tha sea 'ere. Get yer rest now as when we lay anchor, rest mebbe a bit 'ard ta come bye . . ."

A slight grin comes upon Eric's face. He nods slowly and hangs his hammock.

"I'll be topside when ya come about . . ." I turn down the shaded lantern and close the door behind me.

Moving up the ladder stairs, the smell of the sea brings me to close my eyes and inhale deeply. Finding Mr. Lasseter standing near the Quarterdeck, I make may way up to him.

"Fine mornin' sah. How goes the Cap'n?"

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"Mornin' Mr. PEW... Cap'n's awake... still in the Wardr'm... hasn't made an appearance as of yet... he could e'en go back ta sleep fer 'nuther handful o' turns o' th' glass... "

He did his best to stiffle another yawn by holding his tankard up to his mouth, then took a drink.

"Still a ways off o' makin' landfall... "

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After Mr. Lasseter had happily left the galley with his coffee in tow I returned to my mornings work. I was glad to have some things to do to keep my mind busy and my wits sharp. T he recent days had been taxing to say the least and the gentle movements of the Watch Dog as she made her way in the water were comforting to say the least. Nothing special about this morning’s breakfast, just skillygalee and hard tack, none the less it was good to be working and that made it all the sweeter.

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The Captain's Steward came and went twice from the Ward Room as William picked at the tray before him, stopping often to add notations to his logbook. The third time she entered the room he asked her to invite Mister Lasseter to the Ward Room and sent her again to bring added fare to the table.

Meanwhile, William paused amidst his many calculations in order to finish dressing and washed his face and hands in a basin as its contents sloshed back and forth with the Watch Dog's progress. He combed back his unruly red hair and considered the unshaven parts of his face in the mirror awhile before taking up a cup, brush and razor. He was soon shaving as easily as he might have on shore, already accustomed to the irregular motion of the ship as she pitched an yawed.

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The QuarterMaster stood near the helm, keeping watch over the deck and sails. His eyes often traveled the upper reaches of the masts, watching the lookouts along with the measure of the sails. He occasionally looked around at the horizon, peering through one of the ships glasses usually in the direction he expected to see the signs of land. On one such occasion Ms. Smith came across the quarterdeck and informed him that his presence was requested by the Captain.

"Thank you Miss Smith... I shall be there soon..."

She curtseyed and turned away as he put the glass back in it's niche, stretched his shoulders and yawned...

"Pass word fer Mr. Badger!"

He yelled down to the main deck. Not long after the Bo'sun appeared.

"Mr. Badger, Cap'n 'n I'll be in th' Wardroom... you have th' deck...."

"Aye Sah!"

He replied with a quick salute. Dorian nodded and retrieved his empty tankard from the binnacle and headed down the after scuttle, directly into the Wardroom.

"Mornin' Cap'n... did you sleep well?"

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The sounding of footstep beyond chamber door roused her hazily to wakefulness. Content for the moment to remain relaxed in the embrace of canvas sway, she reached out with senses of hearing and scent to the dim surround and scowled in minute manner. Something lay amiss and sleep fogged mind stumbled through normal rituals regarding early hours of the day to finite the error.

Sitting up just enough to peer over sail cloth borders, the realization struck. Realities of yesterday's existance and its happenings so squelched by slumber charged forward to leer and taunt, for it was the presence of china vessel and pungent aroma that were astray. Jacquelyn sat up fully to glean the dim encompasment of quarter's walls and the spaces in betwixt. Same room, same furnishings, but empty of objects and possesions with the exception of the large linen shirt worn to softness.

With haunted sigh, the Surgeon placed daint bare feet to wooden surface below, too distracted with Armand's absence to note she was not alone. Stepping to small basin, she half filled its concave round and splashed water on pixie features in effort to wake further before taking linen adornment in hand. It was brought near and she inhaled deeply the linger of scent that spoke of its former owner, feeling a prick of burn touch her sinuses. The Gascon had always chided her about thieving the old adornment, claiming that she expected her own flesh and blood to parade about bare to the world. It had been an ongoing banter that Armand had played as though it were the only shirt in his possesion...The burn gained stregnth.

Raphael had woken from cat nap in shadowed far corner chair at movement occuring in proximity. After returning hours before, he had checked neighboring charges, making notations of Nathan's progress then settled in the chair for the remaining night's vigil. She had been deep in slumber with his arrivale and had remained that way until now. The pale jade sights had watched the grace of her movements that lent further proof to mentionings of training; ingrained mannerisms that bespoke of an accomplished dancer ...or dominator of the square.

He said nothing, nor moved as his companion removed night's adornments to replace them with britches of knee legnth an the oversized shirt that had hung hook. She had seemed deeply distracted, unawares of his being near and though Raphael had intention of making himself known, to do so now might prove more than uncomfortable to manage than he cared to deal with. So he clung to shadowy post and said nary a word as Jacquelyn dressed and quietly departed.

The Frenchman watched silently as she closed the door and assumed that it was to upper reaches that she headed. Footsteps fading, Raphael-Entienne Chanault remembered suddenly that breathing was not a matter of convience, but a required function...

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"No." William said, turning from the mirror half shaven and smiling. He gestured to the waiting tray, then turned back to finish his task. "How far now to La Blanquilla?"

"Landfall by eight bells, Cap'n." he replied, as sure of the time as he was sure that he could sleep sprawled out on coral. He drew out a chair facing the Captain and began to sample Mister Gage's morning efforts.

"Excellent. You did good service at La Margarita. If it was in my power to promote you any higher I would. However, you may take two watches together for sleep if you like."

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"Excellent. You did good service at La Margarita. If it was in my power to promote you any higher I would. However, you may take two watches together for sleep if you like."

Mr. Lasseter almost choked on a bite of biscuit, then swallowed...

"Promote me higher... ye do me much honour, but I am quite happy where I presently am in this position... Thank you never the less.... As fer sleep, soon as we sight Los Hermanos isles and or La Blanquilla, then I will take ye up on the slumber time... If, I can... "

He took another bite of biscuit laden with butter, then looked over the other fare, took a slice of cold ham and folded it halfways before taking a bite.

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(Ciaran awakened from the slumber of the dead -- his first solidly sound sleep in many days. As he swung off his hammock onto the wooden floor, he stretched and yawned. The sun were now up, a bit o'er the horizon, and the sounds from the deck spoke of a promising day ahead.

The lookout made his way to the galley fer a bit of coffee.)

Mornin' to ye, Mister Gage. What can ye offer a hungry brother on this bright morn?

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The Surgeon stopped briefly in Mister Gage's realm to order the china pot's filling of void. Proffering brief conversation of friendly manner to those present, she begged leave with china in possesion to check on medical charges. Nathan was awake and his condition seemed to be in better light than the eve before. She assured him that morning meal was in preperation and perhaps some air above would be the order of the day for a short while.

Duties attended to, Jacquelyn made for the Great Cabin to offer report. As she covered the short distance betwixt and between, her mind pondered the whereabouts of Monsieur Chanault. The thoughts lingered not overlong, resolving with the assumption that the young Frenchman was more than likely above savoring the morning's proffer of freshning air.

At Ward entrance, she jostled her load to renewed balance and knocked lightly to announce arrivale.

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"Enter." William called without turning, but his attention was captured by the Ship's Surgeon as she entered the room. "Doctor..."

"Captain."

Mister Lasseter stood as she came in and William wasn't sure if he should finish shaving or not. Then, as before, he gestured to the fare at the table. "Please. Join us."

Then he wiped away the remaining soap, judging his moustache and small beard in the glass as he did so.

Mister Lasseter was around the table in a moment, brandishing the only weapon more dangerous than his mortuary sword. His smile. He drew out a chair for Tempest and William amused himself at the quiet exchange between them as he stepped from the room to put away his razor, brush and cup.

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Dorain held out the chair for the Surgeon, allowing her to easily set her burden on the table and take her ease. Once she was comfortable, he went back to his chair and sat as well, offering her the platter of galley fare.

"Cap'n 'n I were just speakin' of what th' day shall bring us... we'll be sightin' La Blanquilla by eight bells... most likely see Los Hermanos isles sooner, fine on the starb'd bow.... I s'pose the crew will find 'emselves all on deck, gawkin' at wot there is ta see... "

He stopped a moment and put his hand to his face, stiffling a yawn...

"So... did ye sleep well? An' how's Monsieur Chanault? I s'pose it'll take 'im a time ta get used to r' ways... "

Dorian looked from the Surgeon to the Captain and back, waiting for coments from either...

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As dawn greets my eyes, I step onto the deck with anticipation of a wondrous new day. My heart is singing and insticntively, my flute is drawn from my belt and I begin a soft melody in sync with the sounds of the ocean below.

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Tempest thanked Dorian for his propriety and declined the offer of fare, food was not of interest for the time being. Appetite had gone into retreat and lay in deep hiding, though she filled the delicate China from its kin and listened to what the order of day was.

Her replies in overall were without flourish in wording, though to the point. In regard to new companion, the Surgeon hesitated momentarily and as she was to give response, side movemnent cut momentum. Glancing sidelong to origin gave view to the Captain's reappearance dressed properly in legnth of black coat's shrouding.

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William took a seat at the head of the table and set many of his charts aside, apart from that which portrayed La Blanquilla and the isles of Los Hermanos with the best accuracy. Then he helped himself to the food with the first real relish of the day.

He noticed at once the look of Armand's departure in Tempest's face and could hear it in her answers. She was not enjoying his absence, and she seemed reticent to talk about it. He had thought to ask he about Chanault, but he chose a different track instead, steering her away from her own thoughts with talk of La Blanquilla.

"In speaking with Lady Ilex I have learned that her small fortune is sheltered on one of the small crusts of land at Los Hermanos. She discovered a sheltered cave quite near shore, which at the time was tinted red by the setting sun. She babbled much on the subject of red curtains, and whether she meant the rocks under the hue of Sol's departure or the brothel back on La Margarita, I cannot be sure. Her instructions were enough I think to discover the place by an exercise of exploration. I at least understand which of the small islands it is, and I believe, while the time of year may not be right, we may discover if there is anything to this 'red curtains'. If not, our own determination should be enough. The crew shouldn't mind the search given the quarry."

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::In the dawn's early light, I found myself too preoccupied to rest up. Back to our cabin I find Eric still freting away the night in his hammock. Taking a shaded lantern from below I head back to the main deck. Finding several crewmates also not sleeping and already attended to their chores, I gathered their attention to head to the fo'castle deck.

Several quizzed faces return my instructions, yet gather and head forward.

Once atop, the 5 of us move a small barrel to the starboard side, right close to Bloody Thunder. I set the lantern on a small barrel.

"Grab a seat mates, and grab yer coins, 'cause yer about ta lose yer share to yer master at arms."

Several eyes light up and reach for what their backsides can fit upon.

"Games simple mates, each player 'as four dice anna agreed number of coins. Ye jus' might as well gim'em ta me, 'cause that's where there gonna end up . . " Chuckles arise from the crew and we continue . . .

"This 'ere small wooden bowl, goes in tha middle 'ere. Thatcher 'ere throws all four o' 'is dice.

ifin 'es lucky enough ta throw a pair, likin ta two 1's, two 2's, two 3's, whate'er, 'e calls "In !" and puts one coin in the pot. Tha next player, you Mr Smyth then throw yer dice. Ifin 'e throws a pair, Mr. Smyth calls "In !" and adds ano'er coin to tha pot.

We go roun'n'roun 'til one a you lot throws an "out !" or an "In and In"

Ifin yer sadsacks be failin ta throw two matching numbers, 'e cries"Out !".

Tha' means yer sittin' out 'til tha game is over, whilst tha last o' us continue the game.

Ifin ye be lucky enough ta throw two pairs, ya cries "In and In!" an 'e wins the whole pot.

Once tha pot 'as been won, tha game is over, and a new game begins, ifin ye gots tha coin.

This 'ere match continues'til one player has won all of the coins, or ya can jus' give'em ta me an save yerselves tha frustration an embarassment." Again those men listening chuckle and lean forward on their stools.

"One last thing you bilge rats, ifin ye gots no coins left, ye must throw an "In and In" ta stay in tha match, if ye throws only an "in" ye cannot meet yer bet, so we's toss ya's o'erboard." Mr. Morrell laughs and slaps Andrew Smyth on the shoulder nearly knocking him off his stool. "Jus' kiddin ya boys, ye must quit and let tha rest o' us finish tha match.

"Remember now, three matching numbers only counts as one pair ("in"), an four matching numbers counts as two pairs ("In and In")."

Each man around the barrel nods and reaches into their pants for their small coin satchels.

Standing and handing the dice to Mr. Thatcher, "ye may begin Mr. Thatcher."

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Mr. Lasseter stroked his chin and leaned over to look at the charts...

"So th' ol' wench hid 'er lot on one o' these rocks, eh?"

He pointed to the grouping of isles to the southeast of La Blanquilla.

"I 'spect ya wanna make landfall on La Blanquilla first, then say... send a party in th' cutter ta scout out Los Hermanos?"

While the Captain contemplated the possibilities, Dorian looked at the Surgeon. She sat with a slightly disconnected look about her, drinking from her fine china. Dorian tried to catch her eye nonchalantly, but she seemed too deep in her thoughts, so he gently tapped his fingers on the table, hoping to catch her attention. Finally she looked his way, to which he raised an eyebrow. Tempest gathered what he was 'asking' and slightly shook her head, mouthing the word 'later'.

"Well, Cap'n... wot say you?"

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“Ah, Ciaran you seem well rested. Let’s see what I can get ye. Some coffee o’course, there’s some fresh skillygalee, hard tack, and I think I still have a few a few slices o’ ham layin’ about here somewhere. How does that sound to ye Sir?”

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A portion of seachest was now stowed within the areas recently vacated by previouse owner. Raphael paused momentarily to gaze upon uniforms that had been daily ware for so long, now rendered of no use unless incident occured. The drab trappings hanging in brushed company looked dowdy in comparison to his mind, but would suit requirements. The chest was given a finale once over, its false bottom well concealed and secured before lid being droped and locked.

The pale sights traveled quarter's area and hesitated briefly where earlier incident had occured. The young Frenchman pushed thoughts from his mind in regard to what was viewed and removed the staleness of current shirt to gain basin's attentions. A light breeze played though opened port, causing a slight chill to watered flesh as he looked into his reflected image in small hanging mirror. Stepping back a pace, the oval brought into view the faded tracings of scar crossing at angle his chest.

Queue was unbound to be rectified; fresh shirt was obtained and donned; small pistol concealed from obvious presence. Satisfied as well could be, Raphael quit the chamber's encompassment, reseating the wide brimed hat to gain weather decks above.

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Seeing that Mr. Pew had come above deck Bill handed the log line off to his replacement.

"Mr. Pew terrible sorry te interrupt yer game sar, but I be wantin' te make ye awares that I be trained as a gunsmith in addition to me other talents and Mr. Bly has enough smarts te assist me. Mind ye we can't make fresh arms from scratch wit out the proper tools, but the blacksmith n' the cooper be possessed of all we need te repair er improve what already be aboard, and any time ye've need o' us we be at yer service, same fer Mr. Franklin."

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“Ah, Ciaran you seem well rested. Let’s see what I can get ye. Some coffee o’course, there’s some fresh skillygalee, hard tack, and I think I still have a few a few slices o’ ham layin’ about here somewhere. How does that sound to ye Sir?”

Ah, hard tack and ham will suit me fine. Gramercy.

(Ciaran seated himself, with a cup of Mr. Gage's hot coffee, on a small wooden bench)

Tis good to be back on the open water, is it not, Lazarus? I had my fill of La Margarita.

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"Aye, Mister Lasseter. We'll circumnavigate the whole of La Blanquilla and see the lay of the land. I'll want a slow and deliberate sounding of all her reefs and shoals. If we accomplish this inside of the first day prior to dark, then we shall shadow Los Hermanos while the cutter and barge go ashore there in search of the Ilex fortune. Otherwise, we shall seek it again tomorrow."

"Aye, Cap'n."

William turned his attention then to Miss Fitzgerald. "What of your patients?"

She blinked once, coming back from some other thoughts. "Nathan is much better this morning, Captain. I believe he will recover completely and Jonas should thereafter."

"Good. Very good. I should like to speak with Nathan in a short time if it is permitted."

"If you would do so, then I would ask that you do not tire him."

"As you wish. I will be brief. As for Jonas, I will ask my questions of him only after I have some more understanding by way of Mister Flint."

"Aye...Flint. 'e 'as been at the log line these many 'ours, Cap'n." Mister Lasseter piped in between a forkfuls of cold ham. William raised his left eyebrow at this and Tempest frowned a little, both of them surprised that he should be at any labor following the toils of the previous day. Mister Lasseter only shrugged a bit and added, "The lad couldn't find sleep."

William nodded outwardly and perhaps Tempest nodded inwardly.

"Well...see that he finds it when you retire later this morning, Mister Lasseter. I best go up and greet the day."

William rose from his seat, and they both made as if to stand, but he held out both hands to wave them down again. He told them to finish their meals at their leisure and join him on the weather decks later. He picked up his hat and went up the aft scuttle to the quarterdeck, leaving them alone and knowing they would both benefit from the quiet and privacy of the place.

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