Welcome

Welcome to Beat to Quarters, a Play-by-Post Text Roleplay set in 1741. It's the Age of Sail, and also the Age of Piracy here in the West Indies. Will you fight for King and Country and uphold the law here at the edge of colonial civilization? Or will you pillage and plunder to your black heart's content? The wind's a-blowin' and the sea awaits, so prepare for adventure...

The Tale So Far

September, 1741:

Madre de Dios, a Spanish galleon loaded with gold, is on her way back to Europe with her convoy. But an ambush lies in wait for her in the Inaguas – the Sea Hound is planning a bold assault on the larger ship, her pirate crew willing to risk it all for gold and glory. But Sea Hound is both predator and prey, as the HMS Steadfast closes in for another encounter with her quarry. The deadly showdown between the three forces is fast approaching...

The Ship's Documents
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Officers on Deck
You may contact the staff through the private message link in their profiles.

Admins:
Liz
(Lei, Lioe)

Moderators:
Elena
(Ian, Nyell)



Ship Captains:
Jonathan Silas Thorne
Captain of the Steadfast
Rodrigo Sol Valera
Captain of the Sea Hound

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Featured Player:
Liz
Daniel Hedge, Annette Williams



Liz's enthusiasm, dedication, and talent all make her an invaluable member of the BtQ community! Her recent character, Dr. Daniel Hedge has proved to be a fine addition to Steadfast's crew, and a source of brilliant posting. Her commitment to character development makes each of her posts a joy to read.
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 Crimson night, starting the battle - open for all
Rodrigo Sol Valera
Posted: Jul 12 2011, 02:58 PM
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Group: Admin
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Member No.: 70
Joined: 24-October 09



The goat had been doing its duty, carefully kept by two men. Fingal’s previous experience had shown that one might not be enough with such a treacherous beast. But its swaying once the lantern got safely tied between its horns seemed to attract exactly the needed prey.

The gunners had taken their positions too. The night had barely fallen, more than half of a moon was spreading enough light to guess what was around…

“Three masts at horizon!” a shout came from the fighting platform.

“What direction?” Sol asked a bit angrily, even if the surprise was more than pleasant.

That boy could learn to deliver information properly… Yes, he was young, but he had a few months aboard the ship already, and if nobody took care to teach him, worse for them!

“About a quarter to starboard, Captain!” the boy answered after a slight hesitation, probably to remember the compass. “I saw their position lights too!”

These were good news. Finally there was a battle ahead – hopefully successful. Sol gave the orders immediately:

“Teo, pipe all hands on deck, ready for combat!” he asked the boatswain, who was nearby, then he turned to the sailing master: “Feliciano, get the weather gauge in order to quickly engage her and have her feel our broadsides!”

The chase for their silver dream had started. Once all men on the deck, he looked at them and said:

”Take your positions at the guns and roast her masts when she comes handy! Take care not to sink her, because Davy Jones doesn’t give anything back from below her decks! The ones willing to go boarding her first, get your grappling hooks, lines and axes handy!”


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NPC Ian
Posted: Jul 21 2011, 04:22 PM
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Member No.: 141
Joined: 10-November 10



The Madre de Dios slowly made its way towards the light they suspected to be that of La Princesa. The signal gun had been fired to herald their approach, but no response had been given. This had caused a deal of unrest amongst the officers and men alike, and so the crew of the Madre had fully cleared for action. All of Don Froilán's soldiers were on deck, there muskets loaded and ready. Below deck each of the batteries were ready to spring into action at the first sign of trouble. In the rigging the topsmen awaited orders should the sheets need to be trimmed or opened.

Duarte Vigo e Fontan held the wheel of the Madre himself, cautiously guiding her towards their destination. His fatigue seemed to have fallen away at this new excitement, although his head was pounding from the ceaseless hours he had spent straining his eyes this night.

The majority of eyes were fixed upon the light ahead of them, however the slightest murmuring of sound coming from somewhere off the port side caused Rey to look for its source. He saw nothing in the darkness, at least not from this level. "Ramiro," he called up to one of the men in the rigging above him, "do you see anything to port?"

Ramiro turned his head to skim the horizon. "No sir, noth... wait!" Another moment passed before Ramiro spoke again. "I do sir, a sail, and it's coming fast about our stern."

"Merda" Rey cursed in his native Galician. "It's a trap," he announced to everyone and no one, throwing the wheel to the right to turn the Madre towards what Rey had little doubt in his mind was a foe.
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Nathaniel Crane
Posted: Jul 22 2011, 11:28 AM
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Member No.: 105
Joined: 24-April 10



Nathan came to deck with the rest, armed with a pair of pistols in his belt beside his dagger. Swords would come later, he thought, they'd be in the day while working with the guns. He wore his original clothes. Even a bit torn and without the coat, they distinguished him from the underdressed pirates. But if there's a battle, anything if possible, and he would face it in his own clothes.

He wasn't so experienced with guns as he was in the rigging, but he could do it. His old captain made sure mids learned everything about the ship.

The enemy was Spanish. No reason not to fight them, and he longed for a good battle.


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NPC Elena
Posted: Jul 23 2011, 02:12 PM
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Member No.: 140
Joined: 10-November 10



Don Felipe Manuel Pérez de Guzmán, first lieutenant


Maldicion! Felipe hadn’t expected any trap, but he believed the pilot when he heard it.

”Trim to fighting sails, be ready for engagement… and still a galleon has an advantage over such a nutshell!" he said with inflated Spanish pride.

But he hadn’t succeeded to say more when a cannonade hit “Madre de Dios” from the opposite direction, while they were staring at the ship.

”Fire back, in the name of God, fire back!” he looked helplessly at the master gunner. ”What the hell, we are surrounded or what?

Fighting in the pitch of the night, an almost invisible enemy was nothing one would learn in the Navy School.


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Playing Ned Barnes, Louie d’Angennes, Sir John Darcy, lady Jane Darcy, don Felipe Manuel Perez de Guzman, sailors, pirates, smugglers, prostitutes
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Annette Williams
Posted: Jul 31 2011, 01:27 PM
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Group: Admin
Posts: 119
Member No.: 84
Joined: 30-January 10



Suddenly, a loud BOOM woke Annie from her sleep. Rushing out into the hallway, she caught the attention of a near-by sailor and asked what was going on. After giving her a look that said 'have you been paying attention to anything?' he told her that the battle had begun and they were headed to man the guns.

The battle, of course!

Perhaps against her better judgment, she rushed to the deck just in time to see Mr. Crane fashioning a dagger to his side. The whole deck was in a flurry of confusion as orders were called out and the shouts from the Spanish ship, somewhere in the dark, could be heard just above the din of another gun go off, this on from land.

A loud crashing sound billowed across the waters between the 'Sea Hound' and one of the islands as another gun was used and, allegedly, hit its mark.

In a matter of moments, Annie was thrown into hell. The flashes from the guns lite up the waters just enough so that she could see figures stumble past her and the broadside of the Spanish ship come alive with the force of a hit target.


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Rodrigo Sol Valera
Posted: Aug 2 2011, 04:38 AM
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Telescope in hand, Sol was watching the enemy. The men had gone quietly to their guns, waiting for the order to fire in the rigging, then to the broadside. Topmen were aloft, taking in sails.

”Feliciano, tackle her to be ready for raking by stern, then by full broadside! Ready to sail in circle around her, to avoid her cannonades!”.

The cannons were loaded with gunpowder, chain shots and bar shots. The "Sea Hound" was in the windward position, which meant they needed to fire straight away in order to catch the galleon between fires.

The gunports had been opened, Roach was at duty, as promised, the powder monkeys brought chainshot and grapeshot.

"Load the long nines, chainshot! Aim as high as you can! Break masts, don’t sink her! Fire in all three, and keep positions!”

The Spanish galleon’s masts shaked and blew up in splinters as the fired shots hit a few yards up.

"Reload!" he yelled.

The raking fire would come next, when the “Sea Hound” got into the right position. Firing down the length of the French ship was almost the worst thing that could happen to their victim in a fight, and all the pirates knew this. Each shot was passing through the whole ship length, splitting timbers, upsetting guns, killing the crew and increasing the damage to the hull and sails. Compared with the heavy galleon, the “Sea Hound” was flexible enough to be able to rake with one broadside, tack, and fire the other broadside in a similar manner without taking opposing fire, but only with a good man at helm. And Jack was the one.

“Now show our colours, for everyone to see!” he ordered after the first raking fire got successful, his proud smile vanishing quickly when the Spanish ship’s answer blew up half of the “Sea Hound’s” top mast, the fighting top and the boy on it.

Poor Ian…

“Feliciano, bring it for bow raking too! These malditos hijos de puta need another good one!”

But until bow raking, the angry gunners of both ships exchanged broadsides, and only Feliciano’s sailing maneuvers, in an unexpected waving line at the highest speed the sloop could provide in the wind, farther and closer again, succeeded to avoid receiving the deadliest Spanish cannonballs in her hull.


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NPC Elena
Posted: Aug 2 2011, 04:50 AM
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Group: Members
Posts: 18
Member No.: 140
Joined: 10-November 10



Don Felipe Manuel Pérez de Guzmán, first lieutenant

Chispa, the master gunner, was doing his best, but they got gunned from two directions, and it was damn dark to see much around. Those filthy pirates also seemed to have a good sailing master, who…damn! Felipe had been in enough battles to recognize quickly that the intention was to rake them by stern:

”Rey, we are being raked! Turn it so as to have our stern protected! If they want us to dance with them, we’ll dance, but they will be the ones to swirl and bow at our request!”

The only difference was that the Spanish lieutenant hadn’t fought such pirates before. British warships yes, but their officers were trained to fight in a way he could understand, and usually it wasn’t one vessel fighting another, but a line against another – line abreast, line ahead, doubling the enemy’s line, exactly how he had learnt for the exams of lieutenant, commander and captain. And the smugglers he had chased in his youth preferred to run away and hide in the bay corners they knew better and their little, supple ships could enter, than fight and lose their precious cargo and their crews’ lives. With them, the best tactic was to chase them and try to seize them.

Lieutenant Felipe Manuel Pérez de Guzmán was a good tactician, however he hadn’t understood yet that having pirates as opponents meant a totally different way of fighting, and that a pirate captain surely hadn’t studied Naval strategy by comparing the styles and outcomes of various famous battles, like he had done in school, but he was used to fight “dirty” and desperate, using the dimensions of his ship as an advantage. Felipe should have thought, in terms of land-based warfare, of a regular battle engagement compared with a guerrilla one, and seen the difference, but he was lacking this experience. It was his first real confrontation with pirates.

”Chispa, keep them away from us, irrespectively how much ammunition you use!”

But he couldn’t be happy for the master gunner’s successful hit, disabling the pirates’ topmast and scattering sails… because the damn Galician didn’t manage to get away from the sloop’s raking fire. A cannonade was enough for his beautiful galeon to lose her main topgallant mast and the mizzen one, with the related yards and sails.

“They are approaching! Everybody get ready to fight for the honour of Spain!”

Damn, his good luck had changed for the worst. Now it seemed even the wind was turning against them. He checked his sword and pistols, being the first to comply with his own orders.


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Playing Ned Barnes, Louie d’Angennes, Sir John Darcy, lady Jane Darcy, don Felipe Manuel Perez de Guzman, sailors, pirates, smugglers, prostitutes
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Annette Williams
Posted: Aug 9 2011, 01:12 PM
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Posts: 119
Member No.: 84
Joined: 30-January 10



The loud crashes and yelling from both ships never stopped, and the deck of the 'Sea Hound' transformed into hell on earth for Annie. She never should have come above deck and now, with everything that was going on, she couldn't find her way below! The bright flashes of the cannons and the sharp maneuvering of the ship reminded her of the storm in the 'Rose Claret' and for a moment she lost touch with reality.

Mr. Feliciano was shouting out orders for bringing the ship around the other's stern and she could see Jack at the helm, straining against the weight of the wheel. Mr. Crane must be somewhere in all this commotion, what was going on now? Somewhere across the deck she could hear Sol yell something out and then wooden splinters rained on her from above. She looked up to see where Sol had gone and saw he was looking to the top mast, which had just been hit.

The men around her all began yelling and brandishing their weapons, then someone said something about boarding? They were boarding? Who was boarding who?

The two ship practically crashed together as chains were flung from one to the other and men started rushing toward one side of the ship for the battle.

Annie had to get out of here, and now. She stood up and turned to make her way toward where she thought the hatch was, but tripped as her sense of balance was off. She ended up going right into someone, one of the pirates?


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NPC Ian
Posted: Aug 11 2011, 02:02 PM
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Group: Members
Posts: 15
Member No.: 141
Joined: 10-November 10



Rey had thought that showing these brigands their guns would scare them off, but they turned out to a bolder, (or perhaps more desperate), lot than he had expected. Rey did his best to maneuver the Madre to match the sloop, but she was a tub, and their enemy was small and quick. The loss of their topgallants exacerbated the problem of maneuvering for the Madre, which the pirates took as an opportunity to board her.

They had to be insane Rey decided. Even with the Madre weakened, she still had to have at least twice as many men on her as the enemy sloop, if not more, some of whom were trained soldiers. There was nothing for it, no hope of outrunning them, so Rey made to go at the pirates in as hostile a way as possible.

The two ships came together with a crash, Rey might have lost his footing had he not been holding onto the wheel. His job at the helm was at an end. Rey was sure he had failed in his duties, and should he survive the battle he was sure he'd be summarily executed for that failure. Until then though, he would fight for Spain, and his ship.

Rey found a quartermaster's mate who was doing his best to get all the men armed. The mate gave Rey a sword, an officer's weapon as befit his station. Normally Rey would have armed himself with a brace of pistols as well, but the chaos of the moment would not allow for it, for it was then that the first of the pirates came sweeping over the rail.

Shots rang out and steel rang against steel as Rey joined the fray. Rey lashed out with his blade, this way and that, attempting to suppress the pirates' advance. Within a short amount of time the deck had descended in utter chaos. Though it was impossible for Rey to tell exactly what was going on, it seemed to him that the pirates were gaining the upper hand.
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Rodrigo Sol Valera
Posted: Aug 13 2011, 08:56 AM
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Member No.: 70
Joined: 24-October 09



Roach’s next cannonade, coupled with the one from ashore, swept the galleon’s deck with the expected effect, crippling both ship and men. No wonder that the Spanish answer came less strong in these conditions.

“Prepare for boarding!” he shouted when seeing the results of the gun work.

The pirates took their posts on the larboard side gunwales and aloft, armed with grappling hooks, while those with firearms were towards the prow. Jack kept the approaching course, so that they could sling the grapnels, throw themselves upon their chains and heaving upon them to bind the two ships and board their mark. Soon the “Sea Hound” crashed alongside “Madre de Dios” banging and slipping against the side of the galleon, in an entanglement of the two damaged riggings. Still, the difference of height between the two ships was notable, the pirates felt like small burglars who had to climb at the first floor, to break into the target home through the balcony.

By Sol’s side, Teo was preparing his blunderbuss, aiming, like usual, the enemy’s helmsman. Until another man took the helm, there were a few moments when the target ship drifted aimlessly, and this was the right moment when several of the “Sea Hound’s” men snared it with grappling hooks, pulled it closer, and the first boarding party leaped aboard, screaming threats, shooting their pistols, swinging axes and cutlasses.

The Spanish marines and sailors, unable to dislodge the irons, firmly held where they had deeply bitten into the timbers of the galleon, received the grapnel crew with musket fires and boarding pikes. Their officers were trying their best to rally their men against the invaders, but the soldiers and sailors didn’t seem to give all their strength in the battle. How well had don Jesus trained them? Their rapidly formed ranks got driven across the waist to the poop on the one side, and up to the forecastle bulkheads on the other, while mast yards which had escaped the cannon balls got sprained, pieces of rope were burning, spars overhead snapped.

The Spaniards were more numerous, but only the marines and too few of the sailors were trained for close quarter fight. Sol was focusing only on his adversaries – one after another, or sometimes two at a time. Like a reaper, his sword cut down its harvest of Spanish sailors and marines; but Sol Picador was not unstoppable. Any swordsman gets tired after a while and when his sword met an officer’s, all his thrusts were skillfully parried. The man was a good fencer, as an adversary worth crossing swords with, so he remained on the deck, caught in the combat. He attacked with fresh fury, parried two or three thrusts, but he had to make an unprescribed step back in order to avoid a deadly blow, without minding what - or whom - might be there behind.

Well, Sol had learnt it from don Alvaro, in his youth, but he had learnt also other styles to mesh with it, so his moves weren't always the ones an officer skilled in La Destreza would expect.

Other Spaniards sought cover below the deck, in closed quarters, shooting through the loopholes at the exposed boarders or trying to cut their ropes, while another boarding party got through the hatch to the gun deck below, to subdue the gunners. Soon both decks were blocked by several engagements between groups, and this was exactly what pirates were accustomed to.


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Annette Williams
Posted: Aug 29 2011, 07:55 PM
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Group: Admin
Posts: 119
Member No.: 84
Joined: 30-January 10



The struggle between the two parties seemed to go one forever, though may have only been a short time. The guns from either ship were eventually silenced but only to be replaced by the yells and shouts as the pirates managed to board ‘Madre de Dios’. The Spanish officers called orders in a desperate attempt to bring their marines to advantageous places where they could keep the pirates at bay with their training in close-quarters fighting, however it was all in vain.

Bodies seemed to crash together and you couldn’t tell who was Spanish and who was pirate. Men slashed at one another with vigor and adrenaline in their eyes while others stood, turning this way and that in the confusion and then, eventually, falling to the deck after being either shot, hit with wooden shrapnel or run through on an enemies blade.

Men accustomed to this sort of fighting paired and thrust at their targets, sometimes hitting sometimes not, but always moving, never stopping. To stop was death at the hand of the other whose energy kept coming, continually driving them to a point of madness as neither side allowed any give.

The crew of the Sea Hound infiltrated the belly of the Spanish galleon like rats and spread through the halls with sure footing, looking for anyone who might be lying in wait or trying to aid their crewmates in the battle above. The gunmen fought with whatever they could find but were soon made useless at the cruel hand of their invaders.

Men on deck of the two ships grabbed for something to steady themselves as the galleon hit a sandbank with the ‘Sea Hound’ still attached to its broadside. The waves below lapped at the hull as it was forcefully dragged through the sand, damaging its keel and rudder. Luckily, the ‘Sea Hound’ managed to stay on the right side of the bar and suffered little damage but the Spanish ship was practically land-locked.

Someone had a pistol below and, in a bout of fear for their life, used it in while defending himself in the magazine room, setting off a huge explosion to take out not just the starboard side of the galleon but also a good chunk of the ‘Sea Hound’s’ port side with it.

Cries flew up from both ships as men writhed in pain, some dying and some recognizing the dead. The body count escalated dramatically in that one instance and the Spanish knew all was lost. They had nothing left, but at least they had left the pirates with not much better. Should they continue to fight? Collect the pieces of their shattered pride by fighting to the very end? At least they could send as many pirates to hell as possible before admitting defeat! ¡Lucha! Lucha hasta ver el oro en la puerta del cielo! Lucha hasta que se siente el calor de las piscinas del infierno!*

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Translation for the Spanish*
Fight! Fight till you see the gold on Heaven's Gate! Fight till they feel the heat from the pits of Hell!


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NPC Elena
Posted: Sep 3 2011, 01:26 PM
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Group: Members
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Member No.: 140
Joined: 10-November 10



Don Felipe Manuel Pérez de Guzmán, first lieutenant

Don Felipe was on the quarterdeck, shouting orders, boiling in anger, sword in hand – and, exactly like his impeccable uniform which got bloodied in the battle, it was a beautiful one, with Toledo engravings in the nicely decorated hilt. A true officer’s sword, meant to lead in fight…

His face got an ominous red when seeing the damage to the masts and rigging of his precious ship. Damn bloody pirates!

Feliciano was the last one boarding „Madre de Dios”. Nobody tried to oppose to it, as most men on the deck were already engaged in melee combat against any or other of the pirates. The Spaniards were furious at being attacked and boarded when they intended to get the initiative… and a pirate ship which proved to be far more expensively selling his hide than the galleon. There was a whole skirmish on the deck, hand to hand, foot to foot, sword to sword, and the flash of pistols and blunderbuses lighted up crimson red faces and clothes of both fighting parties.

Don Felipe was looking around, between fighting one and another of the adversaries who had reached already the quarterdeck. To his dismay, he found out that the situation was more serious than he had anticipated. Or, rather, nothing at all he had expected. To hell, they had much more men than the pirates, a bigger and stronger ship... at least theoretically! What were those no-good sods of don Froilan doing? How was it possible to let themselves overcome by a bunch of desperates in a floating nutshell?

When he saw the last pirate boarding the ship, his eyes remained set on that well known figure… For a moment, he forgot about the whole mess around, focusing only on the man with whom he had drunk for friendship in Cartagena, the one who had saved his life when he had got involved in a shady duel… only to have to cross swords now. So this was what he was doing then in Cartagena, spying for the pirates!

“You damn liar, are you a filthy pirate like all the others?” the Spanish first lieutenand uttered in disbelief. “I thought you were my friend, we shared more than bread, salt and wine together, and now you come to plunder my ship?” he added, on the verge of a heart attack. One couldn’t trust anybody these days, anymore…

That very moment, a huge explosion blew out the galleon’s board, and together with it, the attached one of the pirate ship, well caught in the graplings… The explosion threw a great number of the combatants, dead and alive, in the water, the two former friends with them.


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Playing Ned Barnes, Louie d’Angennes, Sir John Darcy, lady Jane Darcy, don Felipe Manuel Perez de Guzman, sailors, pirates, smugglers, prostitutes
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Rodrigo Sol Valera
Posted: Sep 3 2011, 01:41 PM
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Posts: 470
Member No.: 70
Joined: 24-October 09



There was nothing more for Sol to do on the main deck, but he knew he could be useful if joining the group which descended to the gun deck. Accordingly, this was the path he chose, stabbing the first Spanish soldier who dared to oppose him and raising his sword to meet another’s, ready to make path towards the coveted silver cargo. The gun deck was covered with the bleeding victims of both his crew’s weapons, of wooden splinters and chainshots, but also with despaired Spaniards fighting in the narrow places and stumbling upon their comrades’ bodies.

The commotion of the galleon hitting the sandbank threw him against the door of the store room, opening it wide. At the sight of the silver bars, he remained speechless for a second, then he shouted to his men:

”Come here and load the silver! We don’t have much time to lose!”

Given that Josiah, Teo and the others were following, he returned to the main deck, taking care, on the way, of the last resisting Spanish soldiers. He barely set the feet on the main deck, when half of the galleon and half of his precious ship exploded. He saw corpses flying in the air… those who had been his crewmates, good and bad ones alike. And the silver bars? Who cared anymore about the silver bars, when a British Navy ship was approaching too?

Luckily for them, Jack, the gun captain assigned to the shore, still had some ammunition to spend… So an unexpected cannonade hit low the “Steadfast”.


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Marina Costa
Posted: Sep 3 2011, 03:09 PM
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Able seaman, Steadfast


Group: Members
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Member No.: 62
Joined: 16-September 09



The “Steadfast” had left its hiding place with a wind that had begun to strengthen. Upon the sailing master’s orders, a man stood in the bows, sounding continually with lead and line, as the waters were rather shoal in that treacherous area. For the last part of the time, it was Marina who got the honour. She was young, flexible and had done it before

When the hidden cannon hit the ship, the commotion got Marina overboard. She started swimming, hoping for a rope to be thrown. But each man had his own worries, nobody noticed her, and the rope didn’t come anymore…

Surely it wasn’t the first time she was in the water, and she didn’t fear. She remembered having received, a little more than one month ago, Gorgona’s blessing, and her comforting words kept sounding in her mind.

”Always ready to serve you, Queen of the Seas!”


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