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...

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After "Beat to Quarters" closed, "Before the Mast" is the site leading the stories in the West Indies... but in 1720. Active since August 2010.

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(Lei, Lioe)

(Ian, Nyell)

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

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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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 Thorne, Jonathan S., Captain of the Steadfast
Captain Jonathan Thorne
Posted: May 31 2009, 03:59 PM

Captain of the Steadfast

Group: Members
Posts: 175
Member No.: 6
Joined: 30-May 09

- Player Info -

Name/nickname: Lei

AIM/e-mail/whatnot: AIM: EternaLei777, or you can PM me.

Substitute players: Nyell, Lioe, Ian

- Character info -

Name: Captain Jonathan Silas Thorne

Nickname/Alias: Captain Thorne by most, Jon by the very few he allows close to him.

Age: 39

Gender: Male

Occupation: Post Captain in the British Royal Navy, Captain of the HMS Steadfast.

Appearance: Thorne stands at a solid 6’1” (1.85m), making him a rather imposing man in terms of height – a height accentuated by his lean build and narrow frame. His eyes are almond-shaped, brown, and deep-set beneath dark, brooding brows. His hair is black (but graying a little at the temples), tied-back, shoulder-length and rather curly. His complexion is swarthy and tanned, in part from the Caribbean sun, and in part due to some Celtic ancestry. Thorne's visage is narrow with hollowed cheeks, high cheek-bones, a hooked nose and a slightly prominent chin. These features combine, along with an almost perpetual frown, to give him the overall look of a bird of prey.

While he does occasionally wear full-dress, Thorne is usually seen in the British Naval Captain's frock uniform. This includes a felt tricorn with gold braided trim, a white cravat, a double-breasted blue coat with white lapels and cuffs trimmed with gold ribbon and epaulets to denote his rank. Additionally he wears a buttoned cream waistcoat and shirt, cream breeches with white-stockings, and black boots. Across his back is a multitude of faded crisscrossing scars from the time he once received 40 lashes in his early service days. Other small scars derived from the hardships and violence of Navy life have accumulated across his body.

Personality: Thorne is pragmatic, calculating, and often gives the impression of being very cold and unemotional, though at times he possesses an unnerving intensity. He is a man very precise in his habits, with a frequent need for order. He strives to be virtuous and selfless, upholding a strong moral code and pursuing what he believes to be Right in a world very full of Wrong; unfortunately, his views of right and wrong tend to be very black and white, and not always in keeping with the general view of ethics.

Thorne is a moody man, and can often swing from bouts of melancholy into fits of near-mania. These episodes of irrational super-focus serve to make his usual quiet intensity all the more unsettling, as they suggest a constant quiet before the storm. This is not to say Thorne doesn't have a warmer side to him - his tiny daughter back in England is his raison d'etre, and he can be a courageous gentleman, and a loyal ally to those he deems worthy of his respect. Though he will drive his men hard, he also feels a fatherly affection for them, and will never send them up against any challenge he’d be unwilling to undertake himself.

Bio: Jonathan Silas Thorne was born in 1702, the second son to a noble gentleman in possession of an estate somewhere near Leeds. It was understood that his brother Geoffrey, the elder by four years, would inherit when their father, Lord Richard Thorne succumbed to poor health. As the younger brother, Jon was expected to go into the service, and do the family name proud by earning assorted honors and accolades. Both boys were tutored well in their early years, and Jon, the quieter of the two, often surprised their instructors by proving to be the better with a sword. His skill with a blade, however, helped him little with languages - a subject he never mastered as his brother did. Where Jon excelled in calculations, maths, and swordsmanship, his sibling proved a master in letters, philosophy, and wrestling.

Jonathan was sent to the Royal Naval College at 11, and was 12 when he was entered into the royal navy as a midshipman. Unfortunately for Thorne, his career began just as the War of the Spanish Succession was ending, providing him with the limited opportunities of peacetime. His first berth was a galleon named the Pride of York, captained by the kindly Captain Pitts. He served aboard her for several years, learning both the art of warfare (though he had little chance to practice it), and the menial tasks of running a boat. Whenever the craft grew shorthanded, he joined a hand in the hard labor of the seamen, and shimmied to the top of the mainmast on numerous occasions. It wasn’t he reached the age of 17 that Jonathan became acquainted with the thrill and the horror of battle. For five years he served beneath Captain Pitts, until the Pride had a fateful run-in with a Spanish vessel during the War of the Quadruple Alliance. The Spaniards opened fire and attempted to board the English ship. The ensuing battle was bloody, and while the Pride's crew came out victorious, their losses were heavy. Nearly a quarter of the crew, including officers, was lost. Captain Pitts was badly wounded by shrapnel from canonfire, and died of his wounds during the night.

In the aftermath of the battle, Midshipman Pollard was promoted to acting-Lieutenant and Jonathan became senior Midshipman in his stead (midshipmen Frakes and Stalwick having been killed and incapacitated, respectively). First Lieutenant Wolvercote took over as Captain. While Pitts had been a sage, kind old man, Wolvercote was made of cruel ambition. Pitts motivated the crew with rallying words that put pride in their hearts; Wolvercote ruled with a cat-o-nine-tails in his hand. Though his position in the world had gone up, the joy Jon had in it steadily declined. Months passed, and as land grew further from their sights, Wolvercote's madness grew more acute. Jon watched in horror as he beat a sailor half-to-death for failing to salute as smartly as the captain desired. Mutinous grumbling began to manifest in the forecastle, outside of Wolvercote's hearing when the Captain halved the men's rations for not cleaning the deck to his specifications. In an attempt to quell the men's anger and avoid disaster, Thorne petitioned to Pollard to speak with the captain, but the young Lieutenant was too fearful. So Thorne himself elected to speak to Wolvercote on the behalf of the men.

For his efforts, he received forty lashes - the punishment for his insubordination, which nearly killed him and left him out of commission for the better part of a month. His weakened condition left him vulnerable to illness, however, and he took ill with fever, and was dismissed from active duty as soon as they reached port. He recovered for a season at his family's estate, and during that time became acquainted with a lovely young woman named Caroline Garret – the daughter of an accomplish physician Thorne’s father had befriended.

When next Thorne went to sea, it was not aboard the Pride of York, but aboard a recently recomissioned 5th-rater in need of officers called the Diligence. A few months after returning to duty, Thorne received word that Captain Wolvercote had met his untimely demise in a mysterious storm, in which he was suspiciously listed in the log as the only fatality. Few, if any tears were shed. Thorne's work aboard the Diligence matched the name of the ship, and he came to be one of the captain's favorites. When an opening arose for a Lieutenant, he was promoted to Acting Lieutenant, and given his commission as a full Lieutenant a few months later when he passed the Lieutenant’s examination with flying colors. He was 20, and all this time had been exchanging amorous letters with Caroline. When he was given shore leave to celebrate his new position, they both took advantage of the time allotted to wed in good haste. There was little knowing when next they'd see one another, as Thorne was assigned to ship out to the West Indies in the immediate future.

In the Caribbean, the Diligence changed posts often, though she was stationed primarily in Barbados and Jamaica. Her primary duty was to eradicate piracy, which had seen an increase during the last war due to the elevation in wealth in the Indies. Thorne was a diligent young officer, but looked forward to the arrival of the ship’s mail, as it inevitably included a number of Caroline’s letters with every delivery. He’d read them over and over until the paper threatened to disintegrate, pouring over their dull, but nonetheless treasured contents. Thorne’s life at this time, however, was far from dull. One night, as they ship lay in a cove and Jon lay in his hammock reading his young wife's letter, there came a cry of alarm. Jon and his fellows hurried out of bed and to action - there were pirates in the cove. The Diligence leapt into action to hunt down the pirate frigate Avarice. Guns blazing, they chased her back out to sea where, catching up, they prepared a boarding party with Lieutenant Thorne at its head.

Diligence came up alongside Avarice, fired a broadside, then launched the grapnels. Thorne led his men aboard, and for a brief time victory seemed imminent. But while the boarding party was cutting down all the pirates on the upper deck, a portion of Avarice’s men were below on the gundeck, loading a reciprocating broadside. By taking the wheels out from under a number of cannon, the pirates gained elevation and with an unpredictable and fortunate shot, took out Diligence’s main mast. Within seconds the tide turned. Men from below flooded the deck and within moments Thorne and his men were forced to the gunwhales. The young Lieutenant ordered a retreat, but before all the men on his command could escape, Avarice managed to cut herself free from the grappling lines and extricate herself from combat, leaving the crippled Diligence in her wake. Thorne and the half-dozen remaining sailors still on the pirates’ deck were trapped.

The ensuing block of time was one Thorne made every attempt thereon after to block from his memory. The pirates had no love of the English Navy and made it plenty clear in their brutal treatment of their prisoners. In one incident, Thorne watched in helpless horror as one of the men under his command was tortured and then hanged from the yardarm for no reason other than the amusement of their captors. Days passed that felt like years. Weeks were eons of hunger and pain and humiliation. Word below decks had it that Avarice was bound for Nevis, where she would exchange the remaining prisoners for ransom money. This was not a prospect that held much hope, however, since Thorne and his men were just as like to have their throats slit once the ransom had been paid as not, if the ransom could even be paid. It seemed that all they could do was sit in the cramped and wet hold and wait to be butchered.

Then, when Avarice was less than a day’s sail from Nevis, a cry of alarm went out. The English sailors listened with hope to catch the name of a British vessel come to their rescue, but the approaching sail belonged to a Spanish warship – The Infanta Theresa. The captain turned to run, but the wind was to the Infanta Theresa’s advantage, and soon she was closing in on the smaller pirate vessel. Soon Avarice’s captain had little choice but to turn and fight. Belowdecks, where Thorne and his men were held, the smoke and screams painted a picture of hell. A cannonball tore through the bulkhead and took off a man’s arm, and well as a fair portion of the gate. Thorne saw the opportunity for escape and rallied his men – the four survivors poured out of the newly-blasted hole, and made their way abovedecks. Most of the pirates were preoccupied with the battle and ignored the English prisoners, though a few took notice and by the time they reached the boats, four had turned to three. Thorne hadn’t expected to make it even this far, but hurried his men into the boat and lowered it into the water, watching Avarice shrink behind them as they rowed off, until a chance shot from Infanta landed right in Avarice’s powder magazine, blasting her to smithereens. For a few horrible minutes, Thorne thought the Spanish ship might comb for survivors and pick him and his two compatriots up, rendering them prisoners once again. The Spaniards, however, paid little heed to the tiny jollyboat, and tacked about to vanish, once again.

In the heat of battle, Thorne had been to eager to escape to try to find water or food – at the time, he’d been convinced they’d die before they even reached the boats, but now the prospect of death came not from a pirate’s cutlass, but from thirst. They were stranded in the open sea in a rowboat, with naught but the torn and bloodied clothes on their backs. As the sun grew lower in the horizon, dark clouds gathered, and that night unleashed a terrible storm that tossed and flung the boat about until she crashed into splinters on the rocks…
… of a shore, where Thorne awoke sometime later, clinging to a piece of driftwood where he’d washed up on the beach, miraculously alive. One of the other two men had also survived the wreckage, though the other must have drowned when they struck the shoals. The island was small and uninhabited, but it had a spring of freshwater from which Thorne and the other survivor – a man called Buckwhelt – were able to sustain themselves until a Dutch vessel from Curacao found them several days later, rescuing them and delivering them to Barbados. After a few weeks in recovery, Thorne was assigned back to the Diligence, which had returned to Bridgetown. As the eldest Lieutenant had succumbed to a bought of yellow fever, Thorne now held the senior commission and was promoted to First Lieutenant.

A few months after the Avarice-affair, Diligence was ordered to return to England where she was decommissioned, and an unemployed Thorne was able to escape from the excitement of the Indies. He returned to his estate, and to Caroline. The presence of his wife proved to be a miracle cure for the memories and pains that ailed him, and long hours spent walking with her across the family estate served to make his hellish time in the Caribbean little more than an unpleasant dream. But it was not to last, as Thorne was reassigned shortly afterward to a sixth-rater named Galatea.

He ranked as First Lieutenant on the Galatea, which combed the Atlantic between the Azores and the Caribbean. In time he distinguished himself in action, and gained commendations for his role in the capture of a Privateer ship in the Sargasso Sea. When the captain was killed in a skirmish with some Spanish Rebels off the coast of Hispaniola, Thorne took the helm and the role of acting captain, chasing down and sinking the rebels’ sloops before eventually bringing Galatea safely into port. The current Admiral, impressed, issued Thorne a promotion to commander and issued him a commission on a Brigantine named Lachesis. Lachesis spent several months in the Antilles, doing very little (much to Thorne’s frustration) before being given orders to return to England and rejoin the Channel Fleet. Off the coast of Brest, on a routine patrol, he was beset and engaged by a French Frigate. Thorne did his best to hold his own, but Lachesis was outmanned and outgunned. He managed to dismast the Frigate, buying enough time for Lachesis to run, but the ship had sustained serious damage below her waterline. By the time she reached Plymouth, she’d taken on so much water that even with the pumps going day and night, she could barely stay afloat. Declared a wreck, Lachesis was decommissioned, and Thorne, shipless, was able to return home for a time.

Once again he was able to lounge in Caroline’s arms and spend the days with her. Thorne was able to live off his family’s inheritance and his peacetime half-pay quite comfortably. He even toyed with the idea of an early retirement. After all, what was a captain with no ship? He had Caroline, and surely that was enough. Days turned to weeks and weeks to months. Eventually she revealed that she was with child, and Thorne grew overjoyed at the prospect of fatherhood.

Misery would strike again, however, and this time the anguish Jon was fated to suffer would not be physical. Caroline did indeed bear him a child - a daughter named Anne - but she herself perished from bleeding hours after childbirth. Though Thorne remained as stoic and collected as ever, her death devastated him. Day after day wandering along the halls where Caroline once tread pained him more and more, until he thought he might go mad. When orders from the crown arrived along with a new commission and orders to report to the Caribbean, where a Brig called Steadfast lay in need of a captain, Thorne left without a moment’s hesitation, eager to escape the home where his wife was so conspicuously absent. He left his infant daughter in the hands of his brother and his wife, who had hitherto proven unable to conceive and were more than happy to raise little Anne as their own.

The Caribbean had taken his innocence as a young man, and now God had taken his Caroline. Already hardened by physical pain, Thorne now became embittered by the blow to his heart. He pursued his work and his duty with alarming fervor, and a complete absence of distraction. After serving for a year as the commander of a sloop-of-war HMS Cadmus (16 guns), he was made post and given command of the post-ship Steadfast, where he has served as captain for five years now. In that time he has been sailing the Caribbean, earning a reputation, making enemies, and attempting to bring some order to the seas…

Birthplace: Leeds, England.

Family: Thorne comes from a well-to-do family of noble heritage. His mother, Arabella Thorne, passed on when he was still a young man. His father, Lord Richard Thorne, is deceased, and has left his estate and title to Jon's older brother Geoffrey Thorne. Jon's wife, Caroline, is deceased. He has a daughter, Anne (age 6) back in England under the care of Geoffrey and his wife Berenice, who have no children of their own.
    Father: Lord Richard Thorne, Baron of Chesterfield [deceased]
    Mother – Lady Arabella Thorne (née Castlington) [deceased]
    Wife: Caroline Thorne (née Garret) [deceased]
    Daughter: Anne Elizabeth Thorne
    Brother: Lord Geoffrey Thorne, Baron of Chesterfield
    Sister-In-Law: Lady Berenice Thorne (née Stowbridge)
Skills: Thorne is a smart man. Well-read and well-educated, he's a skilled military strategist and mathematician. Having spent more of his life on the sea than off it, he is also a more-than-competent sailor and navigator. In combat, he is an expert swordsman, and a reasonably good shot with a pistol. He is good at keeping order, thinking rationally, and making decisions when under pressure.

Weaknesses: Thorne can be obsessive. Usually rational, some things can set him off into a near-mania where he'll push past the limits of his ship, his crew, and himself to reach an implausible goal. While this has been known to yield fantastic results, his genius can walk the fine line of madness, and constantly toes disaster. On the other hand, he occasionally slides into periods of depression in which he’ll wallow in lethargy and prove overly self-critical. A bitingly pragmatic man, Thorne lacks a degree of natural charisma, and can often be off-putting to his superiors and fellow officers when not at sea. While fast and agile in combat, he lacks great physical strength and tires rather easily. Additionally he’s a bit deaf in one ear after a canon fire incident a few years ago, and he can't hold his liquor.

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