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All Tied Up, No More Love #zaire #Oseanie

Rachel
 

Who: Oseanie With: Zaire, Siren's Song Crew Where: The Eastern Forest, rivers When: March 28th, 872 RoK
Oseanie approached the webbed roping up to the crow's nest, her belly full of breakfast and a bit of ale, the sun's rays warming her shoulders. The East was a feast for her senses - the trees were so different from the ones on the Island back home, thick and tall where the ones she knew best were thin and pliable. She had seen animals lapping at the shore she hadn't seen before - like goats, perhaps, but taller, leaner, more graceful. Even the water was different. Oseanie couldn't tell if it was growth or pollution or moss that made the water darker even when the sun shone overhead, but these rivers did not have the familiar blue shine of the sea. 


The new information, sensory and intellectual, interested the young pirate as much as it overwhelmed her. A crewmate had pulled her back from peering too keenly over the ship's edge just that morning. And while she finally had something to say in the mess hall - "did you see the tall goat, this morning, off the starboard side?" - few had responded, most still celebrating. 


They had cause to celebrate, though. The Captain had ordered the raid on an Eastern ship not two days ago, and the prize had proven valuable - a dozen casks of cider, along with a chest of gold that had been used to purchase the other dozen earlier along their route. Nothing made pirates happier than both gold and drink in one fell swoop. 


And then they had - despite the Quartermaster's misgivings - still been in good enough shape to collect the package Queen Francesca had paid them to transport. The cloaked figure had seemed rather mysterious and dangerous, flanked as it was by the winged vampires who flew overhead to guard them, but since the evening whoever it was had kept to themselves. The dawn came and, with the vampires now safely in the hull, it seemed a normal, cheerful morning. 


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Manda
 

Who: Zaire

With: Oseanie, Siren's Song Crew 

Where: The Eastern Forest, rivers 

When: March 28th, 872 RoK

Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/01/63/b0/0163b09ef8407b7533b52fc365b91639.jpg 


"Careful where ya put them pretty eyes, there, Calder," Jacob Alby teased, his hands busy tying off the rigging. "Dun wanna give the cap'n an excuse t'pluck 'em outta yer 'ead." 


"Shut'cher mouth, Jacob," Chione chastised around a slice of orange. Her lips twisted in amusement, "Little Lord's just got an 'armless crush, is all."


Cheeks reddening, Calder pulled his eyes from Oseanie and dropped them back to the sail he was mending, shoving the needle through the canvas hard enough that he poked his finger and drew blood. He hissed and put the digit between his lips, throwing a dark look at both Alby and Chione. "You both needa shut up," he muttered.


Chione chuckled, but the amusement faded from Alby's face as he lowered her voice and said, "Ye ain't see what 'e did t'Jasper Lambert."


"That was diff'rent," Chione scoffed, waving away her partner's warning as Calder's face went from pink to white as sun-bleached linen. "Cap'n knows 'is girl is lovely an' 'e knows y'all'll look."


"Aye," Zaire added, coming up behind his quartermaster's young son, mirth sparkling in his eyes as Calder jumped at the sound of his voice. "Just don't lemme catch ye touchin' without 'er permission."


Calder's blue eyes widened. "I wouldn't, Captain!" he insisted, shaking his head.


Zaire clapped a hand on the boy's shoulder, leaning over close to continue his ribbing, "That's good, lad. I don't much enjoy creatin' eunuchs." And with that, Zaire left the speechless Calder to the mercy of Mr. Alby and Chione as they picked up where their Captain left off with some not-so gentle teasing. 


Zaire knew that Oseanie would be a distraction for a while yet. He had few women on his crew but the ones he did had all been a distraction until the men became accustomed to their presence and, in some ways, completely forget they were women at all. Oseanie was likely to have an easier time of it, being his own daughter, and all, but also because many of the crew had watched her grow up and considered her family. Calder was near her age though and despite the leg pulling, Zaire knew the boy wouldn't lay a hand on her; Arne had raised his son too well for that.


"So whataya think'uv the East, girl?" Zaire asked, catching his daughter at the base of the crow's nest. It was an easy enough way to strike up the conversation, but what he really wanted to know was what she thought of being on the account, of their cargo, her first successful taking of a prize . . .


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Rachel
 

Zaire: "So whataya think'uv the East, girl?"


"Good morning, Captain," Oseanie said so suddenly, automatically enough that the words held little conversational cadence, pulled from her absorption by her father's voice. She had been mesmerized, for how long she didn't know, by her impulse to count the different types of trees. Some had pines, others had leaves - some with leaves had wide ones that she guessed might be the size of her hand, while others had narrow ones, shaped like lips. Her brain would store this information for later, when she would speculate on how each type of wood might be made into a ship… 


She had expected to be redirected to her duties, which was the obvious thing to suppose given that she was supposed to be looking out, but the question wasn't about that. Her eyes flitted to the captain's speckled face, just quickly enough to be sure there was no scowl there to indicate anger, and then she took herself a moment to formulate a response.


"I like that it is called the East, and the Green realm," Oseanie answered, simply, as if the question were that simple.  "No poets trying to call it something it is not." 


Now that she was paying attention, Oseanie noticed voices from the crew at a distance and she glanced in their direction briefly... 


Calder was looking at her, though, and he wasn't the only one, even though the older pirates were somewhat better at concealing it. Oseanie was struck with the sudden apprehension that she was the butt of a joke that she didn't understand. As much as Killick had tried, jokes were always a struggle.


"What is it?" Oseanie muttered, hoping her father would help bridge the gap in the moment. Her eyes returned to the comfortable treeline even though her mouth pulled into a somewhat annoyed scowl. She knew she would have to find her own stride and that the captain couldn't be her interpreter like her brother had been, but the whole experience of moving onto the ship, visiting a new land, facing new enemies… 


It was a lot, and the only thing stronger than her urge to withdraw was her determination to make sure she pulled her weight. 


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Wearing: https://mfiles.alphacoders.com/696/696783.jpg 

 

Manda
 

Who: Zaire

With: Oseanie, Siren's Song Crew 

Where: The Eastern Forest, rivers 

When: March 28th, 872 RoK

Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/01/63/b0/0163b09ef8407b7533b52fc365b91639.jpg 


Oseanie: "I like that it is called the East, and the Green realm," ... "No poets trying to call it something it is not." 


Zaire nodded, her answer not wholly unexpected. Oseanie wasn't the type to read between the lines, to infer meaning when it wasn't clearly stated, but that didn't mean she didn't have good insight or wasn't perceptive in her own way. "Aye," he agreed. "They ain't burstin' with creativity, these names. Simple. Straightforward. Honest." He followed her line of vision to the small group he'd just left and found Calder quickly averting his gaze. The boy had it bad. 


Oseanie: "What is it?" 


"Up ye go," Zaire urged instead of answering, waving her up toward the crow's nest even as he began climbing the rigging to join her. Oseanie was his barrelman and he needed her to perform her tasks but she could do so while they talked. Plus, it was away from curious ears and there wasn't a mirror to be seen . . .


Reaching the top, Zaire swung himself easily over the railing. There wasn't much to see, not with the trees towering above them on either side, but having eyes this high up was never a waste of time. "Yer a beautiful girl, Oseanie; some'uv the crew've noticed," he explained, leaning back against the railing with arms crossed over his chest. "Calder's one'uv 'em. He ain't never spent so much time with ya, is all." 


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Rachel
 

Zaire: "Up ye go," 


This, more than anything, brought a satisfied smile to Oseanie's face. She understood her duties and she wanted to fulfill them, and so there was a certain pleasure in the climb upward to the crow's nest… 


Perhaps that pleasure was exacerbated by the fact that Oseanie knew that even if her fagther - the Captain - followed her, he didn't see a fraction of what she did. The sway of the treetops, the disruption of the river's surface, the notable lack of wildlife at the water's edge… she might not yet understand what it meant, but she noted it all as important information even as she settled in, her hip against the railing, as she stood tall to watch out. The wind tugged weakly at her thick braids, weighed down with tiny golden rings that shone in the sunshine.


Zaire: "Yer a beautiful girl, Oseanie; some'uv the crew've noticed," "Calder's one'uv 'em. He ain't never spent so much time with ya, is all." 


Beautiful. Well, that was a problematic word, wasn't it? Oseanie's lips pursed in displeasure when her father spoke it. Or perhaps, the word was just complicated. Loaded. Like a canon full of illegal blasting powder. Her father's words prompted her to think of Calder - he was about her age, and therefore a crewmate dealing with many of the same adjustments as she was, and therefore she liked him. But that was a very complicated line of thinking, and Oseanie avoided it for a more fundamental one. 


"Is it good?" Oseanie asked, without diverting her eyes from the horizon. Her father's expressions wouldn't have told her much, anyway. 


With such a simplistic word at the helm, Oseanie couldn't be sure. Beautiful was probably why Lambert had bothered to attack an opponent who hadn't threatened any more than the purse he had willingly bartered. "To be 'beautiful'?"

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Manda
 

Who: Zaire

With: Oseanie, Siren's Song Crew 

Where: The Eastern Forest, rivers 

When: March 28th, 872 RoK

Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/01/63/b0/0163b09ef8407b7533b52fc365b91639.jpg 


Oseanie: "Is it good?" … "To be 'beautiful'?"


Zaire's brow furrowed at the first question, but the second had understanding relaxing those lines away. He was silent for a moment, his eyes on the crew beneath them, some sitting and laughing while others moved busily from one task to the next, but enlightenment didn't come easily. How was he to answer such a question?


"Sometimes," he finally settled on. "Some women know how t'use their beauty. They wield it like a weapon t'get what they want." Like Francesca, he couldn't help but think. Though stand her next to Eloise, with her smooth brown skin and tight curls, or Brandy with her milky complexion and stunning figure, and no one would even look twice at the Queen of the West . . . 


"Others jus' see it as trouble." Chione would have prefered to be ugly, Zaire tended to assume, though the Master Gunner was far from it. "I makes it 'ard t'fade into th'background; catches attention, y'know?" 


Zaire wasn't sure he was really the person for her to be talking to about this. He wasn't unattractive, he knew, but his looks were an acquired taste for some; though because of his colorings, he did know a bit about catching attention. Still, he couldn't give a woman's perspective on what it was like to be beautiful. Eloise could though. Unfortunately, his wife was safe back on the Island - right where she should be while her belly slowly rounded with new life. 


"Ye can't change how beautiful yer mama and I made ya, girl," he finished with a hint of joking apology in his tone. "Ye just need t'decide how you'll use it." He paused, his eyes going to Calder again, "And 'ow much shite you'll put up with."


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Rachel
 

Zaire: "Sometimes," "Some women know how t'use their beauty. They wield it like a weapon t'get what they want." "Others jus' see it as trouble." "I makes it 'ard t'fade into th'background; catches attention, y'know?" 


Oseanie understood weapons - she was good with knives and fair with a bow and arrow because her eyes were precise and her mind sharp at calculating distances and velocities. She could use a sword or an axe, but she was limited in reading up-close personal body language that she needed to excel in that arena. Maybe beauty would be like that; maybe she would be good at using it, or maybe she wouldn't. Maybe practice would help, or maybe it wouldn't? 


It was a difficult metaphor because usually weapons were things you chose to wield and not just part of your face.  Maybe, then, beauty was more like teeth...? 


Figurative thinking could be exhausting, and it was a painfully long moment before the tension in her expression relaxed enough to suggest she had let the conflict go. 


Zaire: "Ye can't change how beautiful yer mama and I made ya, girl," "Ye just need t'decide how you'll use it." "And 'ow much shite you'll put up with."


As was her way, Oseanie missed the warm little joke and responded abruptly. "Of course I could change it. I could get scars... or tattoos all over my face." Beautiful ladies in silk gowns didn't have tattoos. "I could be disfigured. I wouldn't be as beautiful with one eye." Which wasn't uncommon among pirates at all… 


...but it would also hinder her ability to note the usual turmoil of the water behind them at a distance. She straightened a bit, planted her hands on the railing of the crow's nest, and peered carefully. Oseanie was quiet for a long stretch, and then… there it was. 


It was just a blurring of the white space between trees, but it stretched exactly as high as a ship would have. A ship their size, or bigger. 


"Captain, we're being pursued." 


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Manda
 

 

Oseanie: "Of course I could change it. I could get scars... or tattoos all over my face." ... "I could be disfigured. I wouldn't be as beautiful with one eye."


Leaning back against the railing, Zaire couldn't stop the laugh that escaped and he rubbed a thumb and forefinger into his eyes and then ended with a pinch to the bridge of his nose. Eloise would kill him if he brought her daughter back minus an eye . . .


"Oseanie…" he started, but as he lifted his eyes, Zaire found her attention intent of the water behind them.


Oseanie: "Captain, we're being pursued." 


Pushing away from the railing, Zaire turned to follow her gaze and, for a second, he didn't see anything. Then the wind caught the trees and there was a faint flash of white sail amongst the leaves, there and gone again. "Fuck," he breathed, then abruptly turned and began calling down orders to the pirates on the deck. 


Movement erupted below them but Zaire turned back to his daughter. "The river widens ahead. If we can get broadside, we'll pepper their hull an' sink 'em 'fore they catch us, girl." It was a solid plan and one that was sure to work as long as they could keep their speed. "They catch us an' we'll be boarded. That 'appens, ye stay at my side." 


Without waiting for an answer, Zaire was back over the railing of the crow's nest and scrambling down the rigging, passing Calder heading up, as he did. As the Sailing Master's mate, the boy had more experience in the crow's nest than Oseanie did and he was taking her place without having to be told. He'd keep them all updated as they prepared . . .


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Rachel
 

Zaire: "Fuck," "The river widens ahead. If we can get broadside, we'll pepper their hull an' sink 'em 'fore they catch us, girl." "They catch us an' we'll be boarded. That 'appens, ye stay at my side." 


"Aye, captain," Oseanie responded in haste before he disappeared, even though she wanted to point out that if they were boarded, the safest place for her was probably far away from him. If their captors made the connection between them, she would be in more danger, not less. 


For an uncomfortable moment, she was forced to actually ponder what might happen to her, if the ship was taken - she knew it would be worse than what Jasper Lambert had done because they would surely make certain she couldn't fight. The Easterners were likely far more experienced fighting in rivers than they were, and frankly it was a real possibility.


Oseanie's lips pursed, her eyes trained on the horizon and the small hints of the ship behind them. At just about the moment when Calder pulled himself up, it rounded the bend and came into full view. It sailed the green flag of the East clearly - it was an official ship of the Duke's, whose henchmen were known to be as ruthless as he. 


That meant this was no chance encounter, not an opportunistic one, either. They were being hunted. 


Oseanie knew she was needed on the deck for preparations, but she hesitated for an awkward moment as she turned to face the other teenage pirate. 


"You should kiss me," Oseanie said, the words as sure as they were deadpan. Her father had just told her that Calder thought she was beautiful, after all, and there was a real possibility they were about to die, or worse. They were the only two in their age group on the ship, and given how much time they spent together, it was only logical to assume they would eventually have tried kissing. The risk that the situation presented just sped up the process. 


She smiled, because she expected that would make her look more pleasant - kiassable - even though the truth was that she was scared. "I want you to." 


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Manda
 

Oseanie: "You should kiss me,"


Calder reached the crow's nest just as ship behind them came into view but not even the impending threat could keep greenish-hazel eyes from snapping to Oseanie at her words. "What?" The word came out before he could stop it, not because he hadn't heard her clearly - because he definitely had - but because she hadn't shown even the slightest hint of interest in him the entire time they'd known each other. In fact, had it been anyone other than Oseanie, he may have thought she was fucking with him, but the Captain's daughter didn't joke the same way other people did. Hell, she didn't joke at all. 


Oseanie: "I want you to."


Calder's lips parted, his eyebrows lowered, and a sudden lump of nervousness settled somewhere in the middle of his gut, but he wasn't going to hesitate. He stepped closer to Oseanie, all of his attention on her, because the promise of violence and death would still be there thirty seconds from now, but this opportunity wouldn't be and he was determined to seize it. So, his tongue darted out to wet his suddenly dry lips and he brought both hands up to cup her face and draw her in for the sort of kiss that years of fantasizing had perfected . . . 


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Rachel
 

Calder: "What?" 


Oseanie responded with what was probably the least seductive of shrugs, with her shoulders going up and down with no kind of rhythm and her hands flailing awkwardly. But even if Calder hesitated, he knew what to do… 


Because he did it. He kissed her. 


Honestly, the experience was more cerebral than Oseanie had hoped. She became aware of Calder's breath, his scent, and the way they both affected her own body - which wasn't unpleasant or insubstantial. She just didn't know what to do with it. Had they been celebrating a prize or something, she might have wanted to trust liquor and a friend in their exploration but…. 


When Oseanie's keen eyes did flutter open, more green sails on the horizon distracted her from Calder. He probably deserved her attention, or, at the least, some response from whatever their kiss had arisen… 


On the horizon - opposite the one with a ship in pursuit - there were now two lying in wait. Green sails as tall as ten or fifteen men left no question as to the fact.


Damn, Oseanie frowned. She was going to die on her first voyage. 


When she looked back at Calder, an analytical emptiness dominated her expression. She was worried about getting down to the deck to help… but, knowing Oseanie, if her haste would have mattered, she would have taken it. But instead, she cast a glance to the sky and stepped closer to Calder, with a series of quicker kissses - tongue, lips, air; tongue, lips-lips, air… 


And then that was it. Oseanie didn't know what to say; her emotional reaction would take who-knew-how-long to dissect. But she did know that this interaction had been good, and that she was happy. She hoped Calder was, too, as she turned away from him and hurried her way down the rigging to the deck. 


At this angle, it was harder to see in the direction they were going. Oseanie spoke loudly, but she found her father's eyes when she did: 


"There are two ships ahead," Oseanie pointed… "Green sails."


In addition to the massive one behind. 


The Siren's Song was being cornered. 


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