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Old 12-09-2015, 03:39 AM
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Part I: Scuttled Survivors

Part 1: Scuttled Survivors


We were schooner-rigged and rakish,
with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the crossbones and the skull;
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter dashed with other peoples brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank.

And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

O! then it was (while standing by the taffrail on the poop)
We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken coop;
Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.

O! the fiddle on the fo'c'sle, and the slapping naked soles,
And the genial "Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!"
With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead,
And the look-out not a-looking and his pipe-bowl glowing red.

Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south the sunset in the islands of the Blest.

-A Ballad of John Silver, by John Masefield




It had been a rough time since the shipwreck, but matters finally appeared to be settling down to a semblance of normalcy. Which meant the bickering had begun.

The dead had all been buried and the wounds of the living bound up as best they could be. The crew had scavenged enough drift and palm timber to make something of a settlement for themselves, and the rum had not yet run dry. But everyone knew change was coming down upon them swiftly yet again, and those who thought they could lead in the dear captain's stead were busy gathering to themselves those who were like-minded.

Yet no open hostilities had broken out as of yet, for such strife would be far too costly in this lot's fragile state. Krom, the former first mate of the Sapphire and one would-be leader, in particular never ceased reminding the crew that another frigate could come upon them at any time. But the camp was really three now, each with a spokesman for their view, each girding themselves for possible attack from the others. And then there were those that remained undecided.
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It was the disappearances though, that seemed to force the hands of these desperate men and women. First the lone surviving longboat and Freks and Wash had gone out toward the wreck of the Sapphire, hoping to scavenge more from the half-drowned ship. They had not returned even near a week since they left. But the real break that had come was when Esmeralda, the captain's wench, had disappeared along the northern shoreline.

It was morning now, on the 15th day since coming to this unknown island, and the crew was stirring. The head of Gallow the elf was seen popping in to the tents of Hamidi and Jitka, asking if they would come and speak with Shael, one of the leaders. Of the three, Shael was most in favor of building a new ship and putting out to sea as quick as possible, a true pirating lass through and through.

At near the same time Kallon the dwarf came for Havgrim and Cullen, saying that Krom wanted to see them. Athtar, a Hadeen from the east came for Ukozar, who Symas wanted to see. Symas was the former quartermaster and last of the leaders, and of them all his goal was the least clear, yet none disputed the keen workings of his mind had already decided his play.

None came for Coal, but that did not mean the shaman was without disturbances this morning. His spirit whispered from the ashes of the fire he had kept outside his tent, of dark things that moved in the jungle. They would not wait for much longer before pouncing on the unready crew. But without the captain's ear, who would listen to the mutterings of a savage?
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:48 AM
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Krom.

That two-faced s**t stirrer who still thought himself in control. What in the hells did he want this time?


Havgrim groaned as he stood up, rum bottle still in his hands from the night before. Cullen had apparently been called to see Krom too; Havgrim wasn't too sure how he felt about that. Was there any sort of bond between them because they were both from the North? Their blood was closer than some of the others, but that didn't necessarily mean they were friends here. Havgrim was determined not to give away his loyalties just yet-he wanted to see where the winning side was heading and jump ship to them.

"Alrigh', alrigh'! Just give me a minute, will yer?"

He was stalling, waiting to see how urgent the request was. He fumbled around for his pair of daggers, then shoved them onto his belt. He slapped on his breastplate and chuckled to himself. He wasn't going to be caught out by any of the crew, oh no.. He would be ready for their tricks.

"Fine. I am done. Which way to Krom, eh?"
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Old 01-02-2016, 01:49 AM
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Coal feeling the ill-boding of the faintest of whispers from the dying coals from the fire outside his tent was slow to rise from the makeshift platform built of driftwood that he slept upon since they had arrived on these sandy shores, rose slowly that morning as he wanted to give the spirits time to settle before he stepped out on the already warming sand. It had only been a few handful of nights since they arrived in this place and no clear leadership had made itself apparent that would have been easy to ingrate himself with, instead there were three rival positions at the moment and he was not in a rush to embrace any of them until there was some dominance gained that ensure he chose the right side of things. Despite his exotic nature a few came and shared his fires or sought his advice from time to time, mostly cause his food offerings tended to be better than most could manage on their own and his healing arts were still useful, and if the spirits were right would be even more useful in the short time to come.

Frin stretched in mock protest as Coal rose finally, from where he hung from the tents center pole, as Frin's wings spread what shadows remained in the tent seemed to vanish as well with the nimbus of light that surrounded the bat, not that Coal treated him as mundane as that. Coal grabbed his rucksack of meager belongings, and slipped a bandoleer across his shoulders adjusting it so the weight felt right before he picked up his worn club that had rested in the sand beside where he slept for one might never know when a weapon might be needed. Lastly he slipped the bleached white skull mask with its hanging woven strands of hair trailing behind it that draped down to the middle of his back, wood tokens, bits of unidentifiable bones were haphazardly affixed within the hair which did little to make him blend in with the others who had been cast upon this shore. Stepping forth from the tent he paused for a moment in reflection upon the cool ashes resting just feet from his tent, as if sensing his eyes they seemed to shift as if blown upon by the slightest of breeze revealing the darker ashes beneath, the spirit's presence from this morning was more distant than before but he still felt the lingering omen of the message.

Looking down the beach he watched with interest quietly as followers of various groups seemed to be gathering, wondering if there would finally be a shift in the balance of power with these stranded men and women as they waited impatiently for some sign of rescue. Its only a matter of time before the niceties of civilization are cast aside and some savagery comes to the fore, i can almost feel the change in the air Frin

If Frin cared or had a thought of his own it wasn't forthcoming, instead Coal selected a nearby rock upon which to sit as he watched these meetings unfold waiting to see what might come of them.
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Old 01-02-2016, 03:03 PM
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Ukozar

Ukozar was asleep in his tent when Athtar comes rustling at his tent. His one yellow eye snaps open and he growls in warning before Athtar hails him by name.

Opening the flap slightly, the two speak in hushed tones, and Ukozar nods once before Athtar departs.

Symas, eh? He be trusted by da Cap'n and never shown me disrespect. S'pose I can see wot he's fixin' ter chat 'bout...

Exiting the tent, clad only in his breeches, he stretches his upper body, taking pleasure in the small pops and cracks as the kinks work themselves out. Giving a hard look to anyone nearby, he proceeds to the meeting Symas had requested of him.

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Old 01-02-2016, 05:51 PM
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Meanwhile, on the northern shore, Esmeralda washed up on dry land. She made do with what she found, made a small fire and undressed. She caught a fish and cooked it and ate while trying to keep warm. Once her clothes dried, she dressed. Looking down the shore, she thought she saw campfires. Hoping they were the crew, she began heading towards them.
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:03 PM
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Hamidi MagoroSummons were never Hamidi's favorite things. He was still getting used to being at others' beck and call. Calling his own shots was deeply ingrained in him, and he had been looking forward to a greater degree of autonomy ever since he had secured his possessions following the shipwreck. But Shael wanted him, and he wasn't really in a position to deny her.

Levering himself off the ground, he strapped his belt about his waist, checking that his pistol and sword were properly secured, but easily available should this go south. Survival would be easier if he didn't need to flat kill someone, but it wouldn't be the first time he had eliminated someone just because it made his life simpler. Murder among pirates would also elevate his status as a ruthless, efficient man. Enough of that, Hamidi, he chided himself, There will be opportunities for spilling blood sooner or later.

Pulling the flap of the tent aside, the dark-skinned man picked his way to the leader's dwelling, constantly reminding himself that she was his fastest route to favor among the remnants of the crew. Survival was paramount, and making sure not to anger Shael was the best way to ensure survival.
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:33 PM
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Jitka let the guitar lead her, as she had every day since the wreck. Fingers dance across the strings and coaxed music from metal and wood. Her tent, nothing more than a scrap of sail pulled over a low-hanging rope, was as central to the rest of the sprawling encampment as possible back when she put it up. With the shifting loyalties came shifting residences and now her tent was more toward the edge then the center. It bothered her some, having desired to be as close to the gossip as possible. The music ends abruptly with the elf's arrival, the guitar laid across her lap.

"Not a social call, then? You disappoint me." It was chiding. She and Gallow had a sibling-style relationship, which was to say that she did everything possible to irritate him like a little sister and he did everything he could to boss her around like an older brother. Her smile, nearly ear to the ear, remained until he disappeared. Then it fell. accompanied by a sigh, and she slid the strap of the instrument over her shoulder. These power struggles she'd been witnessing recently, simmering tension and raised voices only so far, were really bringing down her tropical vacation vibe. The whip is lashed at her waist, weapons in appropriate sheaths, and she pushes through he cloth that serves as her doorway. The air is heavy with salt and sunshine, her eyes narrowing against the glare. As she makes her way toward Shael's residence, she finds herself walking beside Hamidi. A quick snag for the pistol, her instincts put to work, starts the conversation.

"When you gonna teach me to use this?" She tosses the gun from one hand to another, then yanks the hand crossbow off her hip and pretends to weigh them against one another on her open palms. "It's lighter than I thought." Hooking the crossbow back in place, she takes the gun by the barrel and holds it up to him. "You should use something bigger." Offering him a smile, she does her best to keep up with his wider stride. "I knew a kid in Greymoor who had this gun that was as long as he was tall. It made the loudest sound I've ever heard. He couldn't hit the side of a galleon at ten paces but it looked pretty impressive." They pass a fire where someone was roasting some form of animal life. The smell made her mouth water and her stomach ache. Soon after, she realizes they may well be moving in the same direction. "Where you going?"
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Old 01-07-2016, 12:43 AM
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Cullen swayed lazily, sprawled between two trunks in his hammock in such a fashion as to give any observer the impression that more limbs were outside the thing than in. His eyes roamed about the sky, pausing here and there to focus on a particularly interesting cloud while his busily whittling fingers worked against the wind to maintain the pile of wood shavings on his bare chest. "Mmmm? He does, ey?"

The gruff tones of Kallon's message managed to raise only this non-committal response. Of course, a factor in this distraction was a notably attractive formation he fancied held a distinct resemblance to the rear quarters of certain women with whom he was more than passingly familiar. Though, on second thought, it was far more likely they'd been too long on this blasted island. The forced idleness was definitely starting to gt to him.

With a grunt, Cullen rolled nimbly out of the hammock and nodded to the dwarf. "I'll be along then. Tell 'im or don't." Without needing to look his right hand stowed away the whittling knife at his belt with quick, familiar motions, while his left cleared those wood shavings still stubbornly clinging to chest hairs and navel in a few brusque swipes. Let's see what Krom wants then. Maybe we can finally get off this spit.

A quick stretch to wake up his long limbs later and Cullen felt ready enough to speak to the would be leader, or at the very least to be spoken at by him. Any more could be decided when it came to.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:12 PM
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As she gets closer to the campfires, Esmeralda gets down in the grass watches, trying to see who the people are....
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:22 AM
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Coal continues to watch the camp from his rocky perch near the end of the camp and by the lapping waves of the salty waters curious if the factions will make a move a cement some kind of leadership among them for this rivalry can only go on for so long before it must come to an end. With the sun already making its way higher and higher in the sky he knows soon enough the heat of the day will waft in, often making the men restless, but for now he simply sits and waits to see what will happen with the bleached skull mask upon his head and a
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:57 PM
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Esmeralda continues to watch, trying to see if any are her crew, she sees one keeping watch. She wonders if she should try to creep forward or wait...
 
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Old 01-10-2016, 04:59 PM
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Kallon grunts in response to Havgrim, waiting outside his tent without another word. Apparently Krom is patient enough, for this. When Havgrim does emerge, the sturdy dwarf, tilts his head back over his shoulder, several large cracks popping in his neck satisfyingly as he does so before he turns and stalks away, expecting to be followed. A little while later they both waited for Cullen to join them, the man hopping from his hammock wearing little more than woodshavings for a shirt. In comparison to Havgrim, who came ready for a fight, Cullen looked woefully underdressed. But Kallon never said as much, simply leading the two men away as he'd be told.

Before long they arrived at the foot of a rocky outcrop that shot up from the sand and where Krom had chosen to construct his meager base, it's defensive nature apparent to all. A short climb up rocks brought them up to where Krom sat, watching their ascent along with the rest of the camp below. Lexand, the other Vygar still alive among the crew, is here. Bruma and Jastine are as well. Lexand, Kallon and Jastine were no surprise to see here. All three had ties to Krom: the first two had been with him before he'd been named first mate, when they'd all come down from the north to seek their fortunes. Jastine was Krom's woman, though she'd once set her sights on the Captain himself, before the half-elf had been rejected in favor of Esmeralda. Of the crew, Jastine seemed the only one happy about Esmeralda's disappearance. The mystery here was Bruma, the shrewd old Umbulu woman who always had kept to herself. Why would she side with Krom?

As Cullen and Havgrim approached, the women passed them bowls of food. It was a bit meager, but when your shipwrecked, can one really afford to complain when someone else does the cooking for you? Krom sat forward on his chair, waving for both men to sit. "I'm glad you both came, I've been meaning to have this talk with you for awhile now. Tell me, what you see, when you look down on our little camp here? How do you feel when you think on it? Safe?"

The view from the outcrop does give some perspective. Looking either left or right reveals a mile or more of bare shoreline, the northern end disappearing behind the slope of a small mountain that rises prominently from the sea. The band of sand that lies between the sea and the jungle is no more than 50 feet wide in most places, in some 100 feet. But inland lies untouched wilds, and no clear view of anything other than green is visible that way. Thus far, the crew hadn't explored the depths of the jungle, unsure of what they might find there. Krom spoke again, to regain Cullen and Havgrim's attention.

"All I'm saying is, we're exposed. Unready. We need to fix that. The imperials were after our heads already, what makes you think one sunken frigate'll make them stop looking? What if we're here, just lollygagging and the first ship to spot us is imperial, what then? We just gonna throw up a flag and sing our way to the gallows? We need to be ready for that. A ship'll take too long to build, if we can even get the right timbers for it. A fortified position'll be much faster and easier to make, and then we can wait it out until a ship makes for shore. Then we catch'em by surprise, take the ship and we're back on the sea. We just need to have patience. But I need the crew behind me to see it done. So what say you, will you support my proposition?"




Athtar was a quiet man, but his demeanor as he spoke with Ukozar conveyed respect. "Sun's blessings upon you." A familiar Hadeen greeting.

"Follow me, what he has to say is for you alone."

The two men make their way to the shallow grotto at the back of the camp where Symas has setup a makeshift base and store, continuing his work as quartermaster even in the absence of a captain. Entering within, Ukozar found others present as well. Riniya, Tuka and Hally, a mixed lot with no obvious connections to each other. Symas stands up from his chair to greet the new arrival, clasping hands with Ukozar in a reassuring way, placing his second hand over the first as they shake. The man isn't much to look at physically. Of Braeshan stock, he was nearing middle-age, gangly limbs and a belly rounded by too much rum, though a scar along his right eyebrow had earned him at least an ounce of respect among the fiercer crewmen, though he'd never shared the story of how he'd earned it. "Come, sit down and have a drink Ukozar. I have a proposal for you."

Symas waved the others out, and for the moment the two men sat alone inside the rocky hollow, their faces from below by the small fire that crackled in the pit dug into the center of the floor, and from above by a few shafts of light that penetrated from outside.

"Captain Dalton was a good man, as you know. He had my respect as I am sure he had yours. But his time is done now, and these others, Krom and Shael, and the rest, well, they just don't seem like the kind of leader I'd follow, if you know what I mean. The stars know, I don't fit the bill either, but that got me to thinking. We've recovered enough loot from the wreckage to keep us affloat for a good while, were we back on the mainland. It seems most profitable to me, given the recent interest the King has in seeing our kind ended, that we find our way off this cursed shoal and go our separate ways. But Krom and Shael won't have it. Krom wants to dig his heels in, and build himself a little roost here to rule over. That's what the Vygar do, and believe me, he won't let go of that kind of power for nothing or no one, once he has it. Shael, bless her, wants to take back to the seas, but she doesn't have the heart or the might to keep this lot in line. There'd be a mutiny within a week, and that's if she even finds means to make a new ship worthy of the task."

Symas took a swig from his mug, looking into the fire for a moment as he waits for his words to sink in a bit before continuing.

"I want to hire you on, Ukozar. You're good in a pitch, as the Captain saw. As I see. I need an enforcer, to keep me protected, aye, but more than that. I plan to stir up trouble, keep the others from getting to high and mighty, 'til we can find a way out of here. So long as neither of them gain control of the whole of the crew, we can make good with our plan and keep on living free, and well, too. What do you say?"




Gallow greeted Hamidi with a smile, though the two had barely known each other onboard the Sapphire. Gallow had been something of a newcomer before the ship had sunk. "What ho, mate. Yargh. The elf swung his right arm across his chest, stopping to do his best imitate of a bicep flex. When the response he had expected was not given, Gallow faltered.

"Um, wait, that didn't sound right, did it? Elvish is my first language you know, and we don't really have a lot of good seafaring terms, if you understand my meaning. Right, of course you do. Sorry. I'll have to have Sahel coach me on that again later. Anyway, ready to go?"

The pair made their way to Jitka's sail-tent, though Gallow stopped to kick at a tuft of grass growing in the sand for a bit. Sighing and slumping his shoulders, he said, "Well, I suppose it can't be helped. I'll be just a moment." Calling on Jitka, he gave a forced smile at her quip, but his tone was certainly different from the one he used with Hamidi. "Jitka, Shael wants you. Best be about it, and in a hurry will you? And preferably without musical accompaniment, thanks."

Beforelong, they made their way down through the camp, Gallow rolling his eyes at Jitka's story. Shael had chosen to stay on the sand, close to the water, a large bonfire built open on the sand, still blazing strong even though it was morning. There were others here too of course, Shael always being one of the more popular officers onboard the ship. Hamish squatted on a log pulled near the fire, eating some roasted fish that Aylmer had brought in fresh just an hour before, and which the fisherman was still busy cooking on a spit near the fire. Nearby, Shael sat with Yotul, discussing shipbuilding and what Yotul thought of the timbers above the shoreline. When Jitka and Hamidi arrived, she waved them over. "You came, good. This is good. Grab a fish from Aylmer and come on over. There is much to discuss."

The fish were modestly seasoned with salt and lime, but they had been cooked perfectly, something with which Jitka's watering mouth would certainly be pleased. Gallow took a seat nearby, content to listen to what Shael would say.

"My friends, we've sat here on this beach doing nothing for far too long. Aye, our dear Captain is gone, and so are many of our dear mates, but we can't sit and mope forever. We all know the draw of the sea, of the bounty to be had. Captain Dalton taught us that much at least. It's time we set about returning to it. Without Pel of course, things are more difficult for us. A ship's carpenter as good as she can't be easily replaced. But I've discussed the matter with Yotul here, who served as her apprentice, and she thinks the timbers here further in from the shoreline would make for a decent hull and masts. But there's a lot more we need of course. Material for sails and rope, tools to work the wood and shape it. It's too much for a few souls to manage reasonably. I know the two of you relish our life at sea as much as I do, which is why I've brought you in. What do you say? Ready to build a ship?"




Esmeralda felt watched as she readied herself, but then that could have been from years of feeling that way as she had lived aboard the Sapphire. It was still a lot to take in: the battle, the storm, riding the thundering waves until they had brought her to shore. Who else had survived? She didn't even know what had become of Herick. At least he hadn't been one of the others that had floated near her, who she had watched as one by one they were claimed by the sea, unsure of when her own turn to be claimed would come.

Seeing the campfires brought a sense of hope to her, one she hadn't felt for days. And yet still the feeling of being watched stayed with her, intensifying as she crept through the grass. Looking about, she sees two faces looking at her. One is the mask she knew the ship's shaman to wear. A mysterious man to her, but still one of the crew, and that at least brought her comfort. He appeared to be looking in her direction, but the sweep of his gaze indicated to her that he had not actually seen her yet. The other face she saw was much more concerning. There was someone standing on the edge of the forest, and his gaze directly met her own. It was a young boy, dressed in rags, whose face looked strangely familiar to Esmeralda, but how she could not place. As she watched, the boy waved to her and smiled, disappearing back into the forest.




Coal sat and watched the jungle, though he saw nothing of note. For a moment, he imagined something moving just inside the trees, but it had only been for a moment. Still, his intense gaze continued searching, remembering the omen from his spirit. The snapping of a twig someone to the north among the grasses broke his concentration, though when he looked to see what it might be, he again saw nothing. Most likely it was just a small rodent scurrying that had caused the sound.
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Old 01-10-2016, 05:45 PM
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Finally able to recognize the people, she sees it's the crew and she sigh a breath of relief, she was glad more survived than she hoped. Esmeralda stood up and began walking toward the camp. "Ai yo ho! Am I glad to see you all!" she waves with a smile. She seems to have her belongings, a rapier at her left side, a dagger sheath at her right thigh and a bow. Backpack as well. Dressed in her tight brown studded leather armor, showing the ample cleavage that the crew had often enjoyed when she was nearby. Her full hair flows in the wind.

Last edited by WildJessi; 01-12-2016 at 12:29 AM.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2016, 02:42 PM
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The omens of this morning still weighed heavily upon Coal for the spirits of fire were not known to be frivolous and there was most certainly a threat out there, even though it wasn't entirely known what it was, he squinted off into the jungle as if he might have heard something but could not find any obvious signs. Shrugging it off as just the normal noise of the jungle or an animal moving through the tall grass he was about to turn back to watching the various gatherings of the crew when none other than Esmeralda stood up from the tall grass and strode towards camp like it was just any other day.

hmmmmm.....where had she been. Coal wondered and he watched the tall grass part as she stepped out onto the beach not far from his rocky perch, hopping down from the rock he work his way across the sand towards her as he wondered what she had been up to since wreck and if she had seen any sign of others.

"Alive and well I see Esmeralda, it must have been you I heard a few moments ago, or are there others with you?"

Coal's common tongue was accented, but not so much that there was a struggle to understand him when he spoke, and he genuinely appeared pleased to see her.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:39 AM
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Seeing Coal, she puts a hand on his shoulder, happy to see a friendly face. "Just me I'm afraid. Twas washed up north of here, saw no one else, was afraid that I was alone." Looking towards the camp. "How many survived?"
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