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 A Rather Muddled-Up Winter { open to anyone }

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Peter Kirkland

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Posts : 7
Join date : 2012-01-11
Age : 18
Location : in the middle of the sea

PostSubject: A Rather Muddled-Up Winter { open to anyone }   Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:24 pm

Was it winter already?

The salt-encrusted little child awoke to his breath turning into mist right above his nose, his woolen blanket--ragged at the edges and stiff as a board--tangled and frozen in between his legs. And there was a smell--oh, that was right--he should probably empty his bedpan in due time, before the whole hut stank of uncleanliness.

Uncleanliness and salt--that was what Sea smelt of at the moment. The sea salt smell wasn't exactly something he could do anything about--scraping off the layers of dried salt underneath the general dirt that covered his skin would take a mess of time, and the boy didn't have time if he wanted to get to mending the fishing nets--

The fishing nets. The heaps of fishing nets bequeathed to him, along with the rest of the hut, that were as ancient as they were sturdy. The nets that were still cast over the pier. He hadn't pulled them up last night--he had gotten too tired and had collapsed upon his cot with no further ado. Hurriedly, he threw his cape around himself and tumbled outside, only to find the ropes to his nets frozen stiff, and the rest of the outside blanketed in a layer of snow--at least three feet deep.

Sea's face fell at the sight of it--snow. He adored snow--just like any other child. It was a magic blanket that changed your surroundings from dry and hard and rocky to white and soft and wet. Snow was something of magic, and magic was brilliant and wild and it blinded you with its brightness--

But right now, where he stood, Sea could not be a child. It hadn't snowed like this last winter, and he was able to keep his little 'business' running, able to get to town and back just fine, so he could have enough coal to last the chills of the winter months. But this winter--this snow--it killed everything. He would never be able to hoist up the nets like this, and no nets meant no fish, and no fish meant no money...

Why had he never paid attention to how to fish during the winter?

Forcing himself to not cry, not one tear, the child scrambled back into the iron hut, his hands shaking from the cold, and he hobbled his way to the little metal box where he kept all his gold, safe and sound. Ever since he had escaped from the eyes of the royals--of the people who made sure that no one ever found out about him--and accepted this lovely, tiny island in the middle of the sea, he had been relinquished from any sort of financial aid.

And when he opened his dingy little money-box with quivering fingers, all that glinted back at him were two bronze pieces and a charcoal stub.

With a half-whine, half-moan, the tiny child slumped over on his cot, his head on his arm, shivering in the cold that whispered through the hut. This was just about enough to buy him half a bag of horse feed in town, or one night in a stable alongside the mules.

But it was cold--so very cold, already--the water in his pitcher had already turned solid, and the hearth only had enough coal for another night, and his fingers were starting to shake and the nets were frozen and the bread was stale and the money-box was empty--and--and--

Without another word, the boy began to cry--long, ragged sobs of ineptitude and confusion and the incredible wish that he could be in a warm, stone house right now, sitting on the carpet in front of the hearth, warm and dry and clean in clothing that wasn't old or ragged or soaked in seawater. And that he would have company. The hut was too cold for one small person. Sniffling as tears ran down his cheeks and into his sleeve, he picked up his head and pulled his blankets around his shoulders, blankly using whatever control he had over water to draw out the tears from his clothing. Fat lot of good that did, he thought to himself, wiping his nose on his cot. I'm cold, and I'm hungry, and my Sealand is covered in three feet of snow, he thought to himself, frowning in self-pity. And this winter is turning out to be really rather muddled-up.

Hiccuping slightly, he pulled his blanket tighter around his small frame, and stood up shakily to hobble to the open door, the air crisp and hard and freezing around him, suffocating him. This was only his second year of being alone, his second winter, and would he die now? Alone and cold and freezing and hungry and wallowing in self-pity...?

Wait a tick. Self-pity?

Wiping the tears violently out of his eyes, the boy opened them to gaze upon the wide sea, and at the strip of grey that was Essex in the distance. Stupid, stupid, stupid--why should I be sad at all? I'm Sea, self-declared Prince of Sealand, and it isn't as if I haven't been lonely and cold and hungry before--I'll simply have to deal with it!

Setting his jaw, the boy turned back to the hut and found an empty canvas sack. Shoving in all the clothes he possessed, his little money-tin, the stale bread on his table, the crucifix from his bedside (you should never travel without any proper protection) and his flask of water, he set his jaw and made his cot, so it was as neat as he could make it. He didn't have any shoes, but that was alright--his feet could bear the snow. Securing his cape around his body and swinging the sack over his shoulder, he grabbed his cap from hanging on his bedpost and shoved it upon his own head, puffing out his chest as he stepped out into the snow.

Within a few minutes, he was in his old rowboat--he had nicknamed it 'Kraken'--and he was rowing out sea, looking back at his lovely, snow-capped island--Sea's land--and making his mindset. He would head into town and offer his services to anyone he met--he was a clever, somewhat-able-bodied young man, and there had to be someone in need of an errand boy, somewhere--and he would work there, for the winter, for whoever needed him, whoever wanted him--someone's bound to need him, somewhere. And in the spring, once the snow had thawed and the fish were willing again, he would return and everything would be better, and this muddled-up winter would melt away.

About half an hour later, he tied his rowboat to the to the town pier and found his way, freezing and cold and barefoot and so incredibly small, to the city center, where carriages and people and horses and voices came and went, so quickly, they gave him a headache. Shaking his head, he lifted his chin--freezing and cold and barefoot and small he was, but he was also bright and cheerful and happy and ready to please--so he forced on a smile and secured his bag over his shoulder. There were so many travelers here--people from different places, moving as fast as the clouds did overhead--someone was bound to need him--

Someone would...


ooc; Hullo! My first open RP on here--I hope it isn't too short... but, in short--working boy for hire! Twelve years old, works cheap, any sort of odd errand or job or anything! Assets--great cheer and spirit and determination!
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Angelique Ramatoulaye

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Posts : 14
Join date : 2011-12-16
Location : La Republik du Seychelles

PostSubject: Re: A Rather Muddled-Up Winter { open to anyone }   Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:47 pm

I am made of ice and stone.

It was her first thought, upon crossing the frigid, angry waters and stepping foot on the rocks of the British Isles. Her skin bristled against the harsh wind, tiny dark hairs standing on end. The air was sharper then knives, left in the fire 'til white-hot and burning. Her muscles tensed, her skin stretched taut, like marble, only to break and shatter like glass. Her insides had been numb, her heart barely beating, tired muscles fighting to keep on.

And then she wasn't numb, she was burning, her breaths ragged, gasping. Her body, so used to relentless sun and warm breezes, the skin so resilient against fire and salt, began to succumb to the icy chill of the Isles. Her lips chapped, her skin cracked, her throat screaming in protest. It was rather like drowning, she thought, if she ever knew what drowning was like; the air here was so dry, so cold, so unnatural, that is was almost like she had no air at all. She hugged herself for warmth, her eyes closing, longing for the numbness...

Rather an overreaction to the average British winter, but Angelique Ramatoulaye was of the equator. None of this snow nonsense, or days that somehow managed to be both dry and overcast. Ice, she thought savagely, was for cold drinks and treats. It was not to be cast about on the ground, to seep into one's shoes and cling to the edges of one's trousers.

She hated ice. She was a water-bender, a child of the warm seas, a woman that had the slightest instance of fire trickling through her veins. For her, Hell was frozen.

The crew had taken pity on the dark-skinned, foreign woman and had supplied her with all of the fleabitten, ragged, frozen-solid excuses for blankets they could scrounge up. It was under these boards she had huddled, her dark hair clinging to her face, her body curled into itself for warmth, for the past several hours. She hadn't the slightest whether their kindness was due to her nobility, or her smile, or if they had guessed her 'occupation', but she appreciated it nonetheless. Had she been up to it, she would have spent the time on the ropes, trading tales with the sailors, laughing, the wind turning her elaborate coif into a bird's nest...

Alas, she'd been far too cold to join in, and departed the ship without any new friendships. A pity, that; she'd encountered sailors from the British Isles before, and found she rather liked them. They were a friendly, hardworking, loyal bunch, traits that Angelique prized before all others, and she was glad to call many Brits her friend. She had recognised none of them, however, and had been careful not to let slip her full name; the thought of what her mates would say, were they to hear of her fragile disposition in the cold...She shuddered. She'd never hear the end of it.

Of course, leaving the ship behind meant leaving the blankets behind, as well, and she'd returned them with trembling fingers. How the Captain had managed to hear her fervent thanks through such chattering teeth was beyond her, but he seemed to understand. As she made her way through the crowded port, the fire in her fingers grew, and she began to curse her father under her breath.

A habit of hers, actually, but this time she injected a bit of venom into it. Her noble, aristocratic father, so proud, so elegant, who could not stand the idea of being on a ship and found the whole practice distasteful. Unfitting for a woman, he'd say, drawing himself up and looking down his nose at her in that manner of his; never mention how unfitting he found it for men, too!

And yet, who had he asked to take the journey over the Channel? And during the winter, no less! Of course, she supposed she had set herself up for it; years of arguing over the propriety of her hobbies, her love of the sea and the sails, had certainly not helped her case. And she did love the ocean, she did love braving the winds and the waters, plumbing the secrets of the deep, the life of a sailor; but she was also rather attached to her fingers, and found the idea of them falling off a bit distasteful.

Yes, while her father hated for her to come home caked in salt and grease and sweat, while he hated the company she kept and her drinking and smoking habits, he also knew when to use them to his advantage.

So, when there was a noble gathering in London that he didn't fancy attending- something to do with the Eyebrows, she hadn't the slightest and cared even less- he naturally turned to her. Only a few days in Britain, he'd told her over his glass of wine, and a trip across the Channel, too! He'd failed to meet her eyes, though, and she had her misgivings...But he was her father, and she was a Countess. She hadn't a choice. Besides, she brooded, perhaps she would use this as an excuse to stay behind at the next engagement.

And now, here she was- the charmingly freezing town of Essex. She'd a few days yet before she took the arduous- and by arduous, she meant boring- journey to the large, bustling, and altogether more interesting city of London. As it was, she glanced around, rubbing her hands absentmindedly; long rows of wattle-and-daub houses loomed like bright ghosts out of the thick fog that seemed to cling to the stones of the cobbled path; lanterns were being snuffed out by an overweight, bad tempered baker on the porch of his store; travelers and natives alike milled about in an endless storm of people.

A shout from behind jolted her out of her musings; she'd stopped in the middle of the street, too caught up in her thoughts to make notice of the actual number of people that were currently in quite a rush to get somewhere. The boy that had accosted her seemed to be a few years older, and nearly half a foot taller. He was lean, stringy, and his face was currently being laid siege to-with success- by a particularly powerful wave of acne. He was currently glaring at her- apparently she'd been told to move.

Angelique Ramatoulaye did not simply move, and did not appreciate being told to do so- particularly by such a rude, tasteless specimen. What she did next had less to do with her authority as a noble, and more with his lack of respect for other human beings.

Smack.

Her dark, slender hand cracked across the youth's face with far more force than he'd reckoned on, and he took a step back, shocked. A red welt was appearing on his cheek, and blood was rushing to the rest of his face, as well. From all around, gasps and laughter could be heard as the villagers paused to watch the exchange.

"Eskize mwen, monsier," she spat, "Men I would ask d'at ne'st time, ya' do not shout in such a rude fashion at a woman. If someone is in ya' way, ya' ask nicely. Let me 'ear ya' try." She raised an eyebrow, a frigid hand on her hip, fire burning in her dark, exotic eyes. It was with this gaze that she fixed the young man, and any ideas of fighting back went out the window; he bowed his head in humiliation, muttering a brief apology and asking her to move. "Please," he added in an undertone, as her eyes flashed and her hand raised.

"Much better," she returned, dropping her hand to her side. "A bit of respect goes a long way. Mind ya' manners, boug, or d'a back of my 'and will not be d'a worst d'ing ya' feel." Turning on the heel of her boot, she spun round and walked off, the corners of her lips curling in amusement as the small crowd parted for her path before dispersing. Even as she disregarded her status, Angelique still possessed the ability to silence a crowd and earn respect. It was one of the things that made her so successful on the sea, and something that fueled her desire to obtain her own ship.

She'd been told not to make an entrance and to keep her head low, but she would not tolerate such blatant disrespect; if anything, she'd mimicked her father. Well, she thought bitterly, she hadn't mimicked him, he would never have had the courage to do such a thing: he was far too cowardly, in her mind.

She stopped as she reached the city square. This was where the townspeople were at their busiest, far removed from the lapping waves and rocky shore of the piers. They bustled and milled about, commoners calling out to friends, enemies, striking bargains, stopping to drop a few coins in the rusted metal cups of the meager panhandlers. Despite the cold, Angelique shook her head back, her curls cascading past her shoulders, and she made for the nearest pub. Bit early for drinking, but it was in pubs that the warmest fires burnt, and where the roughest, wildest, kindest sailors sat. Where there were sailors, there was the sea, and regardless of how far away she was from her true home- her home in Praslin- the sea was always where her heart lay.

It was during her trek across the village square, ducking past another smelly, tired-looking horse and the equally tired and irritable driver, that she noticed the boy. Small, thin, his feet bare and his hair tangled- she recognised the signs immediately. She'd seen it in herself, when her mother had passed- a child without a family, and so a child without a true home. It had been hard enough as a child of nobility, but for a commoner...She'd seen children of his plight before, and it never failed to tug at her heartstrings.

Hastening towards him, she stopped, frowning. What was she going to do? Take him in? Pére would never allow it...but he had taken a child in when he was her age, she thought, and as hypocritical as he was, he would be trapped by his own past! As a sailor, though, she'd never be able to care for the boy on her own; that would require spending far more time in one place...unless she took him on as an apprentice? Perhaps when she acquired her own ship, he'd be a cabin boy... she could teach him, as well!

She'd always wanted to be a mother.

She was getting ahead of herself. She took a deep breath, continued in the boy's direction. First, a good, strong meal, perhaps a warm bath. She could do that much for him, at least. She knelt to the ground, her warm brown eyes level with the blue gaze of the child before her. Nearly all traces of the woman on the piers was gone; she still had that same air of respect, but no anger or coldness was in her eyes, now.

"Bonzour, disik. What are ya' doin', all alone out 'ere?" She frowned, her heart twisting as she glanced down at his tiny, purple toes. "Let's get ya' out of d'a cold, yeah?"


ooc; Hullo. I know who you are. ;D
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