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Old 09-22-2005, 10:47 AM   #1
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On the rising tide chapter 1

**Disclaimer – Though inspired in part by people who exist in reality, this story is not meant to represent them in any literal way. The setting and timeline for this story are complete tripe. The atmosphere of the story was considered far more important than accuracy, as it’s meant only to be a fairy tale of sorts. (Think of the movie Moulin Rouge. You don’t really think they sang songs by U2 and Nirvana, do you? ) So I apologize in advance to anyone who is a history buff. This is in no way meant to represent reality in any sense. No offense is meant to anyone who resembles in any way any of the characters in the story. It’s all meant in good fun.

On the rising tide Chapter 1

Ireland; Somewhere in the 1700’s


Bono looked around at the harried activity of the docks, watching as crews hoisted loads of supplies onto their ships and men climbed the masts to hang far overhead with no fear of falling to the hard deck below. He heard the occasional burst of laughter from a group of rowdy sailors, but mostly he heard the shouted commands of the different ships captains and their first mates. It was an unfamiliar world to him, and although fascinating, it was overwhelming.

“Edge…” He said, his steps faltering before they reached the gangway of one of the smaller ships, which bore the name dáigh aingeal (Stubborn Angel).
“I’m not certain this really is the best plan of action.” Edge stopped and turned to look back at his mate, frowning at his hesitance.

“It’s either this ship or the prison ship in Galway bay.” He reminded him under his breath. “And frankly, there’s no guarantee they’re going to want you on this ship, but we both know you’ve seat on the other.”

“All right, you’re right.” Bono agreed holding his hands up in a sign of surrender. From above their heads they heard a booming voice call out to them.

“Evans! About time you arrived, I was startin’ to think we’d have to find a wee lassie to take your place so we could sail!” A portly man with protruding ears and red, round cheeks called out from over the railing.

“McGuinness! You were hoping I wouldn’t show so you could help yourself to me share of the hard tack.” Edge returned jovially.

“Not so! Your share of the beer, perhaps, but I eat as little of the hard tack as I can survive on.” The man told him with a broad grin as he bounced down the gangway to greet the newcomers.

“Bono, this is my old friend Paul McGuinness.” Edge introduced them. “Paul, this is the man I was telling you about. Do you have a place for him aboard?”

“Where’s the rest of him?” Paul joked, teasing Bono about his shorter than average stature. Bono scowled as Edge laughed heartily at the man’s personal attack. “Aye, we got room for the both of you aboard. I’ll warn you though, Captain Mullen likes to run with as few men and as much stock as we can handle. There’s no shortage of work aboard the aingeal.” The man informed him, turning and gesturing for them to follow.

“I’m not going to ask what kind of name ‘Bono’ is. I’m not even going to ask what you did to make you need to take to sea, lad. I do, however, need to ask, have you ever crewed a ship before?” He said, turning to Bono, his eyes surprisingly sharp and clear in his soft round face. Bono shook his head in reply.

“No, sir I haven’t. But I’m a quick learner, and I mean to earn my keep.” He told the man smartly.

“I’ve no doubt you will, Captain Mullen isn’t known to attract layabouts to his employ.” Paul told him with a wink. “Edge, you’ll be sure to show him the way everything is done, won’t you?”

“I’ll do me best to see neither he nor the ship takes too much damage as a result of his being aboard.” Edge replied, earning another hoot of laughter from the jolly man.

“And I’ll let the captain know ye said that.” Paul called back as he hustled off to the quarterdeck to find Captain Mullen.

“Why d’ya feel the need to make me out as a complete arse?” Bono asked sullenly.

“Because if they think ye’re an idiot they won’t expect much out of you and be pleasantly surprised to discover ye’ve half a brain in you’re head. If I talk you up and make them think you’re a fucking brilliant man o’ the sea, your inexperience will just look like laziness.” Edge informed his overly sensitive friend. Bono seemed to accept this explanation as Edge led him below deck to the crew quarters.

“Stow your belongings in here.” He explained, kicking a small wooden foot locker. “And when yer not on duty find an empty hammock and try and get some sleep.” He continued, climbing into one of the swaying bunks to show how it was properly done. “And fer God’s sake don’t break yer neck getting’ in and out of it. I didn’t save yer arse just to see your clumsiness finish the job the English started.”

“I think I can handle getting in and out of bed.” Bono informed him sourly, climbing arse first into the hammock as Edge had done, only to be promptly flipped head over heels back out onto the floor. Edge laughed so hard that he doubled over at the waist and fought to catch his breath.

“Bono, you have the voice of an angel and are as prolific with verse as the greatest of writers ever has been. But you really must learn to accept the fact that you have the grace of a three legged dog in a pair of breeches.” He told his mate, offering him a hand up. Bono tried to scowl but could not stay angry for long while witnessing the amusement in his mate’s eyes. He smiled and accepted his help to stand.

“I just need to find my sea legs.” He told him. “While you need to realize that never cutting the length of your hair in the back will not stop the hair atop your head from falling out.” He teased his friend, snatching the scarf tied on his head and holding it back, out of his reach.

“And wearing your shoes two sizes too big doesn’t make you any taller.” Edge retorted, grabbing the scarf and tying it back onto his head. This was nothing new to them by any means. In fact, it was a great relief to them both to fall into the familiar back and forth banter which reminded them of their boyhood days when neither of them yet knew anything of the burden they would later help each other carry.

*********************************************************

Larry watched from the quarter deck as Paul talked with the two new arrivals. Edge, whom Larry had met only twice before, and another man upon who he’d never lain eyes. He was short, but broad of shoulder. He wore his long black hair tied back in a knot at the nape of his neck, and he walked as if he’d never set foot on a ship in his life. He had to second guess whether Edge’s word was really going to be enough to convince him this man belonged aboard.

“Captain! That’s the last of the new hands, Edge and his man Bono. Once we finish loading the goods we’ll be ready to make way.” Paul informed him when he saw that he had fallen under that intimidating Mullen stare.

“Where are the other new men?” Larry asked from his position at the highest point on deck, putting him at nearly a head and shoulders taller than his portly first mate. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest, looking more like a military naval commander than a simple sailor.

“Cairbre and Seanán are loading the goods and Finn is helping stock the galley.” Paul informed him, shading his eyes with one hand, though the reflection off the water was nearly brighter than the sun in the sky.

“Call all hands up on deck before we set sail.” Larry told him, and Paul nodded in agreement. He was a young captain, but Paul had yet to sail under a finer man. He expected his crew to work hard but he was fair and loyal to those who earned his respect.

Larry had inherited this ship from his father, who had given up the sailors life just two years ago when his wife, Larry’s own mother, had died suddenly. Though the original Captain Mullen had done his job well, he carried many things in his heart, not just the sea. Larry, however, seemed to love nothing but the sea itself.

He was a handsome young man, almost as pretty as a lady, one man in his first crew had teased him. That man had been swiftly cast overboard and relieved of his duties on the aingeal. Word had spread quickly that though he may have the fair features of a lassie, he was quick, strong and temperamental.

“I see ye’re running on a skeleton crew as usual.” Larry heard a whiskey burned voice say from somewhere behind him. His back stiffened even straighter than it had been, his shoulders spreading and his chest pushed forward as if ready to face an old enemy in battle. “Captain Mullen the cheap, tha’ is wha’ they call ye, ye know.” She continued, sauntering up to stand beside him.

It was clear she had spent a lot of time at sea, the way she moved so gracefully on deck. Out of the corner of his eye, Larry stole a glance of her in her scandalous attire. His sense of decency was deeply concerned by what he saw, though he could not say he was entirely surprised.

“Carra.” He greeted the lithe red head who now stood beside him, dressed in men’s tight breeches and a corset top over a white cotton shirt with billowing sleeves. Gold and jewels dangled from her ears and adorned her fingers. Her azure blue eyes were the color of the sea after a storm, and though they should be cool and calming with a color such as that, he felt them burning his skin as she looked at him.

Carra was the daughter, and only child, of his first mate Paul McGuinness. He had also been his fathers first mate before that. She had been an exception to the general rule of practice that women on board a ship were bad luck. She had traveled with her father since she was old enough to stand on her own two feet, which she did far better at sea than on dry land.

Larry was only a few years older than she was, and they had spent many years of their lives together at sea. Several years ago, Paul had done what he thought to be the proper thing, and found her a suitable husband. On the evening before they were to be wed, the groom had run off with little explanation as to why. He had simply left the message that no dowry was worth putting up with so willful a woman as a wife.

Larry had always suspected Carra was too much for most men to handle, she had been raised to believe she was every bit as capable as a man. Much to Larry’s surprise, she was continually proving that believe to be true. Still, he didn’t think a woman should be running around in tight men’s clothing and living on board a ship with so many men; especially not an attractive unmarried lady such as herself.

Carra on the other hand, had been certain the very notion of marriage to that silly Paddy was daft. What could he provide her that the sea did not? What family would they have, and why would she want to leave the family she had always known? There were too many rules on the mainland for her liking. No, the sea ran through her veins, every bit as much as her fathers blood.

Besides that, Carra belonged to the new school of thought that had blossomed with the bohemian revolution. Marriage was not just a contractual arrangement between a man and his wife’s parents, one which resulted in children of his own with no regard for the wife at all. Love, her father had told her, would come with the births of the children. No, Carra was convinced that love was something which should come first; before the wedding vows.

Carra knew even before she’d been introduced to the man her father had chosen that she could never love him, and therefore marriage was a fools plan. She was already in love, and had been since before she could remember. No man would ever earn the love and respect she had for Larry, though she cursed her heart for being so careless in it’s choice of men.

That is not to say that she had not looked around in hopes of finding a suitable replacement, if not for marriage, then at least for passing the time on particularly long, lonely nights. Carra was not a traditional or proper lady, and she had long since given up wishing she could be. Larry clearly did not approve, but she knew he was a good man who was loyal to her father, and so he would not remove her from his ship and leave her to the mercies of strangers.

“Do you really think you can handle the autumn storms with so few men aboard?” She asked, her voice losing it’s hard edge as she stopped to stand beside him.

“I do.” He informed her. “But if I’m wrong, then I suppose you’ll have to prove to me that you are worth five men.” He teased, one corner of his generous mouth twitching ever so slightly. Many people thought Larry had no sense of humor, that he smiled so rarely his face had actually forgotten how to do it. Those who knew him best saw the glint in his silver blue eyes, the slightest twitch of his lips and knew his amusement was merely contained deeper within.

“Were this my ship, I would have nearly twice the crew you’re employing. Not only would the ship be better run by more hands but also the loading and unloading at the docks would not take so long. There would be less time at the docks and more at sea.” She continued, ignoring his jibe. “When I am captain of my own ship…”

“Captain of your own ship?” Larry repeated, nearly choking on his words. “What world will this ship sail in, Carra? Not this one, I can assure you of that. When will you ever accept the fact that you are your fathers daughter, not his son? You are meant to marry a man who might inherit what little your father has acquired in his long hard life at sea, perhaps your husband would take his place even. You are not meant to do that yourself!”

“Bollix.” Carra spat, her eyes shimmering nearly as brightly as the midmorning sun on the shallow water. “I will do what I know, and what I know is the sea! I belong at sea more than most of the men you have seen come and go from your employ, and I would run a ship of my own far better than you run the aingeal.” She stared up at him, her jaw thrust out proudly. Larry’s jaw flexed as he scowled at the woman, his face turning an ever deepening shade of red as he struggled within himself to control his temper.

“You dream.” He finally said, turning on his heel and marching away from her dismissively. Carra sighed and watched him as he went below deck.

“and when I dream,” She replied below her hushed breath. “You are always there.” Did he know how she longed for him, every waking moment of her young life she ached for him. Everything she did he factored into. She wondered if he knew but did not care, and hoped that he cared but did not know.

***************************************************************

Finn stood at the bow of the boat, staring out at the eerie yellow reflection of the moonlight rippling across the black night water. Never before had Finn known such nearly complete darkness. Perhaps, however, it was a perfect comment on the situation which had led to this ship. It was the second night at sea, on the first voyage of Finns young life. In a way, Finn was only two days old as well.

Before seeking employ aboard the aingeal, Finn had not existed. Finn had been Fiona, a sixteen year old girl living in the home of her father and two younger sisters. Until Fiona’s father had decided the way to settle his gambling debt was to barter with her innocence. Her father had never been a kind man, but he would disappear for months and sometimes years on end, and so she and her mother and sisters had lived without his drunken rages most of her life.

He had nearly killed their mother on two occasions which Fiona could recall, and she had feared his return to their home for as long as she could recall. She worried about her mother and sisters, now that she would not be home to try and protect them. Not that she’d ever truly succeeded at doing so, but it didn’t feel right to make them suffer her share of his anger.

It wasn’t so hard to masquerade as a boy, really. She wrapped her chest with a binding cloth, keeping her breasts as flat as she could, wore boys clothes, and she had taken a pair of dull shears to her long coppery blonde hair. She had wept over the loss of her locks, she had so often been complimented on her beauty when her hair was freshly cleaned and brushed. She was a strong young woman, and not afraid of work, though she was timid around men. The only men she had spent any significant time around had been her father and the parish priest. Neither had ever been anything less than intimidating. So, living on a ship, surrounded by men had not been her decision. In fact, she would almost have chosen the horrible fate her father had secured her over this.

If she had stayed, she knew she would be nothing more in her life than a vessel, a woman of ill repute. She would surely go to hell for the things which others did to her, without her consent. She may well end up much the same by this course of action, but at least there was some chance that she may be able to make a life for herself.

The presence of a woman aboard had shocked her speechless, and the way the woman carried herself was even more scandalous. Her mother, Fiona knew, would have fainted dead away at the woman’s appearance and language. Still, to Fiona, Carra represented hope. Hope that she could do this, hope that eventually, perhaps she would even find her way to the American colonies. There was talk of revolution there. Freedom for all people.

As she stared up into the clear night sky at the endless expanse dotted with billions of stars, she promised herself that she was strong enough to survive this. Her mother believed that Fiona could escape the life which she had endured, and she would do everything in her power to prove her right.

*****************************************************************

“This is but half of the payment owed me!” Larry growled at the stuffed shirt of a man who had been waiting for him on the docks at London.

“This is more than twice what you deserve.” The man told Larry, peering at him down the length of his nose. His clothes were clearly more fashionable than practical, and he belonged more in a grand ballroom or in some Lady’s parlor enjoying afternoon tea. He clearly did not belong on the docks, among the lower class upon whose sweat and blood he lived.

“Your man in Dublin promised us…” Larry started to argue, but he was interrupted by a commotion not far ashore from where they stood. Every eye turned to see what was happening, including that of the man with whom Larry argued.

“I demand satisfaction!” A small, rodent like man was demanding, stomping his foot like a spoiled child who had just been refused a sweet. He stood directly before a taller man with short, neatly trimmed brown hair and a pair of wire rimmed spectacles resting on his nose. The man was slender of build, with broad shoulders and a cocky stance which denied any concern whatsoever for the desires of the screaming man.

“No!” A woman’s voice broke through the din of the busy docks, creating an even deeper hush. Women were a rarity in such a place, and this woman was clearly a lady. She threw her body in between the two men, wrapping her arms around the neck of the man who had been challenged. He smirked at the other man but said nothing yet.

“Charity!” the little rat faced Englishman hissed, grabbing the woman by her elbow and trying to forcefully remove her. She would not budge. “Don’t be a fool, girl! This man has taken everything from you and you still protect him?”

“Lord Clayton has taken nothing from me but that which I did give freely.” The woman informed him defiantly. “Do him no harm if you love me, brother. I will not see a drop of his blood shed on my account.” She pled, much to her brothers dismay.
“Charity, you know not what you ask of me!” he whispered heatedly, but the woman held tight. Her brother ran a hand through his hair in frustration, beginning to pace impatiently. “All right, fine. I will not harm him. Only on the condition that he leaves London this very moment and does not return.” He said finally, and Charity looked up into Lord Clayton’s face to see that he would agree with such terms before agreeing.

“Now, for God’s sake Charity, go back to the carriage! This is no place for a lady!” Her brother ordered.

“No, Edgar. We shall return to the carriage together. I know well enough that once I were far enough from here you would kill him despite my hearts most sincere wish that he remain unharmed.” She told him, and Edgar’s face turned an even darker shade of red, revealing his guilt at her words.

The man with whom Larry had been arguing turned to him, a look of resignation on his face.

“I will pay you twice what you were promised in Dublin if you will allow my brother transportation from London.” He offered, gesturing for the man to join them even before Larry could reply.

“I do not run a passenger ship.” Larry replied dryly.

“Then consider him cargo.” The man said.

“Have you ever been aboard a merchant vessel?” Larry asked as the handsome young man arrived beside his brother. He was dressed as impeccably as his brother, a walking cane clutched in one hand and a pipe in the other.

“I have.” The man informed him, and Larry considered the offer for a long moment.

“The men won’t like an Englishman aboard.” He said.

“Nor would I. I may have the accent and manners of an Englishman, but my heart belongs in the land of my birth. That, sir, is Ireland.” Adam informed him plainly. Larry did not know whether to believe the man or not.

“You will earn your keep until the next port, in Spain. That is where we will part ways.” Larry offered, extending a strong, callused hand to the gentleman, who shook it without hesitation.

“Adam! Take me with you!” They heard the woman call as she hurriedly approached. He turned and caught her hand in his, raising it to his lips and placing a lingering kiss upon it.

“Your good heart has saved my life, dear lady, but I fear this is goodbye for the two of us. I know not where my path will lead, and I cannot in good conscience put your life in danger.” He explained, and she dabbed at the tears in her eyes with a lacy handkerchief. He leaned in and placed a scandalous kiss on her lips before bidding her fare well.

“You may have the wardrobe and vocabulary of the nobles, Lord Clayton, but you sir are no gentleman!” Edgar cursed him, shaking an impotent fist in the air as he led his weeping sister away. Larry scowled at the sight, considering the consequences of his rash decision to take this new man on.

“Your payment, Captain Mullen.” Simon Clayton said, holding out a purse of silver for Larry’s inspection. Larry took the money from the young nobleman silently. He nodded to him and then to his brother as he turned and boarded his ship once more, the young Lord following not far behind.
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:44 PM   #2
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This is one of the pictures which was inspirational for the creation of this story line (Just in case anyone was interested )

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Old 09-22-2005, 04:26 PM   #3
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yay SGs back!
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:00 PM   #4
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I love it! More please!
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Old 09-22-2005, 06:45 PM   #5
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Interesting premise. Can't wait to see where you take it
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:01 PM   #6
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Nice one SG....very interesting
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:22 PM   #7
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awesome
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Old 09-23-2005, 04:33 AM   #8
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Captain Mullen cute !!!!
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Old 09-23-2005, 04:58 AM   #9
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Great!
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Old 09-23-2005, 05:36 AM   #10
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I like it SG!
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Old 09-23-2005, 06:44 PM   #11
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SG this is great!

I love Captian Mullen and I can't wait to see how the relationship develops between him and Carra.

And Finn/Fiona that was a nice twist. I sure hope her being a woman doesn't get her in trouble.
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Old 09-23-2005, 07:01 PM   #12
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I like it. More, please.
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Old 09-24-2005, 02:52 AM   #13
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Great
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Old 09-24-2005, 08:54 AM   #14
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How original! Great idea SG!!
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Old 09-24-2005, 01:29 PM   #15
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cool idea SG, can't wait to see where you go with it
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Old 09-24-2005, 01:40 PM   #16
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Hey, SG's back! Love the new story already
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Old 09-24-2005, 02:29 PM   #17
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thanks guys I needed the feedback to get me working on this idea; I liked it but wasn't too sure how other people would. Now I'm enthused to keep it going. Chapter two should be up soon!
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Old 09-25-2005, 03:34 AM   #18
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hey... i can so see where you got the idea from looking at that photo...
PS Larry is soooo hot in the pic

i love the idea
keep on it
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:32 PM   #19
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Oh I can't wait for more!
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