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Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
((1 Guardian, 36 Dragon; Antiva City; Nicolette O'Hara ))

The weather had grown balmier the further north they sailed, and Celeste’s spirits had risen steadily with the temperatures. Nicolette had almost recovered fully from her injury, and had made it back up to the crow’s nest the day before, with Celeste on deck trying to look like her heart wasn’t in her throat. The minstrel still tired more quickly than before, and still eating enough to make Dax look peckish, but the color was back in her cheeks and the sparkle back in those glorious eyes.

Freed from that worry, Celeste’s thoughts turned ahead. Mostly in anticipation: it was the longest that Gideon had been away from the ship, and she missed her first mate. But there was a sliver of trepidation in the mix, as well: worry for what might have happened to Gid and Téo in Antiva City without the rest of them as backup. Granted, the Tal Vashoth was not one to take needless risks and got on well with just about everyone he met, but there was no denying that life in Antiva was more unpredictable than most other places in the south as a rule. It was one of the reasons that Celeste liked it so much, but that particular blade could cut both ways, and it had been some weeks since the last letter from Gideon had arrived in Kirkwall on a southbound ship. Anything could happen in that time, something that she was trying hard not to think about too much. Duties on deck kept her mind occupied during the day, and Nico provided a welcome distraction at night, as well as a sympathetic ear when Celeste needed to voice her worries.

Except for the one worry that she had voiced to no one, especially Nico: how her dead husband’s brother would react to Nicolette. Gideon had raised no objections when Celeste had begun taking lovers once more a few months after Daniel had been lost at sea, but this was something else entirely. Nicolette was now staying in the cabin that had once been Daniel’s, and Celeste had risked taking the ship to Brandel’s Reach for her sake. It was more than a dalliance, more than the friends-with-benefits arrangement that she had with Bela. It was -

It was something that made her stomach feel as though a flock of gulls were in there fighting over a bit of chum when she thought about it too closely … so she didn’t. Much better to just enjoy the moment, a resolution made easier now that Nicolette was well and truly out of danger.

She stood beside Isabela at the helm as the Wicked Grace glided into the harbor. The pirate stayed on deck every waking moment, and while she willingly pitched in with all the duties, the crow’s nest and the bridge were far and away her favorite places, and Celeste had elected to let her guide the schooner into its berth. Mostly because Bela was the best choice, apart from Celeste herself, but partly to try and hold off the inevitable time that the other woman would go haring off on her own. Not having a ship to command after so many years was eating at her, and Celeste worried that desperation might well drive her back into the recklessness that had consumed her after her escape from Luis. She hadn’t been able to do a damn thing about it then, and she couldn’t do much more now, but she could offer this, at least.

And as a bonus, it left Celeste free to drink in the sight of Antiva City harbor under a cloudless sky: ships anchored or tied up, their crews either hard at work on the decks or indolent, waiting for the time to get to work. She knew most of them by sight: their captains and crews, where they had likely come from and the cargo they were probably carrying. She shouted greetings to some as they passed, exchanged boisterous insults with a few more, momentum bleeding off as the sails were furled with the ease of long practice and Bela expertly maneuvered the schooner toward an empty berth. Slower … closer … slower … closer …

“Nice work,” she congratulated her friend as the final few yards were being closed. Descending from the bridge, she stepped up to the rail and began readying a line, feeling the impatience thrumming through her but determined to do her part to get the ship tied up.

“Here.” Weathered hands lifted the line from hers. “I’ve got this,” Brannigan told her with an understanding smile and nod. “Go before you vibrate off the deck.”

Following his gaze, Celeste saw a familiar broad-shouldered and horned figure waving from the upper level of the harbor complex. Flashing Brannigan a grateful grin, she launched herself over the rail with a jubilant whoop just as the Wicked Grace bounced lightly against the cork bumpers on the dock.

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Even while knowing that they were a few days out from Antiva yet, Nicolette had spent the last week eyeing the horizon hopefully, searching out the gleaming white towers that would mark their arrival. Nearly losing Thibault and then the annoyance of her slow recuperation from being shot had made her more eager than ever to leave Kirkwall and Brandel’s Reach behind. As the days grew warmer, and the sea an ever more glittering sapphire, she felt herself opening up under the sun; her songs were all enthusiasm, and even though she still tired easily she could still dance around the deck in the evenings. The sunsets became glorious explosions of pink and yellow against purple-edged clouds, and her skin fizzed delightfully with the knowledge they would soon be in one of her favourite cities in Thedas.

Where Orlais had decadence, Antiva had elegance. Val Royeaux was certainly beautiful in a very fashionable way, but everything was a little too heavy, a little too rich; the clothes, the masks, the wine. Colour was chosen to display the wealth of the person purchasing the silks or dyed cloth, not for how well it complemented. Antiva by contrast knew how to exquisitely balance its decorations. Clothes were silk or satin, easy to wear in the heat, and vividly coloured. The food was spicy, certainly, but not muddled by an abundance of the most expensive herbs. Even the people seemed more beautiful, given a happy languor by the reliable sun during the day, and as bursting with energy at night as the juice beneath the skin of a perfectly ripe grape.

This all helped with the knowledge that she was about to meet somebody important. Celeste had already explained how important Gideon was to her; not just as her first mate, but essentially as her brother-in-law via Daniel. It had been a long time since Nicolette had been required to present herself to a lover’s family (albeit a tenuous link in this case), and she would have been a little nervous anyway without knowing he was a Tal-Vashoth.

Nonetheless she was brimming with excitement as they got nearer the docks, and Celeste had quite wisely given her some tasks to do helping them to get in, standing by with the ropes to throw to the shoremen. The docks in Antiva bustled with the same life and energy as docks anywhere else, but even here it felt special; the houses were painted white, some with swirling murals of flowers and stars, and many of them had flowers winding down from the rooftops.

She didn’t have long to appreciate the view before Celeste catapulted herself off the side of the ship with a whoop of joy, aiming directly towards a Tal-Vashoth who could only be Gideon. Up at the wheel, Isabela was laughing and waving, as were most of the crew. The first mate had clearly been missed.

Nicolette was tempted to follow Celeste over the side, but gave her captain the benefit of a few moments to enjoy her reunion with her friend, and concentrated on assisting the crew with the remainder of the tasks that would bring them safely against the dock. Only when the gangplank was down and secured did Nicolette glance around at Kali, who nodded her permission for Nicolette to follow Celeste onto the quay. While still a little nervous about meeting Gideon, she all but bounced her way down, breathing in the sea salt air, sun-warmed timber and the thousands of mingling sounds that made up the docks.
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