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Pirates Are a Pain in the...[Closed]

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
221
#21
Her mouth was tacky. Nicolette could feel rivulets of sweat cutting through grime and who knew what else caking her skin, but the scalding pain had receded so fast that now she felt almost a little cold. She was also suddenly afraid to move, in case doing so brought that sharp spike back. At least the room had settled a little, and she could breathe without it hurting her. Celeste pressed her hand to her cheek and Nicolette savoured the warmth the contact brought.

She had never done anything like that before, but she had a sudden realisation that she would, without hesitation, do it again, to keep her captain safe.

Brannigan was asking for advice; the woman that Nicolette didn’t recognise looked her over dispassionately. “Rest, for at least the next three days. While the wound is gone, her body will remember the trauma. Warm food and drink, where possible. It’s best if somebody stays close while she sleeps - exposure to that amount of magic was necessary considering how close she was, but it may leave her with odd dreams.” The healer’s gaze shifted to Celeste; Nicolette thought she caught the glimmer of a smile. “I imagine she won’t be short of company.”

Celeste moved away. “I paid Clancy ten, in case he tells you any different. These are for you alone. Thank you.”

Gingerly, Nicolette experimented with sitting up. It might have been her imagination, but she thought she could still feel magic tickling along beneath her skin; it made lying still an impossibility, and when she experienced nothing worse than the slight aching muscle that would accompany over-exertion, she swung her legs over the side of the table.

The ship remained steady - enough so that it was clear they weren’t at sea. They’d docked somewhere rather than meeting another ship which happened to have a magic healer on board, but Nicolette had studied the maps with Celeste and knew most ports around here were ones that regular seafarers preferred to avoid.

Not that Celeste was a regular seafarer, by any stretch of the imagination.

Nicolette wiped away a little of the sweat with her forearm, conjuring up a small smile for Celeste. “I think I may change how I run interference, if I see somebody pointing a crossbow at you again.” A lie - she would do exactly the same. The thought of Celeste being in the condition she had been in for the last few hours was not one she enjoyed entertaining. “Where are we?”
 

Celeste Monroe

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#22
Celeste remained close to Nicolette as the healer gave instructions to Brannigan. “Rest, for at least the next three days. While the wound is gone, her body will remember the trauma. Warm food and drink, where possible. It’s best if somebody stays close while she sleeps - exposure to that amount of magic was necessary considering how close she was, but it may leave her with odd dreams.” How close had it been? Celeste wasn’t sure she wanted to know. Now the bright eyes were on her, a knowing smile touching the weathered features. “I imagine she won’t be short of company.”

Celeste acknowledged the truth of the words with a faint nod, keeping her expression impassive. It wasn’t a good idea to advertise weakness when you were surrounded by cutthroats, but as she’d all but shouted it to the rooftops already by accepting Clancy’s price without argument, damned if she wasn’t going to give the one who’d actually done the healing some extra coin. The woman accepted the sovereigns, showing neither surprise nor gratitude; as she left, Celeste turned to find Nico pushing herself upright, unsteady but, judging from the wonder on her face, free of pain.

“I think I may change how I run interference, if I see somebody pointing a crossbow at you again,” she said with a shaky smile, daubing the sweat from her forehead with one arm.

“You’d better.” The words came out more gruffly than Celeste had intended, and she tried to soften them with a kiss pressed to the minstrel’s forehead. Not since Gideon had nearly been killed had someone been wounded because of her, and with the initial fear passed, that awareness twisted in her gut like a mass of eels. That she had not been playing the self-absorbed fool this time did not ease the feeling in the slightest.

“Where are we?” Nico wanted to know, her curious gaze turned toward the door.

“Brandel’s Reach,” Celeste told her, “but not for long.” She tipped her hand beneath the minstrel’s chin, lifting the amber eyes to hers. “Stay in here until we’re at sea again,” she instructed her, stealing one last kiss before striding back out onto the deck, not sorry in the least to see Clancy’s back disappearing down the gangplank, presumably with the healer in tow. “She’ll be fine,” she announced in response to the questioning looks from all sides, and got muted cheers in response. “Bailey, get to the Goat and tell Isabela that we’re leaving. The rest of you, make ready to cast off.” The sooner they put this place behind them, the easier she’d feel.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
221
#23
The brush of Celeste’s lips against her forehead belied the edge on her captain’s voice. Nicolette felt it that much more keenly than normal, as the presence of a sensation that was not pain felt quite novel after the last few minutes. With her senses finally returning, Nicolette started to take stock of her surroundings. There was quite a lot of blood on the floor, which explained why she still felt woozy, and both Brannigan and Celeste appeared utterly drained. How long had she been floating in and out of consciousness? She owed Brannigan a debt, for certain; the healer had fixed the wound but from what she had overheard, she likely would not have made it as far as the port without his skills.

Brandel’s Reach. It was a pirate haven, and one Nicolette knew that Celeste had been hoping to avoid. The guilt she felt was slightly assuaged by the knowledge that if she had not interrupted the bolt, it would have landed in Celeste rather than herself - although she might have had better options to prevent that than catching it with her body, she could not recall any at the moment.

She was about to heave herself off the table, suddenly wanting very much to get out of the room that was stuffy with the smells of sweat and blood, but Celeste preempted her, gazing point blank into her eyes. “Stay in here until we’re at sea again.”

It was an order, but softened by the kiss that followed, and after the trouble she had put everybody to, Nicolette was inclined to obey. Nonetheless she needed to move; catching the warning glance from Brannigan, she held up her hands. “Can I at least help clean up? I do not really want to lie on that table any longer.” Blood was already congealing into the woodwork and while staying still might be good for her recovery, she did not wish to have to be peeled off.

The physician’s expression softened. “A little. Here.” He indicated a bucket brimming with soapy water, and a tray with a few bloodied instruments on it. Nicolette winced at the sight, remembering rather vividly how some of them had felt while probing in her side. “Clean these, thoroughly.”

“Thank you, Brannigan.” She squeezed his arm - more familiar than she had tried to be with him in the past, but the gesture did not appear unwelcome. “For saving my life.”

“I’d ask you repay it by keeping our captain out of trouble, but now I’ve seen how you go about that-” he chuckled, and shook his head. “Just don’t do anything to harm your recovery. If I catch you climbing the rigging I will be very disappointed.”

Nicolette returned his smile as she rolled up her sleeves, although it was barely necessary. Somebody would need to bring in new clothes - most of her shirt had been shredded, presumably while they were getting the bolt out of her. Walking carefully, she made her way over to the bucket and started cleaning her blood off the instruments.

[POV Switch: Isabela]

Isabela had barely had time to get half-cut when Bailey came barrelling into the Goat. Nicolette lived, and they were off. Captain’s orders. Isabela grumbled, but downed the last of her drink and swiped another bottle of whiskey on her way out. She wanted to stay; Brandel’s Reach was dangerous, but it was a different dangerous than Kirkwall. Cut-throat, punch ups in the street, bottles smashed over heads sort of dangerous, not blood-mages-everywhere dangerous. The fun kind. In theory, she could stay here; nobody would claim the bounty on her head, but if Castillion pitched up then she wouldn’t have a prayer. But what a fun few months it would be first.

Nope. Not without getting to taste having command of her own ship again. With a soft belch, she followed Bailey back towards the Wicked Grace. The crew had worked fast. They’d barely arrived and suddenly they were ready to go again. At least Antiva should be fun.

Isabela swayed her way up the gangplank, then up towards the wheel, where Celeste was standing. “Got you a gift,” she waved the bottle towards Celeste. “Might have somebody else’s spit in it, though. Most important thing is, it’s free.”

No sign of Nicolette. Probably she was still below decks. “So I gather Clancy came up with the goods, then?”
 

Celeste Monroe

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#24
Celeste could hear Brannigan giving Nicolette a simple clean-up task to perform as she left the infirmary; she trusted the physician to know what limits were needed in convalescence.

More so than she trusted his patient to know her limits.

The anger simmering in her gut was familiar enough. A new crew member disobeying an order in the heat of a moment was not unusual, and it was something that she could not afford to tolerate. The other emotions churning in the mix were less customary and more unsettling. Nico had disobeyed the order to get below, nearly gotten herself killed, to protect Celeste. Not since Gideon had been hurt had she been faced with that knowledge, and the combination of guilt and something far more volatile gnawed uncomfortably along her awareness.

As she made her way to the bridge, she spotted Isabela swaggering toward the ship and slowed her step enough to allow her to scan the docks in the pirate’s wake. If they hadn’t been able to find her, Celeste would have been presented with the dilemma of whether or not to go in search, but if anybody was thinking of ambushing the Queen of the Eastern Seas to collect Castillon’s bounty, they would have a fight on their hands. No one seemed to be considering it, however, and Bela bounded up the gangplank, then up to the helm, holding a bottle aloft.

“Got you a gift,” she announced. “Might have somebody else’s spit in it, though.”

“Far from the first time.” Celeste accepted the bottle, pulled the cork with her teeth, and took a healthy swig. Drinking on duty and being drunk on duty were a long way apart, and she wanted to wash down the restive emotions that were cluttering her thoughts.

She offered it back to Isabela. “Most important thing is, it’s free,” the pirate opined.

“Best kind,” Celeste agreed, enjoying the burn of the cheap rotgut, watching carefully as the lines were cast off and the topsails hoisted to catch the upper winds and draw the ship away from the dock. No sign of the Sea Reavers, but the distant crack of a lash in the air and howls of pain suggested that the Admiral was wasting no time in meting out justice, Brandel’s Reach style; nothing Celeste would be losing sleep over. After seeing how much had been required to heal Nicolette, she was regretting letting any of the little bastards live.

“So I gather Clancy came up with the goods, then?” Isabela asked, scanning the decks idly.

“He did,” she confirmed, then, “I owe you. He’d likely have demanded more if you hadn’t been there.” And how much would she have paid?

Not gonna think about that. She turned her focus to maneuvering the Wicked Grace out of the harbor and back to the open ocean, finally beginning to relax when the rest of the sails were hoisted and billowing in the wind, turning them back toward their northeast course.

“Take over?” she offered once she was satisfied with their heading, keeping her hands on the wheel and cocking her head in invitation. “I need to get her some clean clothes.”

She descended and ducked into the aftcastle, but when she tried to slip into her cabin, she was bowled over by a very determined hound.

“Dammit.” She pushed herself back to her feet, watching Thibault skittering across the rolling deck, then entered the cabin to grab a tunic and trews from the minstrel’s clothes, telling herself firmly that she was not going back in the drink if the damn mutt went overboard again.

Yeah, right.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
221
#25
Nicolette did not know Thibault’s exact lineage. The man who had sold him to Eward claimed a mixed ancestry involving most of the noble hounds, including mabari, although Nicolette could see nothing of the stocky Fereldan breed in her dog and suspected he had only said as much to get a few extra coins for him. What was certain was that wolfhound predominated, and they were known for their protective instincts. While Thibault could be mischievous, occasionally disobedient, and sometimes a handful when he had not been exercised enough, he had never been away from her side when she encountered trouble. So his sudden appearance in the doorway was expected - at least by Nicolette, if not by Brannigan, who started as Thibault bounded into the room. “Careful! Don’t let him jump up at you!”

There was no need for the warning. Thibault pulled up short in front of her, snuffled at where the wound in her side had been, and whined. Nicolette cupped his head between her hands, scruffing the fur behind his ears, murmuring to him in Orlesian as he gazed up at her with doleful brown eyes. <<Calm, boy, calm. I am all right.>>

It took a few moments, but eventually his tail uncurled from between his legs and set up a slow wag. Fortunately, she had finished washing the instruments before his arrival, and Celeste had ordered that she should stay here until they had cast off, so she had a little time to pay attention to him. It was just as well. The clothing that remained was torn and blood-soaked, and she did not much wish for anybody else to see her like this. She also badly wanted to be up on deck as the ship pulled away, but she would obey Celeste’s instructions. It had not escaped her mind that her captain might be angry with her for not doing so when the pirates had flooded onto the deck. There was no need to push her luck further, when it had already been strained today.

Eventually, a few moments after Thibault had calmed down, Celeste reappeared, carrying fresh clothes. Brannigan excused himself, and Nicolette was all too grateful to start peeling away her ruined garments. “Thank you.”

She had had enough time to think. The crew had put themselves at risk, going to Brandel’s Reach. Finding a magical healer would not have been cheap, either. While she had no regrets in preventing Celeste from being skewered, it was not fair that anybody else should be responsible for her decision. “I will pay you back, for the healer - every bit,” she offered. “It may take me a few ports to gather the coin, but I will.”
 
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