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 The Things You Find in Barrels

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Miran Floin

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Posts : 14
Total Experience Points : 12
Join date : 2013-02-01
Age : 24
Location : Ventus

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OOC: Wicked
Classification: Citizen
Experience:
14/30  (14/30)

PostSubject: The Things You Find in Barrels   Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:34 pm

As much as Miran wanted to believe that her father was bluffing, that he wouldn't really throw her out in the street, she had her doubts. It had, for the most part, been an ordinary day for Miran. She woke up next to her lone straw mattress, she began to climb out the window, and Rourke, her father, saw her trying to check the trees for birds' nests and assumed she was really trying to pick the fruit before it was ripe and eat it. And of course, Miran had yelled at him twice as loudly as Rourke yelled at her. The bruise, from where Rourke had slapped her, could testify to this. She liked to think she got a few good jabs in too. ("Oh, I'm a drain? I thought you were, you know, for all the damn booze you drink.")

Then, Miran thought to herself, she would rather be out on the street than spend another day with Rourke. She had her shawl, and her dusty boots, and a single bronze piece that she had found on the ground. She had the wind blowing her hair over her face, and the stray hairs in her mouth. And that was all she really needed. That, and a place to spend the night, or a meal, or something. Anything.

She was beginning to understand why Rourke had wanted to sell her mother's shawl. But she could manage without it. She would get a job, sweeping floors in a shop. Enough to buy her a few meals, or passage out of Ventus. Miran liked the idea of leaving the windy hell behind her, and not having hair in her mouth every day. She scratched her cheek until the hairs came loose, and fluttered around with the rest of her umber-colored locks.

She was fortunate to live close enough to the shore where passage out of Ventus was even feasible. But it was a long drop to the pier, and Miran had never ventured down for fear of being swept away with the high tide, or being robbed of what little she had. Now, she had nothing to fear, except perhaps a drunken Rourke tracking her down and dragging her back, insisting that he wasn't serious, and he needed help with the orchard. Some orchard too - half the trees died each year, snapped by particularly strong winds or thirsting until they shriveled and died. Miran decided Rourke would do the same on his own. She walked through town, for once keeping her head down, her expression solemn. The people who recognized her knew her as the loud madwoman who would berate them over bruised fruit, and the people who didn't had no reason at all to care.

She made her way to the dock, and she glanced down. There were three large ships, and one or two very small ones, possibly used by single people. At one path between the docks, Miran counted three narrow stairways, all within thirty meters to another. She was certain there was some other way down, but she couldn't figure out where it was for the life of her. She began her descent along the rocky wall, hoping she wouldn't lose her footing. Others seemed to manage much more efficiently, rushing up the stairs empty-handed and returning with a crate of fruit, or a bundle of cloth. She held the railing tightly as she moved, recalling at the worst possible time that she hated crowds, and any ship that would have her would certainly be crowded.

Once she reached the bottom, she was surprised at the number of crates and barrels simply left alone. Was no one worried that they would be stolen? Perhaps, she considered, some of them were for trash, and not for storing cargo at all. She glanced at one of the larger ships. Something was written on the side, but she wasn't entirely sure what it said. The angle was wrong, and the sun glared at her through the clouds.

"Right, ships have names," she muttered to herself. She wondered quietly if she could just climb aboard and - someone bumped into her, and she spun as they passed her by. "Watch it," she growled. The man responsible growled right back, with gnarled teeth and spit rolling out of his mouth. "Ugh. No stranger to scurvy then?"

Had he not been carrying a heavy barrel, Miran was certain he might have struck her. But he glanced at her, glanced at the ship, and said, "Best watch yourself," before he carried the load aboard.

As she glared after the sailor, an idea struck her. It was dishonest, and maybe it would prove her father right, that her destiny was the gutter, the trash, or an early grave...but it was all a means to an end. She glanced about, making certain that no one was watching. Once she determined that no one was, she quietly removed the lid from a barrel. It was empty, safe for a terrified mouse which squeezed through a hole in the bottom of the barrel. She lifted herself over the mouth of the barrel and slid in, letting the lid drop in after her.

It was cramped, small, and reeked of wood-rot. Miran wriggled out of her shawl and used it to cover her mouth. Wherever she was going, she decided, it would be better than Ventus. And if it was not, she would find her way back.

Anywhere is better than Ventus... she thought bitterly.

She could have laughed at kissing the port town of Tyrbane goodbye, but she kept quiet and waited for the tell-tale grunts of busy sailors to signal her departure.

The real signal was a bump that sent her head reeling forward. Teeth digging into her lip, Miran tried not to squeak, or make any noise at all.

"Cripes this thing is heavy!"

Miran wished that was the case. That would imply that her last decent meal was recent, and not months ago.

She held her tongue, and continued to breathe into her shawl to muffle the noise. As far as she knew, it worked. Whoever was carrying her did not notice, and before she knew it, they had set her down, and she was mostly alone. She listened carefully for any sound of approach. If she could count to two hundred before anyone came back, she decided it would be safe to peak.

One...two... She started over whenever she heard a noise. It turned out to be quite frequent, because she had recounted at least ten times before all was quiet, and she felt a sudden and unpleasant lurch immediately after she reached fifty. Just to be safe, she counted one last time. Ninety, ninety-one...close enough.

She popped the lid off, and scowled. She must have been, what was the phrase? Below deck. It was too dark for her to see a thing.
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Ivan Cardenas

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:01 pm

Ventus was a windy shit-hole and Ivan did not like it. Everything about the place seemed to be bland and in varying shades of grey. The food was awful, tasteless, and mostly vegetarian. The people were grim and mirthless, their faces always ruddy and their hair always a mess. The women, specifically, were not of the quality Ivan was accustomed to and that was probably the reason why he had never taken an Vennan woman for a wife. They were usually too thin, or their faces too hard, or had too few teeth. Of course, he had only been around the coastlines, but he imagined it was the same inland.

His reasoning for visiting Ventus was a good one, though. He had effectively lost the Brothers he had been following so diligently (or not so diligently) through Terra and Ignis. Not physically following, of course, but following via rumor and gossip. They couldn't have been his only ticket, however, thus his trip to Ventus. He was convinced there was more than one group of Loners out there, and if there were, he would be there to catch them. Maybe. Hopefully. He had been stopping from port to port for the last two weeks in an attempt to encircle the entire nation. As of yet, there had been no sign of Brothers. In order to keep the excursion from being a complete waste of time and energy, Ivan had decided to transport a few goods back and forth - most notably, ales and tobacco. Some of these tobaccos weren't strictly legal in these waters, due to their being mixed with certain substances, but that only made the reward for ferrying them back and forth that much more.

The deck was a flurry of activity as they set sail. His son was doing a fine job of commanding the crew without Ivan's interference. Eventually, he wanted all his sons to be captains of their own vessels, legal or not. And eventually, he wanted to not have to do any work at all. He was an old man, after all. He deserved a comfortable retirement. Wanderer would be given to Remy, if he continued to impress his father with his commanding skills. Though he loved Wanderer, he pitied her because she would never hold the same place in his heart as the Mirage. And the Mirage had left him, the treacherous whore.

"Captain?"

Ivan was shaken from his musings by his son tapping his shoulder. Apparently, he had finished barking all the commands. The dock was diminishing behind them.

"Son?"

"Some of the men were...er...wonderin' if they.... Well, the tobaccos, Captain. We've all been working mighty hard to find those punters, and you know, erm... A reward would be...."

Ivan's face grew stonier as his son rambled on. Remy's sentences became more and more disjointed beneath his captain's hard stare until eventually, they were nothing more than broken syllables and stutters. It was good to know he was still able to have this effect on his crew. More importantly, it was good to know he still had this effect on his son, despite his being a grown man at this point. When he had cowed Remy into complete silence and awkward throat-clearings, Ivan's face broke into a smile.

"Of course! They won't notice one barrel and if they do, it got damaged. Rats and such." He exclaimed, clapping his gaping son on the shoulder. "I'll retrieve and ration it myself, though. You're too generous and I don't want the crew so knackered they're lying about all day."

Remy nodded eagerly, having apparently regained his bearings enough to understand what Ivan was saying only as he was walking away and toward the cargo holds. There was another reason for his insisting on distributing the goods himself - the tobaccos were of varying quality and though he loved his crew very much, they would definitely be receiving the least of them.

He navigated himself below deck through the dark easily, never tripping a step, never hesitating through a doorway. Though the Wanderer was relatively new, he still knew her inside and out - just as any husband would hopefully know his wife. In Ivan's case, his luck with ships had always been much better than his luck with women, even considering the coup de grace he had experienced on the Mirage at the hands of Dulce Carriedo. It didn't seem so long ago that he had stumbled upon her in some ship he was commandeering, sitting atop the barrels and waiting for him, it seemed. A lot had happened since then, but her humble beginnings as a simple stowaway never suggested what she would become.

A lantern turned on low glowed ahead, marking a closed door. He took the lantern, turned it higher, and opened the door to the cargo hold. Immediately, his light fell over barrels and...a girl, half-standing out of one. Ironic. He had just been thinking about young stowaways.

"Hm. Did I accidentally receive a slave shipment or are you a new strain of tobacco?" He asked dryly, leaning against the doorway.
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Miran Floin

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OOC: Wicked
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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:53 pm

Dark as it was, Miran wondered if she couldn't find a better, less rotten hiding place. She didn't like the idea of staying in a molded barrel for days, or weeks, although from the overall smell of the hold, she presumed that would be quite an endeavor. She squinted when she saw a flicker of light marking a thin doorway. Her breathing hitched - she scrambled, searching for the abandoned barrel lid.

"Hm. Did I accidentally receive a slave shipment, or are you a new strain of tobacco?"

"Cac," she swore, tightening her grip on her mother's shawl. What kind of ship was she on, then, that would even consider transporting slaves - Oh. Cac indeed. Part of her wanted to sink back into the barrel, and another part of her, a part she deeply hated, wished she was back at home with Rourke. She peered at him through the dimly lit hold. "An' I'm also the Creator 'imself, can't you tell?" she growled. "Neither you slimy git."

The part of her that had the good sense not to curse at someone who could potentially throw her overboard into the often furious waters of Tyrbane's coast was apparently on vacation. She started to remove herself from the barrel, trying to be careful. An unexpected lurch sent her tumbling forward, and to halt her plight she planted her hands atop a different, sturdier barrel. Her shawl dropped to the ground, but she didn't dare stop glaring at the man.

She had it in her mind that if he came close enough, she would punch him right between the eyes. She played that image over and over again in her head until she was certain her eyes reflected it. She donned her scowl, and straightened up. She clenched her fists, and cursed the lurches in the ship. She hadn't been on a ship in her life, and, she thought, what on Carista had she been thinking?

"Imigh sa diabhal," she cursed, her eyes lowering to the ground only briefly before they snapped back up and locked on the sailor - pirate. Was there even that much of a difference? She wished, at this point, that Rourke had obliged when she asked him for help with her system. The wind at her command, and she couldn't do more than knock a ball out of a tree, or shake an apple loose. Or mess up people's hair. Her scowl loosened at the thought of putting out the lantern and hiding again. If she was lucky, that would work, but she supposed he'd think to get another one.

Well, at least if I die it'll be the farthest away from that rock I've ever been, she thought sardonically to herself.

"Don't know what bleedin' moron would want somethin' that smells like rottin' wood an' mold anyway! Ya must know some feckin' idiots."
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Ivan Cardenas

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:17 am

This young lady obviously took herself very seriously, but Ivan couldn't help but grin. Though their complexions and builds were completely different, he was forcibly reminded of his little Asuka. They were probably even in the same age group. Again, he considered his terrible luck with the fairer sex (fairer - hah!). What was it about him that drew all the young, difficult women? It had to be fate, as nothing else about him would draw the presence of girls her age without father complexes.

He did not understand her Vennan, but the vehemence with which she spoke made it clear she was cursing. Children these days. Had his parents caught him swearing in any language, even now at forty-nine, he would have caught a cane to his buttocks faster than he could say "mercy." She was similar to Asuka, but at least his daughter had manners.

"An' I'm also the Creator 'imself, can't you tell? Neither you slimy git."

"I knew there was a reason I wasn't a Creationist!" He replied, the lack of sarcasm in his tone amplifying its presence tenfold. "Slimy git will work, but 'Captain' will, as well."

Ivan removed a crowbar hanging from a nail on the wall beside the door before walking into the hold and past the Vennan. He had come in here for a reason and he would be damned if he let a shouting little girl distract him from his task. Holding the lantern aloft, he scanned the writing along the barrels.

"Don't know what bleedin' moron would want somethin' that smells like rottin' wood an' mold anyway! Ya must know some feckin' idiots."

"It would seem that way to the uninitiated, young miss. Apparently, you were supposed to be...." He trailed off, squinting as he read the markings on the barrel she had yet to vacate. "Fertilizer. Interesting. Oh, this is yours."

He hooked the curled end of the crowbar around her scarf and lifted it to her. Though she was small and more than likely too young to have much skill at all in whatever element she was, he was loathe to be nearer to her than was necessary. He did not want a flying ball of recently-post-adolescent rage engaging him in a slap-fight. Though "flying" might have been an exaggeration. Judging by her inability to remove herself from the barrel, she did not have her sea legs. The lurch hadn't so much as shifted Ivan.

Ivan considered asking her why she had decided to stow away - upon a pirate ship, no less - before realizing he probably wouldn't get much of an answer. She didn't seem like the type to confide in a stranger directly after cursing at him in a strange, ugly language. He surmised it was one of two reasons: adventure or escape. He could relate. Despite his profession as pirate extraordinaire, Ivan wasn't particularly a cruel man - just a shameless opportunist, scavenger, and thief. Stowaways didn't have to walk the plank aboard Wanderer. The next port was a day away and she could pursue adventure or escape there.

"At any rate, so long as you are stuck there and trespassing upon my ship, would you mind making yourself useful and helping me read these barrels? My eyes just aren't as good as they used to be. Old age and multiple gougings, you see."
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Miran Floin

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:03 pm

Much to Miran's surprise, the pirate didn't curse back at her, or even return her sarcasm. She mumbled a quick, "What?" in Vennan, and watched as the sailor continued about his business as though there wasn't a stowaway - on his ship no less. She scowled when she realized that he had been sarcastic earlier, or at least she hoped he was only being sarcastic. She backed away when he picked up a crowbar, instantly imagining that he would use it as a weapon.

Instead, however, he used it to lift her shawl off of the ground. She was about to swear at him - that was her's and he'd better not touch it - but he offered it to her instead. Hastily she snatched it back and slipped her arm through it so it wouldn't fall off.

"Fertilizer?" she echoed, glancing back at the barrel. It was indeed labelled, although difficult to decipher in the very dim light. Defensively, she said, "That thing was empty as a winter orchard. And still smelled like woodrot."

The fact that she had been sitting in a barrel used for holding either rotten food or fecal matter didn't faze Miran nearly as much as it should have. They had used fertilizer in the orchard to loosen the rocky soil and give the roots room to grow. She had waded through it in the mornings to check the trees for dead branches or ripe fruit. She was more irritated by the unfamiliar aroma of damp and rotting wood than she was about touching what was probably manure.

She squinted as he more or less dismissed her trespassing, as though it were a minor transgression and not upwards of a silver or two for some very disheveled passenger ships. The way she saw it, it was all the money they made from a harvest the year before. That the captain wasn't (openly) irritated surprised her. The only thing he asked was for her to read the labels on the barrels - although this confused her as well. He had just read one of the barrels with no trouble moments before.

"What do you mean, you need help reading? You read that one well enough."

She didn't ask him about why he wasn't angry, or even come to any conclusions. She didn't relax, because part of her feared that he would become suddenly enraged, but she didn't continue her stream of profanity. The only thing she decided was that she wouldn't come near him as long as he had that crowbar.
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Ivan Cardenas

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:34 am

The girl was mumbling about orchards and wood and other terrestrial things he didn't know a lick about. Ivan was a man of the sea and farms and fruits meant little to him.

"I may have been swindled by someone other than you, then. Of course, it wasn't really fertilizer, though the barrel might have held that at one point...." He trailed off distractedly, squatting to get a better look at the script on the barrels. Over the years, he had become rather used to young, squawking female voices. He considered himself a talker, but women? They were like seagulls; yapping until someone threw them a crumb and then only staying silent long enough to digest it before demanding another.

He would have to have a chat with his men later and an even more detailed chat with his tobacconist liaison. The barrels were supposed to be labeled with code words to denote quality and symbols to denote content, to accommodate his illiterate crewmen. Perhaps it had been an honest mistake that they had sent him an empty barrel or an honest mistake perpetrated by one of his less educated men. Or perhaps someone had just stole the contents at some point in the night. "Cow Fertilizer" was supposed to infer a high quality product. Alas, nothing about this young lady seemed of particular high quality. He wondered if she had been so scraggly before she'd stuffed herself into a barrel.

"The handwriting on these barrels is smaller and it seems as if someone has interspersed the Caristian with Vennan." He replied to her query patiently. If it came off as condescending, it was hardly his fault. A stowaway was nipping at him from a barrel. Speaking of --

"Are you going to get out of that barrel or are you planning on taking a nap in it? Perhaps you were waiting for an invitation?" He asked pleasantly, turning toward her. "If you need assistance, I'd be more than happy to give it."

Judging by how very angry and defensive she was despite the fact that she was on his ship without his permission, he could only assume she was a very prideful girl. He had been that way, once, though not nearly so aggressive. His offer to help her would probably not be met very well, but Ivan could not resist teasing. Though he was probably somewhere near thirty years her senior, he had never been very mature.
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Miran Floin

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OOC: Wicked
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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:22 am

Miran's scowl returned. The closest she'd ever come to stealing and someone wasn't assuming she'd robbed them. She'd done perfectly innocent things in her youth and been accused of doing wrong, so the one time in her life that she'd actually done the kind of thing her father wrongly assumed and expected of her... Another lurch made her stomach turn, and maybe if she'd eaten anything that day or morning she'd have lost it.

"Of course, it wasn't really fertilizer, though the barrel might have held that at one point....""

"Well I certainly hope it wasn't supposed to hold your drinking water," she quipped. "You'd all be in trouble for a number o' reasons."

She still didn't smile, even though she had just told a joke. He went on to say that the barrels had smaller handwriting, and were mixed with Vennan, but Miran was certain, "That sounds like hogwash." She paused. If he wasn't going to take her seriously, she wouldn't take him seriously either. "Y'know. Fertilizer."

Bullshit.

It crossed her mind to yell at the man about coming near her - he was still holding that crowbar and she wanted to be far away. She'd already been struck by one drunkard that day, and she had a large handprint over her face to show for it. Instead, she scowled fiercely, planted her hands on either side of the barrel, lifted herself about halfway, and promptly fell backwards with a dull thunk.

"Cac," she swore.

She was out of the barrel, at least, and she stood upright, leaning on a seperate barrel for support. Her first time on a boat of any kind, and so far she had decided that she far preferred the massive expanse of lifeless, flat rocks she could find on Ventus without much effort. The right side of her back stung from the fall, but she could ignore that. She glanced back up at the captain, and firmly asked, "What makes you think I can even read?"

In truth, she was literate. She'd persisted long enough that her mother took her desire to learn seriously, and not as some childish fancy. Rourke, she was certain, could not read, or at least only chose to read the labels on his whisky. She knew that some people in the market had assumed she couldn't read, offering to guide her through the labels. It stung as fiercely as Rourke's slap to know that if it had been up to her father, she probably would be illiterate.
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Ivan Cardenas

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:15 pm

"Oh, we all drink sea water on here. Helps keep us nice and crazy."

Even if she did take herself seriously and resented him for not doing the same, Ivan was not one to take anything seriously, least of all himself. He did have the rather annoying habit of staying straight-faced, however, so much of his jokes were lost on those lucky enough to be on the receiving end of them.

He watched her wriggling her way to freedom with a half-grin. The distant, chivalrous part of him he had never been able to shake pushed him to help her, but the rest of him - the much smarter rest of him - declined. Instead, he waited patiently for her to right herself, arms crossed over his chest. He was a father of eleven. If nothing else, he knew patience when it came to willful children.

Her question was a fair one. Literacy, especially in his profession, was by no means a given. Education nowadays was much better than it had been in his day; he had been fortunate enough in his childhood to have a former schoolteacher for a mother, but more than half his men weren't able to even sign their names. In answer to her, he shrugged.

"You looked like the reading type. Was I wrong?" There was the possibility she was just being difficult, however, which he did not discount. He had only been in her acquaintance for a few minutes and she was already a handful. "I was just hoping you would be useful enough so I wouldn't be compelled to throw you overboard. We already have enough mouths to feed."

Ivan had a rule: except for paying travelers, everyone on his ship had to work. Not even his sister had been granted a free ride. This applied to hostages as well, though it had been a rather long time since he'd taken any of those. Judging by her lack of grace on a moving vessel, she wouldn't have been a good fit for any other task - she would be too busy hurling over the side of his beautiful Wanderer and possibly marring the lettering.

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Miran Floin

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OOC: Wicked
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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:13 am

When the captain remarked that they all drank seawater, Miran caught the dry humor, and returned it with her own. As she straightened out in a bid to appear less sick than she felt, she flatly returned, "Yeah, I can see that."

It wouldn't surprise Miran if the captain was in fact crazy. He'd stopped in Ventus for no conceivable reason - not that there was ever a conceivable reason to stop by that rock. And Tyrbane no less - there was nothing of interest in Tyrbane. Rocks, fruit in the right time of year, and furious Vennan women debating the worth of a stale loaf of bread. Although that last one was really just Miran.

"You looked like the reading type. Was I wrong?" the captain asked, and Miran squinted at him.

"What in the Creator's name does a reading type look like?" she said, raising a brow. She certainly didn't know - if anything, she wouldn't have pinned herself as one. Unless it was really the complete lack of tact, or her method of sneaking aboard a ship. The ship rocked steadily beneath her, and she swallowed. Putting aside her hunger and her generally poor attitude, there was nothing like seasickness to put Miran in a sour state. "Oh never mind, I don't care."

"I was just hoping you would be useful enough so I wouldn't feel compelled to throw you overboard," the captain said, and Miran scowled. That was most likely a threat, and a not-so-subtle threat at that. She supposed it could have been worse though - he could have thrown her overboard immediately like she had expected. "We already have enough mouths to feed."

"I would think the salt from the ocean would stave off the hunger," Miran said, placing her hand on a barrel for support, again. If she had a bronze for every time she heard that line. It had always come from the only other person back at home though. In any case, she certainly didn't want to be thrown overboard. She hadn't exactly had much practice swimming back home, and she had never heard of anyone going for a casual swim in the Vennan ocean.

She glanced over at the crowbar. "Fine, fine, you stay far away from me with that thing," she pointed a the pry bar, "and I'll read the labels for you."

She sincerely hoped that he didn't expect her to pay him with money, because the single bronze she had found she intended to keep. It was nothing, really, but maybe she would find another, and then she might be able to buy a loaf of bread. Perhaps he hadn't asked yet because he wasn't taking her seriously - it seemed sort of pointless to offer passage to a stowaway who read the labels on the barrels. Come to think of it, Miran had no idea what ship she was on, who she was speaking to, or, more importantly, where they were going. Maybe it would have been a good idea to ask, but Miran didn't want to talk much while her stomach turned backflips and danced a merry jig.
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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:41 am

"What in the Creator's name does a reading type look like?"

Again, Ivan shrugged. He had no idea what "the reading type" looked like either. Most illiterate people, however, were quick to say they could not read. It was a far better option to admit a shortcoming than to bravely attempt and fail. What would he do with her if she could not? His threats were idle. Everyone on his ship worked, including stowaways, but he would be hard put to throw a girl overboard, even on a lifeboat. He wondered if her frail little arms could even row a substantial distance. Vennan people always struck him as far too thin. They didn't eat enough meat.

If he wasn't so sure that she would vomit, he would have put her in the kitchen. He forced his men to endure all sorts of fare, but serving bodily waste would probably inspire a mutiny. One mutiny in his personal history was more than enough.

"I would think the salt from the ocean would stave off the hunger."

"You would think that and you would be wrong. You've got quite the mouth on you."

Pot, kettle, black. Ivan liked to think his mouth was a bit more refined by age and lack of Vennan curse words. Caristian swears served him just find, thank you. His need to constantly have the last word, however, was a little less charming than colorful sailor epithets that could be understood by all in Carista. His wives had found the trait infuriating, especially when he would storm out, open the door, and then slam the door shut again and run away.

"Fine, fine, you stay far away from me with that thing and I'll read the labels for you."

"Honestly, if I was going to knock you on the head, I would have done so while you were waist deep in that barrel."

Even with that mouth, she seemed to be cooperating. He ostentatiously stepped aside and gave her wide berth through the narrow path between barrels, lantern lifted high. Ivan squinted, but he could not make out much writing in the dimness. Some of the symbols had been smudged as well. They had to come up with a new system for contraband. There was just too large a margin for error.

"You're looking for a barrel with a cross on it. It should say 'Wood Ash'."

When she eventually found it, then would arise the awkward matter of explaining just why a barrel that said "wood ash" on it did not indeed carry wood ash. He had, once again, failed to think very clearly ahead. He could send her away when he opened it, but she would be curious. If she saw the tobacco and was a fraction as street smart as she presented herself, then she might put two and two together. But she was a stowaway, after all, so Ivan could not believe she was too averse to illegal activity...though if he put her onto shore and she decided to speak to the port authority....

The idea of putting her overboard to fend for herself was looking better and better.
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Miran Floin

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:59 am

"You've got quite the mouth on you."

Miran scoffed at this - she knew she was rude and argumentative. She didn't need someone telling her that - especially not a sailor. The old saying 'swearing like a sailor' came from somewhere didn't it? Without thinking, she spoke in Vennan, "You should see Rourke when he's drunk."

It was more natural to speak in Vennan for her, since it was what they spoke at home and sometimes in the market place. It wasn't anything she didn't care to translate, except that she didn't want to relay her father troubles to a pirate. In case he asked for a translation, she clarified, "I know worse."

"Honestly, if I was going to knock you on the head, I would have done so while you were waist deep in that barrel," the captain assured her. Another scowl curled Miran's face. She wanted to be in a position where if he did try to strike her, she could hit back. Even if she wouldn't be able to hit as hard, she wanted the option.

But she didn't press that point, since he stepped aside for her regardless.

Ambling between the barrels, she listened to the captain's instruction. She was looking for a barrel with a cross, labeled "wood ash." She paused, glancing back at him. Her face scrunched in confusion. She recalled him making some poorly-directed joke involving slave shipments and tobacco. It was certainly strange to Miran - she was unfamiliar with the pidgin she was translating, that "Cow Fertilizer" wasn't manure and "Wood Ash" wasn't sawdust. And she knew one thing - sawdust sure didn't smell so rotten.

She crouched down by some barrels to check their labels, glossing over the ones that didn't have a cross mark to denote their type. When she got to the ones with the proper symbol, she paused and mouthed the words. Though her eyes had already adjusted to the dim lighting, she wasn't very quick about it. She hadn't had much time to read since their orchard burned, or any books to read at that. It would take her at least a minute to locate the barrel, and by that point she had noticed that none of them were labelled as 'tobacco.'

Maybe it shouldn't have been too surprising to her that pirates were using pidgins and euphemisms in their business, but she bore a puzzled expression regardless. "I found it," she said, still crouching beside the containers. She might have risen more quickly if she didn't taste bile - sitting near something that smelled to her like woodrot probably wasn't helping matters.

By this point, she bore a discontented frown that might have been mistaken for disapproval at any illegal activities. And then Miran asked, only in partial jest, "Should I hide my face when I get off, then?"

As usual, she was only really worried about herself.
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Ivan Cardenas

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:49 am

The odors of the cargo hold had never bothered Ivan much. If he allowed strange aromas to bother him, then he would never be able to command a vessels of twenty to thirty burly, unwashed men. His nose wasn't so sensitive as Miran's was either, probably due to a lifetime of smoking and desensitizing himself. The entire hold smelled of burnt skunks (thank you, tobacco), along with the peculiar wet, mildew stench that always invariably occupied small spaces in wooden structures designed to float on water.

In short, he was not nearly as bothered by the not-so-delicate-but-delicate young woman guiding him through his own cargo.

He stopped a few feet away from her and placed the lantern on a nearby barrel. Squinting, he could make out the cross he had told her to look for.

"Should I hide my face when I get off, then?"

"Only if stowing away on a simple freight ship embarrasses you." He answered evenly before gesturing that she should move out of the way with the crowbar. A wilted burlap sack sat in a corner nearby, which he retrieved and emptied to reveal a few forgotten, molded potatoes and rats. He tossed the bag toward her.

"Hold this open, would you? Whatever your name is?"

With the ease of a man who had been cracking open barrels for most of his life, he cracked open the barrel. Inside was the standard shredded brown mess that would be mistaken for ordinary tobacco to any untrained eye. The difference, besides the smell, were the reddish little strands and the deep, green-brown leaves dispersed throughout. The more potent and higher quality strains would have more green and red, but this would do for his crew. Mixed with a bit of his standard-issue rum and the moonshine one of his siblings produced, it would make for a fine party indeed.

He looked behind him to ensure that she had followed his command. She was a spiteful female - all females were spiteful, but he assumed she was more so than most - and she would probably disobey him simply to disobey.
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Miran Floin

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PostSubject: Re: The Things You Find in Barrels   Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:20 am

Miran stood up as the sailor set his lantern down. She was embarrassed that she had actually tried hiding in a barrel, mostly because it proved an inefficient means of sneaking around a boat. Miran thought she knew a thing or two about lurking around. She so often lurked about their farm, and the not-so-nearby woods, avoiding her father or searching for birds’ nests. But her father was one (inattentive) person, and moving vessels were rarely manned singlehandedly. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea.

She wasn't sure if he was serious or not – she had assumed he was a pirate because of a joke. Maybe she was wrong. She hated being wrong.

Miran scowled and stepped aside. As the sailor left to do whatever it was he was trying to do, she mulled over the possibility that she was wrong, and he was just a sailor with a horribly-timed sense of humor. She snapped out of it when the sailor emptied a sack, pouring bits of rotten potatoes, and, to Miran’s irritation, rats. Rats were one thing – rats in any proximity to food were another.

“Lovely."

”Hold this open, would you? Whatever your name is?”

He flung the emptied sack her way, and Miran caught it awkwardly in the crook of her free arm. She shuffled her cloak closer to her and let the sack slide down into her hand. She glanced upwards and answered, “Miran.”

When she glanced up, she saw the man crack open the barrel. Sure enough, rather than “wood ash” it held browning leaves. Her irritated scowl quickly curdled into one of disgust – it smelled even worse now that it was open. Why anyone would pay good money for such rotten leaves was well beyond Miran.

He looked back at her. She squinted. “What?” It dawned on her that he had actually asked her to do something, and she grumbled indistinctly (and petulantly) as she opened the sack, folding the edges back so she had something to grip.

"That doesn't look like 'wood ash,'" Miran said, glancing at the barrel. And, purely out of nauseous, half-starved spite, she added, "Whatever your name is."
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