A Terribly Long Way Home | Roleplay | TORN
A Terribly Long Way Home
    • strange2 [68827]
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    Thread created on 01:47:54 - 30/11/23 (2 months ago)
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    Last replied 02:34:51 - 12/01/24 (1 month ago)
    Another tall wave crashes across the wave of the USS Insurgent, lashing the sailors who struggle there with yet more cold seawater. They struggle with ropes made heavy with water to reef sails that are just as drenched. Supplies and tools are carried around the deck by the swells, making the wet oak planks even less pleasant. 

    The acting captain stands on the forecastle looking back at the chaos of his command. It is day three of the storm, and just a few short months since they left Baltimore to patrol against the french raiders that plague Yankee interests in the West Indies.

    So far all they'd managed to do was see how much buffeting the French oak of her hull could take. The good ship is a handy three masted frigate, perfect for these waters of the Caribbean, though currently, they are welcome home to no ship nor sailor.

    Now the bow of the frigate dips again, plunging into the swell, and the captain chances a glimpse over his shoulder. The blackness of the brine looks back at him, before the Insurgent again heaves skyward. Water sprays the captain, but what is another wave to a man clad in three layers of soaked wool? He waves to the helmsman, gesturing starboard, and immediately feels the ship attempt to follow this command.

    The acting captain, helmsman, and indeed, all of three-hundred men on the ship, are soaked, exhausted, and hungry. Sleeping and cooking on a ship that is routinely pitching all the way to the railings is a fools errand, so it has been nothing but catnaps and cold biscuits for days. There is no point in grumbling though, for all that can be done is work in a desperate bid to survive.

    The year is 1800, and the USS insurgent has been serving in the young US Navy for a year. Before this the ship was known as the L'Insurgente, having been captured as a war prize last year. Now refitted with a few more men and different colors, it marks it's maiden voyage, in this navy at least, by floundering in swells that send the men running to the stanchions. It still bears the swooping lines that are the hallmark of a french sailing vessel, though in swells such as these, the whole ship seems to swoop on its own accord.

    It seems that it will be a terribly short service life for the insurgent, soon to be consigned to the cold, inky depths of the Atlantic. It would take a miracle to save it, but perhaps, once in a sailor's life, they are due a miracle?

    OOC:
    This will detail the highly unlikely adventures of a ship lost in a storm. If you wish to join as a sailor, please do so. If you wish to join as an officer, please mail me.

    Your character should have a, relatively, realistic background for a sailor in the USN in 1800. There will be opportunity for more, shall we say, fantastic characters to join later in the thread. I am anticipating the "journey" to begin relatively shortly.
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    Posted on 01:58:03 - 30/11/23 (2 months ago)
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    Acting Captain, truly a lieutenant, Patrick Fletcher rolls his knees with the heave of the ship in this terrible squall. He again looks over his shoulder at the coming swell, this time waving to port. Again the ship heaves as it struggles and flounders into the next swell. 

    Patrick is exhausted. His sea blue eyes are marred by the heavy purple bags beneath them. His pale Irish complexion has been drawn tight by windburn, and appears waxy beneath days a stubble. His captain's overcoat streams seawater from his shoulders as a driving wind blows rain into his large ears and eyes.

    Patrick, or Let. Fletcher, is a career navy man. Before the revolution he served in the Royal Navy, and during it he manned a post in the continental fleet, such as it was. He has previously commanded sloops, but the Insurgent is his first real command.

    And they couldn't even promote him to captain for it, he briefly muses before his attention is required by the life or death ordeal that engulfs them.

    Again the deck rolls and the ship groans, as it has done every minute or two for the lat 72 hours. Fletcher does a sort of nautical calculus in his head, how much more can she flex? How much longer can the storm rage? What can be done to soften the inevitable damage? He'd ordered the pumps manned constantly since the storm began, and extra caulking between the beams at the first sign of seep.

    Everything else was just seamanship. Just him and the crew struggling to avoid becoming so much flotsam washing out to the Sargasso.
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    Posted on 01:36:26 - 01/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    How long can man fight the sea? How can any human dream of doing so? Is there anything more eternal, more vital, more encompassing than that endless expanse of blue-green? Reaching until it not only touches the horizon, but becomes it? 

    How can a few illiterates floating in an ever more perilous shell of dead wood hope to overcome such a thing? Truthfully they do not strive to overcome, the strive to endure, to persist, to wait and weather the fury of the sea. That is what it can only be, fury. Such hostility and blows could not come from something unalive, and surely as people have lived by the sea they have named it. Likely before there were even names the sea was named, and worshiped for what it could only be. Of course that is a living god, the mother and father of all those that live by, on, or amongst it.

    Pat Fletcher shakes his head hard, and these whispy, dreamy thoughts are thrown from his mind. Maybe the god of the sea watches these ideas splash into the water and is amused by the humility. More likely they are last to the black brine that still heaves in all directions, throwing what now seems a terribly little ship to and fro.
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    Posted on 22:36:06 - 02/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    The fate of  The Insurgent is written, both in the naval register and in the swirls of the deep. Lost with all hands in service, lost in the same storm that claimed the schooner USS Pickering. 

    Lt. Fletcher points and the helmsman pulls with all his might on the wheel. It is too little, maybe too late. The frigate can only managed a clumsy partial turn. This move ends the game that has gone on for days. The Insurgent comes into the next great swell at a diagonal. The foamy torrent heaves over the decks and fills the brave little ship with a thousand tones of water, salt, and tiny crustaceans too small to get out of the way.

    The ships balance is lost, and it heels over with violence, slamming the railings and then the bare masts into the sea. As this is happening, face to face with death, Pat Fletcher crosses himself before going the only way momentum will allow him, into the drink.

    "But this is no way for those men to end" protests a nymph to impartial Triton, who shrugs his scaly shoulders. "This is how all men of the sea should end, and better men than those have gone to the bottom." The silence that follows is awkward. Maybe time passes, maybe it doesn't, who can say in the realm of spirits.

    The little nymph crosses her arms and sticks out her lip. "But they worked so hard against that storm, for three days. You said yourself they would not last one, doesn't that deserve something better? Don't you want to see what else they can do?"

    Triton softens a little. "Well, what would you have me do then, little one? Deny them their fate?"

    The nymph swims up to his ear and whispers. Fingers tipped with teuthoideal suckers drift through a beard of seaweed in thought.

    "Fine, fine little one. You play your game with them!" Triton exclaims in good humor. "You send them, and we will see how they go!"

    The Insurgent slams into the water and spins, its masts leaving trails of bubbles as they whip down through the water. The ship itself tips down, bow first, into the deep. It is pulled down, spinning improbably like a football as it goes. The men are pressed down to the decks, faces torn by silent screams as they find themselves unable to drown, die, or break free.

    So soon that it would seem at first that none of this even happened the ship breaks through the surface, plunging upright into the light of a glorious sun. Water drips from every plank and spar, every man is drenches and vomitous.

    The harmonica-like of the Neverine Gull is heard by the men for the first time, and none of them can portend that it is the first sound they have heard in a new world.
    • strange2 [68827]
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    Posted on 00:00:51 - 06/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    The Neverine Gull is a large bird with a wingspan of 8 or so feet. It has yellow plumage on its belly and blue grey feathers on its back. It primarily preys on small, surface dwelling marine mammals by flying towards them out of the sun and scooping them up in its large beak. 

    One flew over the ship now, squeaking it a surprised call at the new arrival, and not a man aboard the Insurgent saw it. They were all wrapped up in their own pressing affairs. These mostly consisted of vomiting and cursing.

    Pat Fletcher still stood on the forecastle, a glazed look of astonishment was smeared across his dripping face. Shacking hands reached up slowly from his sides and grabbed the lapels of his heavy blue ships coat. Water poured from the wool where he clenched it, but it was good. He still had his coat, it was still here, here was still real. Whatever was happening now, it was real, someone should do something.

    The soaked coat indirectly reminded him that he was the acting captain of this ship, his ship, and he was the one who must do something. He mustered up a bass cry, only failing to do this once, and no one noticed anyways. His voiced echoed off the sodden sails, sharply contrasting with the bright sun of, well, wherever they were.

    "ENOUGH!" He cried. "SEE TO YOUR STATIONS! MR. COOPER! WHERE ARE YOU?"

    The men reflexively followed orders, still clearly in an assortment of dazes. Mr. Cooper was the ships carpenter, and he slunk up to the captain. He was currently a range of green hues and showed more than a little bile amongst the seaweed and saltwater that coated him. Normally this would not be acceptable for the ship's carpenter, but such were the times. "Captain?" He spoke, sounding groggy.

    "Mr. Cooper. see to a full inspection of the ship's woodwork." Fletcher said this as though it would be a small job, and not an intense study of the entire ship. "And tell the Mate and Bosun I want double watch and crow's nest shifts until we spot a landmark. "

    "Aye" said Cooper before shuffling off in seaboots that were currently sloshing with sea.

    When he was out of Fletcher's presence, Fletcher gripped the rail and had a quick retch into the sea.
    • Cariciok [3156777]
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    Posted on 04:38:50 - 13/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    (I'll play)

    Gerard Dupris, one of the ship's Boatswain Mates, heard the chatter among Cooper and Fletcher. "I'll man the crow's nest Cooper, just be sure my relief comes, eventually." Gerard exclaimed as he nodded to the carpenter, as if he did him a favor, before turning toward the ships center.

    Gerard slung a rope around his waist and tied into the guide-line that ran parallel to the ships mast. He made his way upward shifting the rope as he went. If something were to happen and he were to fall during these transitions it would not be pretty, if he were not tangled in the rope webbing.

    The seasoned deckhand turned Boatswain Mate, that was Gerard, rarely got sea sick, so the churning in his stomach must have been something else. He paused a moment as if he would vomit, before stepping out of the netting that lead up to the ships crow's nest. He tied into his station, and plopped down with the top of the mast between his legs. He faced slightly starboard.

    He removed the sling from his shoulder that held his brass binoculars. He figured it would be a bit before he spotted any landmarks, but he positioned the binoculars in front of his eyes nonetheless. He scanned the horizon on the ships starboard side, before lowering the binoculars, and shifting himself to face more port. He scanned the horizon on the ships port side. Satisfied he wouldn't need the binoculars for a time, he slung them back around his shoulder.

    He pulled his boatswain's whistle out from inside his undershirt and let it dangle from his handmade lanyard. As the ship rocked it lightly bounced back and forth between his chest and the mast between his legs. "I hope the carpenter doesn't find any real damage." he whispered to himself.
    Last edited by Cariciok on 04:40:45 - 13/12/23
    • strange2 [68827]
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    Posted on 18:04:52 - 13/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    (Good stuff pal)

    The double mirror of the sextant's sight brought Pat Fletcher no joy. He and the first mate stood at the rear of the ship, and looked at each other with a mix of confusion and dismay. It was best to taking sightings at noon, and though no one had any real bloody idea what time it was, they'd tried anyways. The idea of waiting until night seemed to much to bare due to the terrible uncertainty that pervaded the ship. Everyone could feel it in their stomachs, way down in that pit of gut that told you when things were quite right.

    All the guts of the ship sang in unison to their masters, things were awfully wrong. The, admittedly flawed, latitude shot suggested that The Insurgent was now several thousand miles north of where she had begun at the start of the storm.

    "It's just a bad read." Fletcher said to the mate, an olive skinned man with the last name Bottineau and a hawklike nose. He was some large percentage Wyandot, and cracked a hard smile at Fletcher's statement. "Not two and a half thousand miles bad, cap'n."

    Fletcher felt no small amount of chagrin at this truth. "We'll get a reading on Polaris tonight, that'll settle this."

    Bottineau nearly always had a clay pipe clamped into the corner of his mouth. Many men had this accessory, and Fletcher himself had smoked a pipe until he'd become an officer and could afford finer tobacco. It as such caught Fletcher's attention when the pipe began to droop, then sag, then fall out of the man's mouth all together.

    Fletcher put a hand on the man's shoulder "Are you alright man? Are you faint?" He asked with concern.

    It was at that moment two things happened. Pat Fletcher heard the scream. He went rigid, as most do when they hear a man's death call. Bottineau reacted first, he grabbed his captain's arms and spun him where he stood. Pat Fletcher's gaze fell on the starboard of the ship, and there he saw the first monster.

    A neck the diameter of an 8lb cannon rose vertically from the sea, snake like it had crossed over the railing with speed and silence that seemed impossible for so great a beast. It was clad in shin like that of a whale, shiny, though this glittered with a million or so small, interlocked scales. At the end of this was a head, triangular, like a cross between an alligator and an anaconda. It's teeth were like that of an alligator, splayed out and jagged, designed to grasp onto wriggling prey. It's prey now screamed between its terrible teeth, a unfortunate midshipman who had been taking the air just moments before. He pounded at this beast with his fists as it lifted him into the air with ease, his horrible squeal echoing off the flat sea.

    Fletcher blinked, and again the hands went to the lapels of his jacket.

    Still real. Still real, and still his ship. Still he needed to act. The hand went into the jacket and produced a heavy French style flintlock pistol. He raised and fired off the 55 caliber ball with a snap, the crack and smoke protesting against the beast. No doubt it did not hit a thing, but it was more the gesture of defiance that mattered. Fletcher's deep cry came next. "TO ARMS! HE'S GOT ONE OF OURS LADS! PIKES AND HOOKS TO THE STARBOARD NOW!"
    • Cariciok [3156777]
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    Posted on 19:01:20 - 16/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    Garard sat stunned, for what seemed like an eternity, seeing all of this take place. He finally snapped out of it and made his way quickly down to the ships main deck. The crew were frantically making their way toward weapons and manning the starboard side. He snagged up a hook from the ships port side and made his way back starboard. 

    He had never seen anything like the beast. It looked like something only in tall tales. He hadn't seen that the beast actually had one of his mates at first, but he had surely seen it now. He wondered if it would be the last time he seen the midshipman. He spring into action giving the hook and line a few reels in the air before chucking it toward the beast, coming up short of its mark. He reeled in the line and hook in and tried again, almost aiming for the midshipman this time, wondering if he might take hold of it, so Gerard might assist him in escaping the beasts gnarled grasp.
    • strange2 [68827]
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    Posted on 06:01:29 - 17/12/23 (2 months ago)
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    The crew made a good show, hollering out their rage and swinging out their fury. It nearly masked the stench of fear that permeated the little ship as they all burned at that unthinkable beast. Fletching made special note that even the lookout had hauled down at record pace to join in that one sided fray. 

    Sure enough, hooks were cast, pikes were mustered from their damp chests, a few fire locks were even mustered up. It was for naught though, the creature only remained nearby long enough to seemingly taunt. Its horrible teeth worked over the poor, screaming sailor only long enough to position him in line with it's long gullet. Like a mouse with a serpent , he disappeared as the crew's screams turned to groans. The horrible beast surveyed the ship coldly as the maritime monster dipped below the still sea.

    Soon there was not trace of that horror at all, nothing to mark that passage to the deep but the memory of a man, and a looming sense of terrible anticipation. That was clearly the sort of lightening that could strike twice, thrice, or as many times as it was hungry.

    The question was inevitable. "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT?" A sailor asked at the top of his voice. It wasn't clear who that question was for. Maybe acting captain Fletcher, maybe the crew at large, maybe God. It seemed best that Fletcher fielded it, as the crew was scared and God might be busy.

    "It is what it seems." Fletcher said coldly. "A monster. I know not where the storm took us, but it is clear that here there be monsters."

    Fletcher cast his eyes over the crew. Some took it well, some were shaken. Reasonable. "Well, there be nothing we can do but try lads. Keep weapons at the ready, and always walk in at least pairs around the ship. Watchers, get back to your posts. Dry land would be most welcome. "

    It wasn't a grand speech, but there wasn't much to say. You could wallow in the horror, but that would not change the circumstances much, would it? Fletcher seemed to come up with something else to say just as the crew was preparing to shuffle off back to tasks that required doing, but would not be at the forefront of anyone's mind. "We'll have a memorial at dawn." Fletcher said. "Monsters will not stop us from seeing our shipmate off."
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    Posted on 02:44:55 - 31/12/23 (1 month ago)
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    A canvas was sewn and stuffed with frayed ropes, a cannonball at each end. A new flag was draped across this surrogate corpse and the bundle was symbolically offered to the sea. Prayers were given and words were spake into a cloudless blue sky. Maybe they made some sailors feel better when they watched that hemp pillow, overladen with meaning, sink into the still waters.

    It mattered just as much as you thought it did, and that was something, for better or worse, that no one could take away.

    The still waters and clear skies were excellent for contemplation, but they did nothing for actually moving The Insurgent. Terror stewed into paranoia and annoyance in those stagnant wallows. Two days frittered away into nothing but an ever decreasing supply of fresh water, and the night threatened to bring yet another helping of misery. Then, with that third dawn, came a breeze.

    It was a good wind, blowing up from nothing as though summoned by the sailor's whines. The insurgent clipped joyously towards no particular destination at all.
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    Posted on 04:29:14 - 08/01/24 (1 month ago)
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    "It isn't right." Bottineau said, his heavy eyes looking at a chart. 

    Fletcher's eyes took in the chart, Bottineau had drawn out a hundred mile circle around where they'd been, back in the west indies, before the storm began. From there he'd traced a broad line with their current heading. The wind had not stopped, shifted, or varied since it had started to blow. They'd been driving dead east for four and half days now, posting double digit knots the whole way.

    By any possibility, they'd have seen land by now.

    Of course they both knew what had happened the storm, the great tumble, it had taken them someplace unnaturally. They were gone from the warm seas they'd been patrolling, taken to some other land of monsters. You couldn't, well, Fletcher anyways couldn't bring himself to just say it. It was impossible for a start.

    So there they stood uselessly in the cabin, staring a chart of a sea they couldn't see, ignoring the one that splashed at the hull.

    Fletcher knew something else as well, and it was even harder for him to come to terms with. This was that no wind ever blew without any change for more than half a week. That was so impossible, and loaded with such ideas, that he dared not even think it for too long, let alone think it.

    The useless contemplation ended with a cry that brought a cheer around the ship.

    "LAND! LAND ON OUR HEADING!" Came the cry from the topsail lookout, and every sailor shoved for the railing, then they remembered the monster and moved back like sheep from a herddog.

    It was confirmed, the silhouette of mountains were indeed on the horizon ahead. The wind kept steady, and The Insurgent pulled for those hills in leaps and bounds. Through spyglass after a few hours a second sea came into view. At the base of those grey peaks was a sea of yellow, waves of golden sand rising in the slow motion waves of a dune sea.
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    Posted on 04:47:34 - 08/01/24 (1 month ago)
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    Gerard was in his bunk, reading a book, when the commotion began. He tossed his book aside as he heard the crew scurrying on the deck above him. He was just about to doze off with only six hours before his next watch. He got out of bed and grumbled to himself, "So much for sleep." He knew that if there really was land on the horizon he would  ot want to sleep anyway.

    He made his way up to the ships main deck. He saw it immediately. No denying that that was indeed land. He took note of the unnatural shores. It was like nothing he had ever seen. He nudged a nearby sailor. :"You see that shore? Ye ever seen anything like it? It looks unnatural to me."
    The sailor responded, "Can't say that I have but who cares, it's land. Maybe we can at least put our sea legs to dirt for a while." Gerard was not so sure himself....
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    Posted on 02:34:51 - 12/01/24 (1 month ago)
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    The coast was the center of all attention as The Insurgent clipped towards it. The constant wind blew the lost sailors ever closer to the shore, and what should have been comforting to those drifting souls brought them only confusion. 

    In a few hours the shore was plain to see for all that this shore would bring them no respite. The sights on the shore were alien and unnatural, as great mounds of sand crashed over one another, propelled by some great, swirling wind blowing around the foot of the mountains.

    The disappointment aboard ship was palpable, made worse by the wind blowing them towards the coast.

    Then a surprising thing happened, the wind shifted. From nowhere it began to blow perpendicular to that blasted coast.

    Fletcher cast his eyes over the rippling sails, and he called out to the helmsman. "Turn with the wind!" The helmsman acknowledged with a nod, but his eyes were uneasy. It was like they were on a string, a toy being dragged wherever it's master desired.

    But of course, that couldn't be true, could it? For now, it seemed like the best they could do was follow the coast and see where the wind took them.
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