Pirate Festival > Port of Call


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Welsh Wench:
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Topic author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire had given her crew leave to go ashore. She slipped into her high-heeled boots, the ones she wore exclusively to town. Pulling the red dress over her head, it skimmed and swirled around her hips as it traveled southwards. She adjusted her hat, the one with the three large feathers and checked to make sure her cleaveage was where it should be. If things go well, I just may get into another little card game and add to my fleet. She looked out on the port towards Desire Street to see what ships were docked and who was in port. And to see what dear Papa has been up to in my absence.

Walking through these streets, the sights and sounds were so familiar. As she past Madame Laveau's place, she nodded to the old woman sitting in front.
"Caesaire! C'est vous, ma cher? Asseyez-vous! I shall tell you what awaits you!"
She gave a smile to her. "I am sorry, Marie. I have to visit my father to see how he is."
The old woman shook her head,. "Ah, pauvre petite! I have heard stories that votre pere intends to sell the place. Says since his daughter has run off from St Ursulines Convent and fell into company with Jean Lafitte's crew, there will be no one to care for the place as he intends to go back to France."
Narrowing her eyes, she said, "Oh, he did, did he? We shall see about THAT!"
Picking up the pace as she walked down Chartres Street, she passed Father Antoine. He stopped and stared at her. "Mon Dieu! Is it possibly little Caesaire Trosclair? Child, you have changed!"
She could hardly contain a grin. "Pere Antoine, as I live and breathe! Still think I am on the road to perdition?"
He shook his head. "The nuns tried. They really did. You chose otherwise. Where are you headed off to in such a fine steam?"
Caesaire said, "To keep my father from selling the home and then I am off to straighten out a few messes."

As she rounded the corner, she ran into the arms of someone. He caught her and said, "Pardonnez-moi, Mademoiselle!"
She looked up and into the face of her worst nightmare.
Jean LaFitte.

Caesaire looked at Jean and laughed. And in not such a pleasant way.
"If I wanted to stay in partnership with you, Lafitte, I never would have jumped ship. Now why would I want to partner with you on something that I can do all by myself?"
She leaned forward, affording him an ample view of her cleaveage.
"Mais non, cher. I can take care of this myself. As far as the old man is concerned, that house belongs to ME as his sole surviving heir. He wants to go back to France. Let him. But the house is mine. MINE. And it shall stay mine as a place for me to reside when in port."
She ever so slightly tapped the whip that hung on her side. He remembered that she was an expert and could flick anything out of a person's hand at twenty feet.
"So don't try your sweet-talk on me. And dont worry about the Spanish. I have them right where I want them."
She pushed past him and walked off, turning to wave.
"A bientot, love. TRY to get along without me!"

Caesaire entered the courtyard of the townhouse where she used to play as a child. Across the street the Grimas lived. I hope I can get into the house without seeing Alberto. Godfathers are nice. But I hate to hear him talk about how I've gone astray.
She latched the gate and entered the house.
"Pere? C'est moi--êtes-vous à la maison ?"
"Caesaire? Oui!"
A tall man with silver hair came out. "Ma petite! Comment allez-vous? Quand etes-vous arrive?"
"En anglais, s'il vous plait, Papa."
He sighed. "Very well."
She took off her hat and threw it down. "What is this I hear in town about you wanting to sell the house and go back to France?"
"I am old, cher. I want to go back to France and die in peace. You have left the convent and the sisters and taken up with that..that...pirate!"
He spit on the floor.
Caesaire said, "Don't be so dramatic. I am prepared to send you back to France. Right now. On one condition."
"What is that?"
"You give me the house. I'll give you money but you turn my inheritance over to me right now."
He said, "Just like that? You are prepared?"
"This was Maman's house too. You will not sell it and have strangerrs living in it!"
She turned to go. He said, "Just like that you are leaving?"
"I'll be back later."
"Where to, child?"
"I'm going to visit the nuns, what do you think?"

She walked down the street and came across a tavern. May as well have a shot of absinthe before I look Drausin up. He always was a good time. In the back room, she saw men. And cards. And men. And money. And men.
Walking to the back, she saw her old mentor sitting there. She smiled to herself. Ah, lady luck doth shine on her favored child!
She strode up, leaned over the table and smiled sweetly.
"Gentlemen? I have the feel of fortune. Deal me in."


Caesaire stood outside the tavern where she had just made a small fortune off the gentlemen playing cards. She laughed to herself as she remembered the look on Jean's face as she leaned over the table and ended up playing most of the night. They never even noticed that Jean was playing with a marked deck. I'll bet he cursed the day he ever showed me how it worked. But what could he say?
She walked through the French Market, buying a beignet from the nigra with a bright tignon tied around her head. Heading towards the Toulouse Street Wharf with a purpose in mind, she stopped and pulled the currency out of her bodice. It was a nice sum for an evening's diversion. Never have I seen men so eager to lose their money--and so cheerfully too!
After counting it out, she placed it back into what she considered the safest bank in the parish.

She looked up and saw the building she wanted next to the wharf. Entering, she said to a clerk sitting there. "I am here to see Drausin D'Estrehan. Please tell him that Mademoiselle Trosclair is here to see him."
The man nodded and went to a back room. Within a minute he came out and said, "Monsieur D'Estrehan will see you now."
She went into an office. There sat a devastatingly handsome man. His eyes were of deep brown. His hair was dark brown tied back in a ponytail. He was slim but strongly built and he had his sleeves rolled up. When she entered, his face lit up.
"Mademoiselle Trosclair! To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"
She held out her hand and he kissed it. "I have come to arrange the purchase of my family home. Title transfer and all that, Monsieur D'Estrehan. Since you being a lawyer I felt comfortable asking you to handle the transfer."
He nodded and turning to his clerk, said, "That shall be all, Pierre. Mademoiselle Trosclair has me on retainer."
As the clerk left, Drausin asked, "You are really buying Old Man Trosclair out?"
"Yes, I am."
"Anything else I should know?"
She looked at him steadily. "What do you think?"
And with two steps, he swept her in his arms.
"About time you came back into my life, Caesaire..."
"Drausin.." she whispered.

Two minutes later, her chemise dropped to the floor.
And that was the best closing on real estate in Lousiana history.


Caesaire quickened her steps to the Ursuline Convent on Chartres Street. May as well get this over.
She knocked on the door of the Mother Superior's office.
"Entrez-vous, s'il vous plait.'
She opened the door. Behind a huge mahogany desk sat the nun who had been her nemesis through her teen-age years.
"Caesaire Trosclair. I thought we were well rid of you."
Caesaire laughed, "You are. Did you think I was coming back as a novice?"
"Heaven forbid. You gave this convent a bad name. Dancing in Congo Square with the slaves.. And on a Sunday too."
Caesaire shrugged. "And what my father didn't know didn't hurt him. Everyone should dance with wild abadon, Mother Superior. Even you."
"So why are you here, child?"
"I don't rightly know. To let you know I am alive and doing well, I guess."
The Mother Superior frowned. "Working with pirates and becoming one yourself is not considered 'doing well'."
Caesaire opened her mouth to protest but the Mother Superior held up her hand. "No use denying it. I know it to be true."
Caesaire shrugged, "I didn't do it for the money. I did it for the fun. I have made a success of what I do."
"And what is that?"
"Supply and demand. The residents of the City demand and I supply."
"And supply what?"
"Whatever they need or crave. Silks. Coffee. Gold from Spain to adorn the necks of the women of New Orleans.'
"A pirate."
"A privateer, Mother Superior."
"I'd rather you work in the brothel. At least you'd be safer."
Caesaire stood up. "I promised myself I would visit you at least once since I left. I fulfilled my promise to myself. That's it."

As she turned to go, the Mother Superior asked quietly, "Still seeing Jean Lafitte, are you?"
Caesaire gave her a wistful smile and said, "Only in passing."
She shut the door and stood out in the sunshine, the sights and smells of the City filling her senses.
'Let's see....I got a satisfying closing on Father's house. I visited the nuns. What else can I get into?'

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre Baudouin walked out from Madame Badeau’s, the young woman he had spent the night with all but draped around his shoulders. Dressed only in her chemise and knee length bloomers, her auburn hair a mass of tangled curls. Andre’s own state of affairs was not much better, his wide black leather belt was still unbuckled around his burgundy sash, and his matching long coat hung over his left arm which still clutched his sword and baldric. Wisps of long black hair had escaped his ponytail and hung over his face.

“Non, Cher, non.” The tanned beauty whispered huskily into his ear, her lips playfully tugging the gold ring piercing the lobe. “Stay but a while longer. My treat.”

Andre grinned, showing even white teeth beneath his waxed moustache. “Ah, Cheri, if only I could.” He spoke lowly as he struggled to slip the baldric over his shoulder with her arms in the way. “But I am now late for a rather important meeting, and there are times when the business must take precedence over the amore.”

“Bonne journée, mon cher.” He grinned, planting a quick kiss on her cheek as he pulled the long sea coat over his weapons. “Perhaps I may return tonight, au revoir”

As she watched the tall French buccaneer make his way down Bourbon street adjusting his burgundy Cavalier’s hat with the white and black ostrich plumes she smiled. There went perhaps the best French pirate in all of New Orleans. Pity Madame Badeau insisted on charging. She would have gladly bedded Andre Baudouin for free. C'est la vie.

Andre kept a brisk pace as he left the infamous red light district and headed for the docks. After three months in the Caribbean and two Spanish prizes under his belt he had been due. The only draw back to the life of a pirate he had ever found was such a long separation from the ladies. And so he kept, how was it the English put it, a lady in every port. That they all cost him a bit of gold bothered him not in the least. After all what was more important in life than a good meal and the company of a pretty woman?

It was a convenient arrangement. The life he had chosen for himself left little time for the wooing of a permanent lady love. What woman would put up with a man who spent months on end away from her arms. Perhaps one day, but until then working girls would suffice. Besides he had yet to meet a woman who could pull the strings of his heart.

By now his crew should have been able to sell the spoils of the two galleons. One he unfortunately had to sink, the other he put up for sale in Jamaica. That would mean Le Faucon de Mer would be all but empty with his men enjoying the fruits of their labors. He began to whistle a jaunty tune as he walked along.

“Andre Baudouin!!!” A rough voice, filled with anger called from the doorway of one of the many taverns that dotted the waterfront, freezing him in mid stride. Andre’s hand closed upon the gilded hilt of his broad bladed rapier.

“Oui?” He turned his head just enough to see over his shoulder. His left hand had already slipped a throwing dagger from the secret sheath inside the cuff of his coat. A large scruffy pirate whom he recognized as one of Jean Lafitte’s lieutenant slavers emerged from the dark opening, drunk and cutlass in hand.

“I told ye I’d be getting’ the chance ter settle with ye, ya motherless French pig!” The smelly hulk strode down the short steps into the street.

Andre slipped the dagger back into it’s sheath before turning around. The man was alone, and that would mean a fair fight. “Mon Ami, you lost at Liar’s Dice fairly. Is it to be my fault you could not bear to afford what you lost?”

“You cheated, and then had the gall ta put yer filthy French Creole hands on me!!” The unkempt ruffian howled. “I’m not near as drunk as I was last night, and yer gone ter pay!”

Andre’s brown eyes narrowed at the last insult. This English pig had succeeded in spoiling a perfectly joyous morning for him, and dared to use his Creole heritage as an insult. Any thought of leaving this stinking brute alive left the suave pirate’s mind.

“Very well, porc!” He hissed. “I hope you’ve spent a good night, it shall be your last!”

With a guttural howl the filthy brute charged Andre, intending to overwhelm his opponent with the pure force of his much larger size. Andre shook his head inwardly, this was going to be too easy. At the last moment he parried the downward slash of the rusty cutlass, whipping his own blade over until it rested on top of the drunken slaver’s blade. A grim smile spread across his lips as his opponents eyes widened with realization. Fast as a striking serpent Andre’s arm shot upwards slicing the offending pirate’s throat from ear to ear.

The uncouth ruffian’s sword clattered to the cobblestones as his dirty hands went to his neck in a vain attempt to stem the blood flow. Andre lunged forward at the man’s now unprotected chest running him through the heart and killing him instantly. Pulling a white linen handkerchief from an inner pocket he leisurely cleaned his blade, then tossed the soiled cloth unto the dead man’s body.

“Au revoir, mon ami.” He sheathed his sword and brought two fingers to the brim of his hat. “A pity you could not have been more of a gentleman, you might have lived to regret this day.”

From the deck of Le Faucon de Mer his own English Quartermaster waved. “Ahoy, Captain!” John Hubbard grinned. “And what trouble be ye bringing aboard with ye this time, Mate?”

Andre laughed heartily, clapping the broad shoulder of his friend. “No more than I seem to bring with me any other time, Mon Ami.” He then related the fight near the water front.

Hubbard gave a long low whistle at the end of the tale. “Lafitte may not be takin’ lightly to yer killin’ a one of his men, Captain.”

“C'est trop mauvais, My friend.” The tall dark haired pirate grinned. “Jean is not the only pirate in New Orleans. I did him a favor by ridding his crew of such a, how you say, blot upon his honor. Now why are you yet aboard? Do you not wish to partake of Lady Orleans pleasures before we set sail?”

Now it was John’s turn to laugh. “Already have, Captain. Just got back aboard meself, I did.”

“Very well, Mon Ami.” Andre stretched like a jungle cat. “I shall be in my cabin should any more of Jean’s men come to call. I must lay plans to replenish our pockets after this night.”

“Aye, aye Captain.” John Hubbard grinned as he watched his friend enter the door just below the raised deck to the captain’s quarters.

Welsh Wench:
Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre removed his long coat and hung it from one of the wood pegs mounted into the wall near the door. Shaking out the billows of his sleeves he adjusted his scabbard and set down behind his oak desk. For a moment he surveyed his domain with a small measure of pride. The polished oak beams, shining brass lamps, and the rich tapestries and small bits of plunder that he had taken a fancy to all testament to his rise from a poor street child in New Orleans to a ship owner and wealthy pirate.

Opening the top drawer to his left he removed a map, several papers, and spread them out onto the polished top. Studying the purloined letter he had taken from the ship he had to sink Andre let out a low whistle. According to a letter from the governor of Macao a shipment of Chinese silver, and rare Japanese silks were due to be brought across the Panamas, and from there shipped to Count Eladio. All without the knowledge of King Philip.

So if the prize were taken, then no one would be the wiser. Since the goods were of no official shipment they would not be missed, except perhaps by the Count. It would be both the richest, and safest, plunder Le Faucon de Mer had ever taken. They would be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Or at least until they made the next port.

Andre studied the map. Timing would be everything this time. As far as he knew none but he and the Quartermaster, John even knew of the shipment. All others who knew lay in Davey Jones locker. Except, of course for the Galleon chartered to ship the haul. From the letter, and the manifests he knew the ship was due to sail from Panama in three weeks, with a slight layover in Cuba.

Somewhere between Cuba and Nassau would be the best place to spring the trap. Then they could make berth back here in New Orleans, and have the goods stored weeks before the ship would be expected in the Canar…..

A sudden uproar on the docks near his ship broke Andre Baudouin’s train of thought. Though he could not make out what was being said he could plainly hear Hubbard,s voice raised in anger. He sighed and stood up, it would seem he would have to lay his plans later. Leaving his sea coat hanging on the peg, he stuffed two loaded flintlocks into his belt, adjusted his hat, and opened the door to the deck.

“You tell zat dandy sans mère I wish to speak with ‘im now! Ce moment même!!” Jean Lafitte’s voice shouted from the dock, his accent was thick with anger.

Andre chuckled at the insult. Seven of his men blocked the gangplank, and John Hubbard made eight. Andre decided to let Lafitte stew for a moment as payment for it, and straightened his shirt to while away the time, and prove Jean right.

“An’ I’m telling’ ye that Captain Baudouin is busy at the moment, and he’ll see you when he’s damn good and ready!!” John shouted back. “I’m not going at interrupt him just because you say so, Lafitte! Wot? Ye think yer the only pirate in N’Orleans??!!”

That was all Andre could take and gales of laughter erupted from him at hearing his Quartermaster echo his words of a few moments ago. Still chuckling he drew his rapier and walked over to the side of the ship. “Why, Jean, what ever is wrong, Ami?”

There on the dock, at the foot of his gangplank stood Jean Lafitte and four of his men. “Wrong??!! Wrong??!! Sacré bleu!!! You murdered Higgins not more than an hour ago, and you ask me what is wrong??!!!” Lafitte’s color turned beet red as he pointed an accusatory finger in Andre’s direction.

“Assassiné? Moi??” Andre grinned and crossed his arms over the gunwale, letting his rapier dangle loosely in his hand. “Non, Mon Ami. That filthy pig…and I do mean filthy…attacked me. I should allow myself to be hacked to pieces to satisfy your crew? Where did you find him anyway? In the butcher’s pig sty? He certainly smelled like it.”

Jean Lafitte stood open mouthed at Andre’s matter of fact demeanor. “He was drunk! You did not ‘ave to kill him! This cannot go unanswered, Baudouin!!”

Now it was Andre’s turn to become angry. He griped his rapier firmly, straightened up and pointed at Lafitte with it. “The reeking swine dared to insult my Creole heritage, Mon Ami! I will lay any man in his grave for that! Even you! I did you a favor, Slave Runner! Perhaps your stock will sell better without that pig’s ordure hanging about them!”

Jean looked up the gangplank. To a man Andre’s crew had drawn their weapons and stood at the ready. Like it or not he would have to back down this time. “Very well, Andre.” His tone became more civil. “But this is not over between us.”

“Another time then, Ami.” Andre returned lowly. As he watched Lafitte and his men turn on their heels and stalk up the dock.

“You know he’ll be back, Captain. Sooner or later.” John rubbed the stubble of his chin.

“Aye, John.” Andre frowned. “He is a proud man, but that is something left for later. Send three of the crew to fetch the rest of our drunken lot. Drag them back if necessary. There is no sense leaving them out numbered in town. We sail in three days. Until then I want them all aboard making ready, and out of the reach of Jean Lafitte.”

Reply author: Welsh Wench

"Well, that was a typical display of your temper, Jean!"
He heard the solitary clapping behind him. Whirling around, he came face to face with his former partner.
Caesaire walked up to him in a measured gait, slow and cofident.

"Ah, Jean! Always the hot-head, oui?"
His face darkened. "And what about you, ma petite? I have seen your temper, non?" He reached out to stroke her cheek.
"We used to go at it pretty well ourselves, cher. A partnership made in heaven. Or a little lower. It was mutually...satisfying. In all aspects."
She turned her head and he laughed. "Such a lovely shade of red! But the business end of it was getting in the way of the pleasure. It worked well. You would move the goods that would appeal to the ladies of New Orleans. No one suspected that Mademoiselle Trosclair was a privateer in her own right! And run through the blacksmith shop and finding its way into the parlors of Creole Society's finest. And all under the nose of the Spanish."
"And at a very nice profit, I might add. Which has benefited you too, Jean. Keeping your hands off the finery while you sully them in the slave trade."
He shrugged, "It is what is required to make this colony prosper."

"A problem, Caesaire?"
Caesaire turned to see her friend Solange D'Estrehan coming towards them, carrying a few packages. She looked back at Jean Lafitte and said haughtily, "None that I cannot handle. Monsieur Lafitte and I were just discussing the upcoming ball. Were we not, Monsieur Lafitte?"
He bowed low and said gallantly, "I do so hope you will save a spot in your dance card for me."
She gave him a brittle smile, "But of course I shall!"
He took her hand and kissed it, gazing into her eyes. "A bientot, Mademoiselle Trosclair. Till then."
He turned and walked up the street.

Solange put her packages down to draw her gloves on. "Drausin told me you were in his office earlier today. You were having your father's house turned over to you so Monsieur Trosclair could go back to France."
"Yes, we went over deeds this morning and it should only take a few days to file it with the city."
Solange hugged her friend. "I am so happy to have you living in the city now. We have hardly had a chance to see each other."
Caesaire nodded, not really paying attention. She was looking towards the River.

She turned to Solange and discreetly pointed towards a ship with her feathered fan. "And who might THAT be?"
Solange looked up from her packages and said, "Ah! That just happens to be Captain Andre Beaudoin of Le Faucon de Mer."
Caesaire leaned on the rail on the dock. She gazed intently at the fine form of the captain, his white shirt billowing in the river breeze and his rapier glinting off the sun.
"Could it be...? Andre Beaudoin? Mon Dieu, how we have grown up, ne nous avons- pas?"
Solange looked at her friend and said, "You know him?"
Caesaire nodded slowly, her eyes never leaving the captain.
"Oui. Certainement! He was the best friend of my cousin Sebastian. I used to tag along and they would torment me with frogs and all sorts of river nasties. Then I would go home and cry to Tante Isabelle. She would make them take me to la patisserie and buy me a beignet. That would really make them upset. La femme, you know. And that age how they hated me for that!"
She turned to face Solange, a look of devilment on her face.
"I do indeed feel the need to reacquaint myself with my childhood friend."

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre sheathed his blade once he was certain that Lafitte had given up, at least for the time being. He watched as his Quartermaster sent six of his remaining force to scour New Orleans for the remainder of the crew. As much as he hated to cut short their pleasures, he knew better than to leave them to Jean’s mercies. Lafitte had no qualms about taking advantage of an outnumbered man, in fact he preferred it.

Adjusting the ruffles of his cuffs he thought for a moment of Lafitte’s first insult, one that used to be a term of endearment when Andre was Quartermaster of one of his three pirate ships. A smile came to his lips, perhaps he was a dandy, but he had grown up a street child, and had spent many hours envying the wealthy of New Orleans. Their fine clothes, and clean appearance had become an obsession with him. He had resolved even then that he would one day be dressed in finery, and be as clean as they were.

As a result when he had joined with Jean and proved his worth to the man, his fortunes rose quickly with the Quartermaster’s share. He had begun to save a large portion of his earnings, the rest he had used for the finest of boots, shirts, breeches, and weapons. The first time he had shown up at Jean’s plantation in his finery, clean and perfumed, Jean had broken into fits of laughter. “You look like a motherless dandy, My Friend!” He had gasped, clapping Andre warmly on the shoulder.

That had been a long time ago, before the hard words, and the mutiny. Strange how the twists of Madame Fate can change so much. Turning friendly teasing into venomous insults, and pitting former friends against one another. C’est la gere.

“Captain?” John’s voice broke into Andre’s thoughts. “Are ye alright?”

“Il n'est rien, Mon ami.” Beaudoin grinned. “I was, how you say, chasing the ghosts of the past.” He waved one ringed hand in the air as if to clear it. “Now, what were you saying?”

“Ye said we were sailin’ in three days.” Hubbard repeated the words Andre had missed in his reverie. “Does that mean ye’ve figured out the timeline ‘o the prize?”

“Give or take, John.” Andre smiled. “They may be delayed passing through the Panamas, but I think I have an idea that should guarantee placing her in our hands.”

The Quartermaster of Le Faucon de Mer listened intently, the Captain was one of the most cunning men he had ever known. Rarely did Andre Beaudoin’s plans go awry, and on the occasions that they did he had seen the man pull more than one miracle out of his arse.

“Regardless,” Andre continued, “the ship will dock for her layover in Cuba in no less than two weeks from now to take on supplies for the voyage to Spain, and possibly to lay some much needed bribes. We will make berth there and wait. Did you purchase the broken mast?”

“Aye,” John grinned, “though I’ve little doubt the shipwright thought me mad as a March hare fer wantin’ it. She’s down in the hold now, next ta the spare.”

“Excellent, ami John!” Andre chuckled. “Along with the papers that I paid a house maid at the governors to steal we will have the perfect excuse to be in Cuba for at least a week. As far as the Spanish will know we are merely New Orleans sailors paid to ship coffee from Columbia to the New Orleans market. They will think we work for them. And if we need more time we could always have a few turns of "bad luck" repairing the mast.”

John Hubbard threw his head back and laughed aloud. “Aye aye, Captain! Now what are yer orders when our drunken dogs are finally aboard?”

Andre scowled in thought, then brightened. “First have them detail Le Faucon, for some reason she smells of the slave trade. Then send two squads of men, fully armed into the city. One to bring back a feast for the men, the other to find a replacement for poor Francois, the cabin boy we lost in the last fight. However, make certain they understand discretion. I do not want Lafitte getting wind of any of this. Later this night we will bring up the rum, and have ourselves a good old fashioned Creole barbecue!”

“Aye aye, Captain!” The Quartermaster smiled broadly at the prospect of a night of feasting and drink. “They’ll get it right, or I’ll set my foot at their backsides!”

“Aye, ami.” Andre laughed. “Of that I am quite sure. Come to my cabin afterward and we will fine tune the plan. Our timing will be everything this time.”

Welsh Wench:
Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre moved the lamp closer to the sea chart he had been studying with unbroken concentration. Dusk was beginning to fall, and the light in his cabin needed augmenting if he were to attempt to guess the route the Galleon would take from Cuba. He doubted it would follow the usual sea lanes since the letter stressed both discretion and stealth. It would seem Count Eladio was taking every precaution. Only blind luck had brought the shipment to the attention of the buccaneer.

The Faucon de Mer had just left Jamaica, having put their last prize up for sale there, when the second Spanish Galleon came into view. Using his usual ruse of being a Dutch trading vessel, Andre maneuvered to hailing distance under the Dutch flag then opened fire shattering the main mast. Swinging the Faucon around to the rear of the Spanish ship they then opened up with the bow chasers.

The Conquistadors fired upon them with muskets as the crew readied the boarding hooks, or returned fire. John Hubbard kept the men steady in his role as Quartermaster. The Englishman certainly knew his job well, and their losses were few compared to the Spanish. Soon the pirates swarmed the deck of the larger vessel.

Hand to hand fighting was both brutal, and bloody. Andre found himself engaged in a fierce duel with the Spanish Captain. Fortunately for Andre the Captain, though well schooled in the art of fencing, had obviously been leading a softer life than the average solider. Baudouin’s clothing suffered more than his body did.

Eventually their fight brought them to the upper deck. The captain was breathing much harder than his younger opponent. Andre pressed his advantage and soon locked three inches of his rapier into the wire basket of the Spaniard’s. A quick twist, a jerk and his adversary’s blade sailed over the side to sink to the bottom of the Atlantic. The Captain quickly surrendered, calling for the rest of his men to do likewise.

In the captain’s cabin he had discovered the letter, and orders detailing the secret shipment from the Orient. Andre thought long and hard about his choices. If he let this crew live, the chances were the fortune would be lost, as they would certainly warn the other Galleon. Outright murder didn’t set well with him, but he had his men and his future to think of. These were some of the hardest decisions a Pirate Captain had to make, if he had any conscience at all, and far too few did.

In the end he did what he had to do. Privately ordering his men to make the Spanish deaths quick and painless, he had the survivors executed to a man. Then placing a broadside just below the water level of the Galleon, sent her to join her Captain’s sword.

Now he had to take the prize. Too much blood had already paid for it.

He never heard the knock at his door, lost in thought as he was, and John Hubbard risked entering without leave. “Still brooding over them Spanish dogs, Captain?”

Andre started from his thoughts, then grinned. “You have sailed with me for too long, Ami.”

John shook his head slowly. “Yer problem, Andre, is you’re a good man. It ner sits well when a good man has ta make hard decisions.”

“Be that as it may, John.” Andre turned serious. “The decision was the only one I could make. Had we let those men live the prize would be lost. I knew that these times would come when we took Le Faucon for our own, and mutinied against Jean.”

The grizzled Quartermaster brightened at the memory. “I would have loved to have seen his face when he found out that we took the prize and over half his crew that day. The slave trade never set well with me either. It’s why I threw me lot in with ye, stead ‘o turnin’ ye in like I should have.”

Andre laughed loudly. “And do you regret it, Mon Ami?”

“Not in the least, Captain.” Hubbard grinned. “But to Hell with this. There’s rum, and the patrol what ye sent fer the provisions has come back. What say we start this shin dig early, and leave the details fer tomorrow, Mate?”

“I think that is a tres bon idea, Ami” Andre smiled as the sound of the musicians tuning up wafted through the thick oak of his door. “Après Vous?”

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire and Solange continued their shopping throughout the finest dressmakers and bootmakers in the Vieux Carré. They laughed as they came out of the millinary shop.
"That hat is perfect for you, Caesaire!"
The feathers from the brim swept her cheek and caressed her neck.
Caesaire smiled. "I always was partial to yellow!"
Solange said, "I'm getting hungry. Shall we stop for a beignet and some fruit?"
Caesaire drew her attention away from a shop window.
"That sounds fine. My treat."

From across Royal Street, two men were watching. They were dressed dashingly in their gauze shirts and breeches, rapiers scabbarded to their sides. Their cavalier hats cocked just so on their heads.
Etienne de Marigny and Francois Loupe were coming out of a tavern on Royal Street when they heard feminine laughter. Francois nudged Etienne and nodded in the ladies' direction.
"Ah....voici les belle femmes! Regardez!"
Francois casually crossed the street and, taking off his hat and bowing low, he said, "Ah, bonjour mademoiselles!"
Before Caesaire could respond, Francois had her hand in his and was bringing it up to his lips. As he gazed into her eyes, he said, "Un fleur de Nouvelle Orleans!"
Solange could barely contain her giggles. Caesaire shot her a look and gave Francois her most dimpled smile.
"Such a smooth talker with an even smoother way of introducing himself, Monsieur...?"
"Loupe. Francois Loupe at your service, cher. And you would be...?"
"Mademoiselle 'Isabelle Valcour'."
Solange coughed, "ISABELLE?"
Caesaire said quickly, "You will have to forgive Solange, she is used to me going by my first name. Marie."
Francois laughed and said, "I have eight sisters all named Marie. Marie Amelie, Marie Josephine, Marie Odile...well, you understand!"

Caesaire was clearly enjoying it. Etienne bowed and said, "And where would such lovely ladies be heading on this fine day?"
Solange replied, "We were about to get a bit of repast."
Etienne said, "I am Etienne de Marigny, just ported this morning. Would you allow us to join you?"
Caesaire was quick with, "We would be delighted!"
Solange started with, "But Drausin always said...."
Caesaire took Solange by the arm and hissed, "I don't care WHAT your brother said! Let's see what they want."

A half an hour later, the four of them were sitting in a small eating establishment on Decatur Street. Solange was clearly not happy about being with what turned out to be pirates. Etienne said, "Mademoiselle Valcour, I am wondering if you have ever heard of Captain Andre Beaudouin. He is captain of Le Faucon de Mer."
Solange said, "Why, 'Isabelle' was just...OW!"
Etienne raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong, Mademoiselle D'Estrehan?"
She rubbed her arm where Caesaire had pinched her, "Mais non! Just a sting from a scorpion, no less."
Caesaire turned her guileless blue-eyed look onto Etienne.
"I have never heard of him. Is he famous?"
Etienned and Francois burst out laughing. "His exploits are legendary but we are sure you may not have heard of him, two fine ladies of this town."
Francois ran his finger softly up and down Caesaire's arm. "Are you in for a bit of adventure, cherie?"
She delicately took a bite of her beignet. "Well, I don't know....a fine lady that I am."
Solange had taken a sip of her cafe au lait and choked.
Caesaire patted her on the back and said, "Are you alright, chere?"
Solange managed to glare, "Oui! I just found something hard to swallow."

Francois daringly put his hand lightly on Caesaire's back. "We are having un bon soiree upon Le Faucon de Mer if you would care to join us? We shall be having libations and barbeque and you are most cordially invited, ma cher."
Francois took her hand and gazed into her eyes. Solange said, "Look at the time! 'Isabelle', we really must be going."
Caesaire stood and Francois kissed her hand. "You will come?"
She smiled and said politely, 'We shall see, Monsieur Loupe. We shall see."
Caesaire and Solange gathered their things and bid the two pirates adieu.

Francois looked after the retreating forms of the two lovely women and Etienne said, "It will never happen."
Francois turned to him and said, "A sou tells me different."
They shook hands and lifted their glasses in unison. "Long may Le Faucor sail!"

As soon as they were out of earshot, Solange hissed, "You have been out in the sun sans parasol!"
A slight smile played on the corners of Caesaire's mouth. Solange erupted with "Sacre bleu! You ARE considering it!"
Caesaire took her hat off, adjusted the feathers and put the hat back on her head. "What better way to visit an old childhood friend?"
Solange stopped in the middle of Conti Street and stared at her best friend. "You wouldn't!"
Caesaire raised her eyebrow and said, "But of course! Captain Andre Beaudouin is about to meet his childhood friend. Only not as Captain of the Shattered Dreams. But as Caesaire Trosclair in the form of 'Isabelle Valcour."
Solange shook her head. "I certainly hope you know what you are doing, Caesaire."
She looked in a dressmaker's window. She put her hand on the shop's doorknob and smiled radiantly.
"I most certainly do, Solange. I most certainly do!"

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre’s joyous laughter filled the deck of Le Faucon de Mer, clapping his hands and stomping one bell booted foot in time to the raucous Creole and Cajun music that filled the air as the cook basted the spit pig slowly roasting over the portable iron pit they had hauled up from the hold. It’s mouth watering odor filled the air about the ship, mingling with the tantalizing smell of Gumbo and Jambalaya. The crew danced, either alone, or with one of the many ladies that the second patrol had returned with instead of the sent for cabin boy.

Several Kegs of ale sat tapped on their cross legged platforms, and a table beside them held not only the finest Puerto Rican rum, but fine wines and bourbon as well. The ropes of the well kept pirate vessel supported nearly thirty lamps, bathing the polished deck in bright amber light. The entire spectacle resembled more a Creole wedding feast than the deck of a fighting ship.

“Not a bad soiree eh, Mon Capitaine?” Francois Loupe shouted above the music and sounds of merriment. A filled tankard waved across the party only slightly sloshing some of it’s contents to the deck.

“You are drunk, Francois, but you are also correct, Mon Frère.” Beaudouin laughed loudly. “Not a bad substitute you have found for the cabin boy I sent you after either, non?” He motioned to the several swirling women in the middle of the fore deck, then cupping both hands to his mouth voiced his pleasure. “AI-YEEEEE!”

Loupe laughed loudly as the cry of Creole happiness was echoed several times from various positions of the frigate. While not actually related to his captain it always made him feel better when he heard Andre use the term to refer to either himself, or another member of the crew. “Well you know what ze say, Capitaine. Never send a Frenchman to search for a boy, he will inevitably return with a woman!”

The Captain of Le Faucon de Mer laughed as he retrieved his own tankard from the top of the small barrel beside the one he sat on. “Mais oui, even though you, Etienne and the others seem to have returned with several.” He took a long drink before continuing. “Still I hope there are no disagreements aboard. You seem to have brought too few.”

“Aucun problème, Capitaine.” Loupe grinned like a school boy. “There are still several invitations yet to be filled. I suspect they will arrive in their own time.” Then he leaned closer to Andre and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial tone. “One especially whom I hope will arrive soon. You should ‘ave seen her, Mon ami. Un belle blond femme.”

Andre placed one hand on his knee and half turned to Francois. Cocking one eyebrow high he pretended to frown. “I see, Frère. So this is how you spend your assignment? Chasing pretty blonds?”

“Mais oui, is there any……” Francois Loupe’s voice trailed off as he looked up. “Bon Dieu! Unless I am mistaken, Capitaine, that is her coming down the dock now!” He straightened up and adjusting his clothing on the fly made for the gangplank.

Andre chuckled as he watched the man all but run to welcome this particular woman aboard. Shaking his head he drained his tankard and set it down before returning his attention to the ongoing party, shouting encouragement to his men.

No sooner did Caesaire Trosclair pass a pile of tarp covered cargo sitting to one side of the mouth of the dock than a shadowy figure silently slipped from behind it’s shadows. For a moment it watched vigilantly as she made her way confidently towards the brightly lit ship and sounds of merry making. Then quietly as an alley cat it ran off in the direction of the Quarter.

“SHE WHAT!!!” Jean Lafitte hurled the crystal glass he had been drinking from against the wall, along with the remainder of the bourbon it contained. A nervous slave girl quickly moved to clean up the mess as he fumed, red faced. “She would not dare!!” he hissed.

“I’m afraid so, Captain. Saw ‘er meself I did. Came sashayin’ down Canal Street an’ made a bee line straight fer Beaudouin’s ship, she did.” The spy confirmed.

Lafitte paced up and down in front of his fireplace, one hand stroking his chin in thought. “Well if that hellcat thinks she can make a fool of me by forming an alliance with Beaudouin……” his voice trailed off menacingly. Suddenly he stopped in mid stride and whirled to face his spy.

“Parker! You are to take twenty of our best. Go down to the docks quietly. Once you are there you will all scale the side of The Shattered Dreams, kill the crew aboard and sail her up the river to our special dock.” Jean grinned evilly. “Let us see what kind of arrangement Caesaire Trosclair can forge sans vessel.”

“Aye-aye.” Parker grinned, and with a quick salute was gone back into the night.

“Caesaire, Caesaire.” Lafitte spoke lowly to the empty room as he poured himself another bourbon from the crystal decanter. “Maybe I can never have you again, Cheri. But I will be damned if I will let Andre Beaudouin possess you.

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire walked towards the dock. She stopped suddenly to see the magnificent ship known as Le Faucon de Mer. She did a quick stuff and fluff. Her boots were white kidskin and she had on a simple dress of white lawn. She had a shawl of palest pink. Her hair was piled loosely on top of her head but was coming down to frame her face.

For once she felt her breath come up a bit short. 'Am I prepared to meet Andre Beaudouin after all these years? He can't possibly remember me....can he?'
She paused at the rail of the dock, looking out over the River. Her thoughts drifted back to another time. A time when she was five years old....

"Sebastian! Sebastian! You come in here!"
Sebastian and Andre came trooping in through the parlor. The two boys were inseparable and as different as night and day in appearance. Where Sebastian had blond hair and crystal blue eyes, Andre was dark as a gypsy. His black hair complemented his dark hazel eyes.
Sebastian's mother stood there with her hands on her hips.
"What is the meaning of this?"
They looked and saw the little girl sitting on the chair, her feet not even touching the floor and her face was tear-stained.
They both looked at each other with guilt.
Isabelle Trosclair stood there, tapping her foot. "I'm waiting for an explanation."
Still they said nothing. Finally Madame Trosclair said, "Am I to understand that you put a frog down your cousin's back and threaten her with a snake?"
Sebastian looked down and Andre looked out the window. Sebastian said, "No, we didn't."
The little girl flew off the chair, crying and beating her cousin with her little fists.
Madame Trosclair pried the little girl off her son and said firmly, "There will be none of that, Caesaire."
Caesaire buried her face in her aunt's skirt and sobbed. She put her arms around her.
To Sebastian, she said, "You should be ashamed, son. She's been having a hard time since her mother died."
Sebastian scuffed the floor with his foot. "But Maman, she is a GIRL!"
Isabelle shot her son a warning glance. To the little girl, she said, "Dry your tears, ma petite. Sebastian and Andre will take you to la patisserie and buy you a beignet."
"But, Maman!" Sebastian protested but one glance from his mother and he shut up.
"Oh, all right..but we won't like it!"

"Madamoiselle Valcour!"
The name called out brought her out of her reverie. She put on her best smile and said, "Ah! Bonsoir, Monsieiur Loupe."
He took her hands in his and looked admiringly at her. "And you look as beautiful caressed by the moonlight as you were kissed by the sun!"
She gave him a smile and tucked her arm in his offered one. He led her to the gangplank of Le Faucon and asked, "And we shall have a grand time, oui?"
She quickly scanned her eyes on the deck for Andre Beaudouin and seeing his dashing figure, she gave him a smile and said, "I think this shall be an evening to remember, Monsieur Loupe."

Welsh Wench:
Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

From the moment she came into view at the top of the gangplank Andre was overwhelmed with a strange sense of déjà vu. There was something familiar in her smile, something that told him in his gut he had met this woman before. He returned her smile with a slight nod of his head, then forcibly turned his attention elsewhere. She was the guest of one of his crew, and a friend. It would be bad form to show her undue attention. Still he would watch her from the corner of his eye at odd moments.

She was obviously from a well off family, as her demeanor attested to. She mingled with the crew while never making Loupe feel as if she was ignoring him. The overwhelming sense that he knew her from some where was maddening, like an itch that you couldn’t reach. The way she held her head when speaking, the lilt in her voice when she reverted to French, the way she unconsciously twirled her golden hair around one finger when…..

Attente un moment! He knew that habit. Rapidly the captain of Le Faucon de Mer searched his memory in vain. Damn it. This was impossible. No matter how much Andre Beaudouin strained he could not place this woman in his memory, and memory was one thing he prided himself on. He never forgot a friend, enemy, or a woman.

“A quoi pensez-vous, Capitaine.” The soft female voice brought him back from his search. There stood Francois Loupe with the object of his memory’s frustration. A slightly teasing smile played about the corners of her mouth.

“Pardonnez-moi, Capitaine. May I introduce Mademoiselle Isabelle Valcour.” Francois grinned has he formally introduced the beauty on his arm.

Andre stood and swept the burgundy Cavalier hat from his head, bowing he gently kissed the fingers of her offered hand. “Enchante, Mademoiselle Valcour.” Andre smiled his warmest smile. “Please make yourself to home aboard Le Faucon de Mer.”

Caesaire’s breath caught for a moment at the touch of Andre’s lips against the back of her fingers, and she felt her heart beat race. Suddenly she remembered the true reason she had insisted on following him and her cousin where ever they went. Quickly she hid her feelings. It was obvious Andre had not recognized her any more than she had him.

“Merci, Captain Beaudouin.” She smiled, a mischievous twinkle lit her blue eyes. “It is plain where your crew get their good manners from.” Andre’s smile did little to cover the change in his color, even in this light. “Pardon me for saying so, but you did not seem to be enjoying your little party a moment ago.”

“Pardonnez-moi, Mademoiselle Valcour.” He bowed for a second time. “But I was lost in thought. The price of being the capitaine, I’m afraid.”

“But tonight is not the night for such deep thoughts.” Caesaire smiled warmly. “With Monsieiur Loupe’s permission, perhaps I may take your mind from such burdens?” She nodded slightly to the area of the deck that was set aside for dancing.

Francois Smiled to his friend and nodded. As Andre took her small hand in his and motioned to the dance floor with his free hand he felt his heart race. “Apres vous, Cheri.” He smiled as he led her onto the deck.

The two guards on duty upon the Shattered Dreams watched the glow coming from the far away vessel. Just barely they could hear the sound of the music and laughter. Secretly they both wished them selves there instead of guarding Captain Trosclair’s prized ship. Their own shore leave was over, though, and most of the remaining crew were off in New Orleans. Barely eight men were now aboard and they regretted taking their own turn first.

“Think the Captain is over there?” Pierre asked.

“I think if there is a soiree within fifty miles of here she is there.” Jacques grumbled. “It would seem this time drawing the long straw was not in our…!”

The dagger suddenly drawn across his throat cut Jacques complaining short. The thrust of a cutlass a split second later dropped Pierre. With quick hand signals the twenty dark figures swarmed over the vessel. Ten bodies hit the water, and the moorings of the Shattered Dreams were soon cut free. Silently she made her way to the mouth of the Mississippi, and unnoticed slipped from view into the darkness.

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

As they made their way to the cleared deck, from the corner of his eye Andre saw John lean down to the lead musician and whisper something. The next tune changed to a softer, slower pace and several more couples joined them as Caesaire slid quickly into his arms. He made a mental note to either reward Hubbard with an extra share, or throw him overboard as soon as the dance ended.

Etienne de Marigny came up to stand beside his shipmate, a coin held between his fingers. “The sou I owe you, Mon Ami.” He grinned. “Unless you would like you make it double or nothing zat you have lost this game to the captain?”

Francois eyed the coin frowning for a moment, then grinned good naturedly as he placed it in his pocket. “Non, mon ami. I am not fool enough to take that bet. Women are naturally attracted to the power of position. And unless I miss my guess, our capitaine is in far more danger than even he realizes.”

“Then I am not imagining it?” Marigny queried.

“Non, any one who has known Andre as long as we can see it written across his face.” Loupe grinned. “John noticed first. Andre Beaudouin is infatuated with this woman.”

“Acclamation vers le haut, vieil ami. Regard.” Etienne pointed to the dock where several more girls were making their way towards the ship in a giggling group. “All is not lost yet, eh?”

“Mais oui.” Francois smiled, running one hand along the plumes of his hat. “Shall we leave Andre to his fate then?”

“Pourquoi pas?” Etienne shrugged, grinning. “There is not much we could do to save him from it.” The two men shook hands and made their way to the head of the gangplank to welcome the late arrivals.

Andre felt his temperature rise slightly as the soft form of Caesaire moved in time with his. Without warning he felt her move even closer to him, and he felt his next words stick within his throat. “M-Mademoiselle Valcour….” He began.

“Please, Captain Beaudouin,” Caesaire spoke softer than she had intended, and for a moment regretted her ruse. “Call me by my first name. Isabelle.”

“Tres bien...Isabelle.” He prayed that she could not feel the pounding of his heart in their closeness. “But what of Francois? From what I understood you are his guest.”

“Dans la verite, Capitaine Beaudouin.” Her blue eyes looked warmly into his. “I only accepted his invitation to meet you.”

“Then you must call me Andre.” He smiled warmly. “Isabelle.”

The song ended and he reluctantly relinquished her warm body as they turned to applaud the music makers. He noticed Francois and Etienne were happily chatting up two new women near the gangplank and breathed an inward sigh of relief. It was against his nature to interfere with his crew’s plans as long as they did not endanger the ship.

Smiling at his good fortune he turned to Caesaire and offered his arm. “Would you care to accompany me to the upper deck, Isabelle? There we may speak in privet, if you wish.”

Caesaire slipped her hand beneath his arm to rest in the bend. “I would be delighted...Andre.” she smiled warmly. “You simply must tell me all of your adventures.”

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Andre led her up the stairs to the upper deck. She looked around. It was secluded and quiet. The gentle lapping of the water against the ship was the only sound she heard.
Except one.
It was the beating of her heart.
"May I get you something to drink?" Andre asked graciously.
Caesaire said quietly, "Whatever you recommend is fine with me."
Andre reached into a small cabinet and produced a bottle of Cognac.
"The best France has to offer."

She looked at him covertly as he poured the Cognac into a crystal goblet. 'He certainly had changed from the street-smart boy I knew, she thought. How much older were Andre and Sebastien from me? Let's see...I was five. They were ten. So, that would make Andre twenty-seven now.'
Andre handed her the cognac.
"Ah, merci, Monsieur....Andre."
Andre took a sip and motioned for her to have a seat. She laughed. "I very much prefer to sit on the deck, if you don't mind! A habit from when I was younger."
Andre used this as an opening to find out. Where did he know her from? New Orleans? She was a woman of breeding. Certainly not a brothel. Had he dealings with her father? Was he an importer? A broker of port goods? Had he met her at a ball that he attended from the plantations along the River?
"Mademoiselle....Isabelle. I am sorry, it is unusual for me to use a Christian name when we have first met. Creole Society, you understand."
She sat there and smiled, casually twisting the lock of her hair.
It was driving Andre mad. Why was that gesture threatening his memory banks?
"Not to worry, Andre. I am now calling YOU by your name proper."
He asked, "Are you in town for a visit?"
Caesaire ran her finger over the rim of her goblet and daintily sucked the cognac off her finger. Andre was watching that subtle gesture with fascination.
She took another sip and said, "Mais non! I was born in New Orleans but I was sent away to school. In...Baton Rouge."
Her voice caught a bit on that lie. It would never do for Andre to know she was sent to St Ursuline's Convent. Two blocks from the Cathedral in Place d'Armes. She had stayed in the neighborhood, cloistered under the watchful eyes of the nuns.

She leaned forward, her legs tucked under her. He could catch the soft scent of honeysuckle and jasmine. It seemed to muddle his senses.
"And are you from New Orleans, Andre? I know nothing of you until Francois mentioned your name."
Andre had always been guarded in his dealings with others on his past. He said, "I was raised in the Quarter, on St Louis Street. My mother was a housekeeper for Monsieur et Madame Trosclair. I was friends with their son Sebastien. Blood brothers, we called ourselves."

The music drifted up to the upper deck. Andre stood up and held his hand out. "Vous inquiéteriez-vous pour danser?"
"Je serais enchante."
Andre took Caesaire into his arms and she melded her body to his. He could feel the indiscernible heat between the two of them. She had both arms wrapped around his shoulders as his hands met at the small of her back. Her head rested gently against his chest. Something...something! What was it about her? Like he had known her all his life.
Had he?
Or was he just mesmerized by this charming woman? He had known hundreds of women in his life. Wenches and ladies. Tavern girls and landowners' daughters. They were an evening's entertainment.
He felt himself drawn to Isabelle.

Suddenly they were no longer dancing but standing there on the deck under the stars holding each other.
Andre lifted her chin to raise her face to his. She touched his cheek gently. He drew her closer to him.
Their lips met in a tender kiss that had caught fire, deep and searching. Andre had never been so taken by the intensity of a first kiss. It actually had frightened him. And he was a man who had never known fear.

Isabelle felt her knees weaken. She was being pulled into the passion and was feeling powerless. Yet as she had learned before, 'always leave them wanting more.'
She reluctantly pulled away from his ardor and said softly, "Monsieur Beaudouin, you take my breath away."
Andre's eyes were full of desire. It would have been so easy to give in. Yet Caesaire knew that if she did, she may very well quench the fire that she stoked in him.
Andre stood there and for once in his life, he didn't know what to do. A beautiful, passionate woman. He wanted her at that moment more than he had ever wanted any woman before. It was stronger than anything he had felt before.
Was it the beginnings of....love?
He shook his head.
Not to Andre Beaudouin.
He wouldn't allow it.
Would he?

Welsh Wench:
Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

As Andre walked the deck of Le Faucon the next morn his mind kept going back to the night before and Isabelle. This was madness. Watching the men make the fighting vessel ready to set sail the morning after tomorrow, he barely registered their presence. The mysterious blonde lady filled his thoughts even now.

Who was she? He had searched his memory long into the night, certain that he knew her from somewhere. He was also just as certain that he had never before met any woman named Isabelle Valcour. Slowly he made his rounds of the ship, giving to all who did not know him the impression of a pirate captain inspecting the work of the crew. Eventually he made his way to the short stairs leading to the upper deck and strode up them.

“It would seem our captain has been bitten.” Etienne de Marigny observed to the quartermaster.

“Aye.” John Hubbard spoke thoughtfully as he watched Andre vanish from sight. “But you know he’s nere going to admit it. Least of all to himself.”

“Mais oui.” The first mate grinned. “Until now Monsieur Andre Beaudouin has fancied himself immune to ze arrows of Cupid. It will be sometime before he will come to terms with it.”

Andre stood at the aft of his ship, leaning with both hands on the rail he stared out to sea from the river port. The ghosts of the night before echoing within his ears. Her laughter, the twinkle in her rich blue eyes, the warmth of her body next to his as they danced here alone, and the kiss. Never before had he felt himself swoon to the kiss of a woman, but he had certainly done exactly that last night.

The passion that her lips had raised within him had nearly robbed him of any semblance of common sense. Only a supreme effort of will had kept him from making a complete fool of himself that night. Instead of offering to share his bed aboard Le Faucon, he had instead offered to see her home, as would any proper gentleman. An offer which she had graciously, yet firmly declined. Had he indeed made himself the fool? Had he been too forward with the kiss? Enough to turn her away from him? He certainly hoped not.

Suddenly Andre whirled around in frustration, crossing his arms in front of his chest and roughly slamming his backside into the molded railing. What in God’s name was he thinking? These thoughts were not his! He was acting like un garcon d'ecole, a school boy! A lovesick school boy! He would not have it! There was too much a stake and he needed all of his wits to take the prize he had set for Le Faucon de Mer.

Desperately he tried to rid himself of her image, only to have it float tantalizingly before his eyes. The sent of her perfume hung in his nostrils. The sound of her voice rang within his ears. He could still feel the softness of her in his arms. Like a dream that he never knew he had. How could he rid himself of it? There had to be a way to regain himself. There had to.

“Captain?” John Hubbard’s voice broke into Andre’s conflicting thoughts and the emotions they raised. A wave of relief flowed through him at the distraction. Anything to keep his mind off of the fact that he was not in her arms where he secretly wished he was.

“Oui, John.” He smiled with relief. “What is it, Mon Ami?”

“There seems to be a bit of a disturbance from last night.” The Quartermaster looked grim. “The Spanish soldiers are here, and their captain has some questions he would like to ask you.”

“Perturbation?” Andre’s brow furrowed. “Surly our little party was not that loud. Or was one of the guests Francois invited the governor’s daughter?”

“Nothin’ like that, Mate.” John Hubbard’s face turned grim. “It seems a ship was stolen from the port last night, and ten of her crew found floating under the docks.”

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire laid in her big four-poster bed draped with netting. She tossed and turned as dawn approached. She could not get the feel or the taste of Andre Beaudouin's kiss out of her mind. She rolled over and punched her pillow, her thoughts drifting back to the soiree and the evening before.

Andre looked at her in that minute before their lips touched with such an intensity that it made her weak even now.
'Fool!' she called herself. 'If I wasn't so stubborn and practical, I'd be lying in his arms right now!'
But did she have any guarantee that Andre would come calling the next day? And if he did, he would realize that Isabelle Valcour, whom he held in his arms and kissed under the stars was really the grown up version of a five-year-old that used to tag along behind him and her cousin Sebastien. How would he view her then?

Caesaire had broken away from his kiss and said, "Monsieur Beaudouin, vous enlevez mon souffle..."
She looked into his eyes and could see desire. Caesaire knew that look. She had seen it before in men's eyes. Certainly she was no stranger to the ways of men. Or physical love.

Drausin was foremost on her mind as her most ardent suitor.
He thought she was newly arrived back into the Quarter from a finishing school in Charleston. At least that was the story her father gave out to his associates. Father was too ashamed to admit his only daughter had taken up with Jean Lafitte, privateer and the purveyor of fineries to the best households of Creole Society.

She threw her covers off and went to her windows, looking out towards the River. She could barely see the outline of Le Faucon by the docks. The lights had been extinguished from the gaiety of the party. She sighed as she closed the shutters, climbing back into bed.

Caesaire threw the covers back over her head. 'This is madness! I never intended for this! It was a prank! A trick to see if he would remember who I am. Well, it certainly back-fired', she thought.
The huntress got captured by the game.

She sat up and ran her fingers through her hair. After the kiss, Andre hesitated. The party was winding down. Caesaire was afraid that if she stayed one more minute longer, she would make a complete fool of herself and that would never do for the daughter of Christophe Trosclair.
But Andre had taken her hand and asked her, "Est-ce que je peux vous escorter maison ?"
She fought every urge to say, "Mais non! I want to stay with you..."
Instead she had murmured, "Captain Beaudouin, I appreciate the kind gesture but I live up the street. It is quite alright. I got here on my own, I shall return on my own."
"But Mademoiselle Valcour, I would be remiss in my duties as a gentleman to not see you properly to your abode."
She touched his lips with her fingers and whispered, "Perhaps another time, Andre...'" and enfolded herself in his arms again.
They stood there, holding each other tightly, each not saying a word until Caesaire whispered, "I really must be leaving."
Andre walked her down the stairs. She could feel the questioning eyes of his crew on her. Were they surprised that Andre had a woman on the upper deck? Or the fact that she wasn't staying the night?

At the end of the dock, she took his hand and said, "We shall meet again, Captain Beaudouin. Of that I am certain."
She turned and started walking away. She heard Andre call out, "May I come to call on you like a proper gentleman?"
She was afraid to turn around lest she run back to him.
And with that, she walked into the fog that settled on Decatur Street.


The early morning sun streamed into her room, the sunbeams filtering onto her face. Caesaire snuggled deeper into her quilt.
A knock on her door.
"Allez-vous-en! I'm still sleeping!"
She threw the pillow over her head.
Insistent knocking.
"Oh, very well--entrez-vous!"
Eliza, a house servant, came in and shut the door behind her.
In a nervous whisper, she said, "Mademoiselle Caesaire, there are men here to see you."
Her head popped up from under the pillows.
"Men. Spanish soldiers. They want to know about a ship that is now gone. The Shattered Dreams. And a dead crew."

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre made his way to the top of the short steps leading to the main deck. There a few yards from the bottom stood a Spanish lieutenant, and three soldiers. They looked up as one at the appearance of the Creole buccaneer. The lieutenant had been deeply engrossed in questioning the crew of Le Faucon de Mer, ceasing his interrogation of François once the captain of the vessel had come into view. The arrogance that lit his brown eyes told Andre Beaudouin all he needed to know about the man.

“Bonjour, lieutenant.” Andre put on his most diplomatic mask. “And what, may I ask, can we do to be of assistance to you?”

“Ah, Captain Beaudouin. Buenos días.” The lieutenant’s voice was dry as dead leaves. “Is there somewhere we may speak in….privet?”

The question was meant as an order, and Andre knew it. His ship and crew were in danger from this man, and their fate now lay in his hands. “But of course, Lieutenant?”

“Guerrero. Lieutenant Enrique Guerrero.” The man’s eyes bore into Andre’s.

The pirate merely smiled warmly and gestured to the door leading to his quarters. “Tres Bien, Lieutenant Guerrero. We may speak in my cabin, après vous?”

The Spaniard gave him a half bow before moving to the door. Andre held the door open for the official. “Mr. Hubbard! See that we are not disturbed.” By giving the order to the quartermaster, instead of the first mate, Andre had given the prearranged signal to secretly prepare the Faucon to sail immediately should things go wrong and they had to kill the Spaniards.

“Aye, aye, Captain.” John saluted, then turned to give their key men their assignments while the soldiers waited for their commander, unaware.

Guerrero immediately sat down in Andre’s chair behind the oak desk, and the Creole pirate breathed an inward sigh of relief that he had locked the sea chart, and letters safely away before the soiree last night. He was also highly angered by the Spaniard’s arrogance, yet kept it off of his face and out of his voice.

“May I offer you something to drink, Monsieur?” he asked in his most gracious tone.

“No. Thank you.” The Spanish lieutenant returned icily. “While my inquiries of your crew has convinced me that you were indeed here last night the fact remains that you are a thief, and a pirate, Andre Beaudouin. Whether, or not, it can be proven at the moment. And I for one have little use for pirates.”

Andre felt the hackles on his neck raise and for a moment thought seriously about killing this Spanish dog. Instead he replied in a shocked tone. “Pirate? Je? Non, monsieur, you have me all wrong. I am but a simple merchant. I am....”

“You are a pirate, and a murderer, Captain Beaudouin!” Guerrero rudely cut him off with a certainty of conviction. “While nothing can be proven, yet. It is still my pleasure to inform you that until our investigation of this matter is finished both you, and your crew will remain docked here. Every ship that was in port last night are officially under house arrest until further notice.”

Andre nearly choked at the news. At the most he could delay a couple days longer, but any longer would put the prize beyond his reach. “But, Lieutenant, surely you cannot be serious! I have urgent business in Nassau that demands....”

“Your ’business’ can wait, Pirate!” Guerrero stood to leave, again deliberately cutting the protest short. “And perhaps King Philip’s ships can breathe a little easier with you safely here, instead of robbing them blind. Good day to you, Senior.”

Andre’s fists trembled with the exertion he applied to them in a Herculean attempt to control his temper after the Spanish pig had left. Damn him to Hell! Now the prize would sail safely into Count Eladio’s arms. He should have gutted them the moment they had set foot on Le Faucon de Mer! Thrown them overboard and sailed immediately. A discrete knock on his door ended the bloodthirsty thoughts that raged through his mind.

“Oui! Entrez!” He snapped.

John Hubbard poked his head through the door. “Is it that bad, Captain?”

Andre took a deep breath and released it loudly before replying in a more subdued voice. “Oui, my friend, it is that bad. That pig has us all hamstrung until the mystery of the stolen ship is solved. The prize will slip through our fingers with out our even trying for it, and all those men I had killed will have died for nothing!”

Hubbard had fully entered the cabin by then, and stroked the stubble of his chin thoughtfully. “Well, it may be no consolation to ye at the moment, but the lady ye were dancing’ with is makein’ a bee line straight fer us, and she sure don’t look like the lass what left the ship last night.”


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