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03 August 2007 @ 09:38 pm
Witchery (Wanda)  
On the streets of Road Town, if Adam keeps his head up and his back straight and the dirt brushed more carefully off his jacket than usual, he can still pass for Navy sometimes. It makes him feel better to see upstanding citizens (what few there are around here, anyway) and know that they're not looking at him with contempt. He doesn't think he's the sort of man who deserves contempt from the law-abiding just yet, no matter what manner of crew he's taken to keeping.

He has to tell himself this, because even the other pirate captains are beginning to whisper about his willingness to take women aboard his ship and not turn them away after bedding them. Some of them even speculate that he's not bedding them at all. It's nigh unforgivable.

Still. He's made his bed, it seems, even if it's still a disconsolingly empty one, and he might as well continue to lie in it. He pauses outside the door of a respectable officers' tavern, rests his hand on the doorknob for a moment, and continues on past it.
 
 
 
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
And just as he passes, a woman exits the tavern, laughing. She's not dressed like a whore, or like a lady - she's dressed like someone who certainly did not belong there, hence the crowd of men scowlingly pushing her out more with promixity than touch. They think she's mad, maybe, or drunk. (They're wrong and right and wrong again.)

"Now, don't mind me," she tells them, voice heavily accented and totally unafraid, "It was a simple mistake."

She won't find a way out of this damnable port with them, she's learned. (How was she supposed to know what Navy men are like? Honestly, it's not as if she spent much time with that sort.) Wanda sweeps by Adam, trailing her fingertips over the exterior of the buildings she passes. She glances at him over her shoulder, unabashedly curious about every person she sees.
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Adam's still standing by the tavern door, staring right back at her. His immediate response, instinctive, is resentment--he would never have had the courage to even step through the doors of that tavern in the first place, knowing he didn't belong anymore. And then there's another wave, of something like kinship, because she'd been unceremoniously kicked out just as he'd have been. Neither of them belongs there.

"God's teeth, madam, what possessed you to go in there?"
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
Her first instinct is to go off on how English is such a bizarre language, because what the hell kind of phrase is God's teeth? That's blasphemous. But then, so is she. She tilts her head at him, drawing to a halt and then turning on one booted foot.

"They have boats--" No, wait. Wrong word. Similar concept, but wrong word. She lifts one finger, eyes rolling skyward while she searches for it, "They have ships, but they're quite jealous with them."

...Wanda tends to assume everyone operates under her system of giving and taking favors. Her world is tied together by IOUs, each person always owing one another one or two so that they're all equal, not money itself.
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 03:28 am (UTC)
Yes, yes they are. His mind absolutely boggles at the thought of this mad-looking woman trying to seek passage on a vessel of His Majesty's Navy.

"If it's passage on a ship you're seeking, I doubt you could have looked in a less friendly place. You're lucky you escaped without harm." He sounds almost awed.
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
She considers this.

"They would have done me harm, I think, if I hadn't charmed them." She's not speaking of the typical feminine charms, FYI - she's quite covered, although her clothing is sort of out of date, and most women wouldn't wear a cloak quite so brilliantly red. This girl is a bold one, though, judging by how she advances on a strange man with a cheerful smile. She's estimating she has a day before people realize who and what she is, if that, but she's certainly not going to show her desperation.

"And do you know of any friendlier places, then, sir?"
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
Adam has already backed away a step. Subtly, still close enough to speak with her, but something in his demeanor becomes guarded. He has no desire whatsoever to be charmed, though he poses no threat to her and means no ill.

The Hellequin is a friendlier place than he thinks she'll find anywhere else in this port, at the cost of whatever reputation he might have had if he'd refused to let females mingle with his crew. He pauses.

"Could you not turn any ship's crew to your liking, with your charms?"
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)
Lips still curved slightly, she turns again just a little to the side, and takes a step back. While she's not as aware of social norms as others (and that is pretty obvious), she's not totally oblivious, either. Wanda lifts her shoulders and shrugs sort of dramatically.

"It grows a little tiresome, relying on charms." And then suddenly there's a brilliant smile, as if the thought just occurred to her. "Of course, I can pay if I do find a crew inclined toward taking a woman aboard. Do you suppose that would help?"

Gadje are so reliant on money. Little coins! They're so small and so simple. The crew she got here with, by the way, spent the trip under the impression she was a large wooden box that other crew members kept moving.
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
Adam's still looking at her as though he's afraid that if he makes one wrong move, his crew is going to spend the rest of their voyage under the unmistaken impression that their captain is a frog.

But...hey, money. Money's never unwelcome. The ship needs repairs. The crew needs food, water and wages.

"It certainly wouldn't hurt." He folds his arms thoughtfully.

"I would need your word that you would do none of my crew mischief." As they do enough of that to themselves on their own, really.
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
She's not inclined toward turning random strangers into frogs, really...although she's entertained it just for the sake of amusing herself. Wanda's not a terrifically emotional person, even if she projects a great deal of bubbly insanity cheer, so she doesn't have knee-jerk reactions. Often.

"My, am I making promises to a stranger already?" She debates cracking a joke about the weight of a Rom's word to a gadje, but figures calling attention to that sort of thing might sour the deal. Wanda adopts an expression of seriousness, if only for a moment. "You have my word - provided, of course, they do not attempt mischief toward me."

Yeah, she wants to make sure that base is covered.
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
"I have found myself capable enough of preventing harm from befalling the ladies aboard my ship, madam." Yeah, well, we'll see how you do when you're actually out of port, Kaufman.

Adam, unfortunately, doesn't appreciate levity as much as most normal people do, and her cheer makes him a little suspicious. He's just unaccustomed to being included in that sort of lightheartedness. The crew doesn't joke around with him.

"If I have your word, then, I would like your name as well."
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
"Good." Succinct, but she feels that gets her point across better. While Wanda might risk her personal safety on her own on a regular basis, she doesn't like letting other people do it for her. She's funny that way.

"Ana Frank," she lies, smoothly, "And yours? You ought to name your price, as well, Ca-- is it Captain?"

This is asked interestedly, mostly because she'd prefer to do her haggling with the person in charge, you see.
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
"Captain Adam Kaufman, of the Hellequin." He still wishes there were a proper title in front of that. The HMS Hellequin, the RMS Hellequin, anything.

His price is reasonable enough, perhaps a little steeper than he offers to people who don't have the ability to turn him into a newt, but he's left room for bargaining.
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
"Kaufman," she repeats, quietly, half to herself, and then proceeds like nothing ever happened, because, if you hadn't noticed by now, Wanda is kind of a weirdo. The price she names is substantially lower, although she doesn't expect him to take it. This is the fun part of bartering.
agentoftheocean on August 4th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
Adam...really hates bartering. Usually he has such a hearty contempt for the people he has to barter with that he'll agree quickly to any price just to get away from them.

Wanda is strange and unnerving, but hardly repulsive. He still thinks of bargaining as a particularly tedious chore, but he can keep a calm facade as he does so.

But the way she says his name disturbs him, if only for a second. It's not that he's ashamed of it. And he knows he has nothing to fear. Most of his crewmen have much darker secrets than his; they don't care if their captain is a Jew, a Saracen, an atheist, or the Devil himself in some cases. But it's instinctive nonetheless.

He offers a price close enough to hers that he regrets it for a second, but doesn't change his mind.
redseawitch on August 4th, 2007 06:17 am (UTC)
She'd explain why she said it that way, really, if she knew she were disconcerting him. But Wanda, for all her talents, is no psychic, and so she takes the price he names with another one of those sunny smiles. Like she doesn't have a care in the world. That's not true, of course, she doesn't believe it's true of anyone in this day and age...but they're also all liars in this day and age.

"I think we've come to an agreement, Captain, although I hope you'll forgive me if I refrain from making the exchange itself in front of the spectators."

Possibly she means the drunk guy stumbling past with a painted-up prostitute under his arm. Who knows.
agentoftheocean on August 6th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
Suspicion! Eyeshifting! Contrariness! "Madam," he says dryly, "I highly doubt that anyone looking on will assume that the services you are paying me for are in any way improper."

But oh, what the hell; he wants to get out of here too.

"My ship is moored at the docks there, if you will accompany me."