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As soon as Fortuna was ready we left port and headed north-east. Our next port would be Ravensmeer where Grandpa Blackwell’s treasure was waiting. Fortuna seemed weary in the water. With all the repaires she was like a wounded pyrate, who had been patched up, but still waited to heal properly. It was almost painful to sail her – a bit like a mother feels when her child is sick, I imagine.
I can say this of Ravensmeer; it is chilly, even in high summer. The people there are tall, blond, blue-eyed, and speaks a language that sounds painfull to pronounce. They eat fat salted fish and a dark sort of bread, that sticks to your palate and tastes like beer. I have no complaints about their actual beer, however, but otherwise one should bring ones own provisions. And I’m normally not a picky girl, when it comes to food.
Well, I bet you’re dying to hear about the treasure… I knowe I was. What do you imagine it was? Golden dubloons? Sapphires, diamonds and other precious gems? Pearls? Jewelry and religious artifacts? Wrong! It was papers! Lots and lots of papers! It was deeds and shares of ships and companies. Was I dissapointed? Yes! Yes I was. Very! I first thought that Granpa Blackwell must have lost his mind in his olde age, but it turned out he had asked the bank to investe the money he had, and they had invested in something solid; land! Well, I have no interest in land. Land is a place you have to be, until you can set foot on a prober ship again! The bank offered to realize all that money, and I said Yes please! They asked for half a year to sell everything and put the money into four bankaccounts; one for me, one for Phoebe (her Daddy had written off his share), one for aunte Margaret and one for Cecillie. Cecillie’s account was to be forwarded to an account in Stevensport as she had asked us to, when she left us in Jamesport. I got an advance on the money, so I could commission my ship when we got back to Brest. We were also now able to finally pay the men what they deserved.
And then we were out of there again. To Brest we sailed, where I made a deal with the master shipbuilder, who had originally build the Hyena. It tooke a little convincing (he was only allowed to build for the Compagnie), but a little money under the table, convinced him of the wonderful idea of working for me as well. I paid him £900 up front, and would return later with more (as my bankaccount in Ravensmeer filled up). Ienne would cost me £2.500 to build and then I would have to equip her as well. Costly, but worth it! A ship is a home, a career, and a future all rolled up into one.
The Fortuna was settled into dock for at full repair and careening – she really needed it! The men were given leave, and we the officers dawdled around for the next month”.
‘Dawdled around’… I’m sure you, my readers, also wonder what she meant by that. I know for a fact, that she and Jean Luc left Brest and were gone for a month. I have been able to discover that they went to Ryendor City, where I’m sure they met with Jean Luc’s famous, or infamous, depending on how one lookes at it, aunt; the playwrite and philanthropist Manon de Bergerac. Now, in Ryendor this woman is quite wellknown. Not only for her playes and for her orphanages, but for all sorts of controversial things. I couldn’t even begin to describe her or her doings; it would take a whole book on its own. The reason why I’m almost positive that they met her, is that about a month and a halfe later one of her most popular playes ever, ‘The musketeer and the mermaid’, celebrated its first performance. I have seen this play with my own eyes, and I must say that a lot of it seemed familiar to me, knowing as much as I do about Fiona and her doings. It’s a love story and a comedy, and as I said, one of the most popular and longest playing of Manon de Bergerac’s playes. A much less known play called ‘Pyrates daughter’ had been put up before that succes – a drama of wonderful dramatic value, quite a masterpiece in the eyes of educated critics. In fact the Duke of Anjou, a close friend of Jean Luc’s aunt, has claimed that it was the best play she had ever written. The actress Marie Decompte started her extraordinary carreer playing the titlepart of Minou, the pyrates daughter, a character so like Fiona, it’s eerie. But as it is with masterpieces, they are seldom appreciated or understood by the public. It played for four days, then it was taken off and was soon after replaced by ‘The musketeer and the mermaid’, which included a bit about a dog, rude language and a much talked about kiss… You cannot believe the popularity of that play! I know that it was put up in several other larger Ryendor cities, as well as a few foreign ones. I saw it myself in Stevensport in the company of Her Majesty the Queen, who claimed to enjoy the play although it was foreign.
I know for a fact that they left Ryendor City after a few days and went on to Bergerac, Jean Luc’s birthplace, where all of his extended family resided for the summer. I have several accounts from various cousins of Jean Luc that he showed up that summer after several years of noncommunication with his distressed family, with an extraordinarily beautiful young woman whom he was not engaged to, though no one there doubted that they were lovers. Fiona was very ill received. Jean Luc’s mother found her lacking in social graces, titles, money and almost all other things a noble lady looks for in a future spouse of her son. Fiona started out addressing Jean Luc’s mother ‘like one milkmaid would another’ as one of the cousins reported, only to curse in several languages when she realized her mistake. Jean Luc is reported to have been yelled at a lot by his father, his mother and the cooke (?!). All in all it sounds like a very unpleasant stay for bothe of them.
I have tried to put these accounts to Fiona, but she refused to discuss them. I have only managed to get her to mutter that she was not the least bit surprised that Jean Luc fled that family and went off to sea.
Back in Brest Fiona borrowed £1.000 from the ship’s treasury so the building of Ienne could continue. They loaded wine and brandy on board the Fortuna – now in better shape than ever – and set off for Stevensport.