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Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

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Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:55 am

Ever since Sergeant Quinn left the boy was content in sleeping. He was curled as best he could be with the shackles keeping his body twisted the way they wanted him to be.  He used the jacket as a pillow and tugged a part of it over his shoulder, though it stretched there rather loosely. He was unawares of what was going on above, and even whether Ware was still present. His dreams were nonexistant, but for that he was fortunate. If he should have dreamt at the time, he might have only had nightmares, which would make his future worse than the possible reality.

He was relatively warmed up, and could possibly only suffer a bit of a pain in his neck as it was twisted at an almost unnatural angle. He shifted on the floor, barely aware of the fact that it was not a hammock that he was sleeping in. Regretfully so too, as the floor was hard, dirty and smelled worse than a used hammock would.

He scratched his belly and shifted again, ignorant of the footsteps that were becoming louder. Unlike the others he had heard so far, they did not distance themselves though, or end up being the ones coming from above. He paid them no heed still, too tired or too deep asleep to be stirred by such a trivial matter.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Keiju on Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:10 am

"Rouse up," the Master-at-Arms growled, coming to a halt by the irons. He knelt quickly to unlock them. "Time for meetin' your judgment."

The Marine sentry - still Ware - waited stiffly at his post. He had surrendered the keys and now stood by to follow the two sailors on deck.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:23 am

De Guarde jerked awake. His eyes were still attempting to focus when he began to sit up. He yawned and it took him perhaps a few moments before he realised what the master-at-arms wanted and why he was even found sleeping on the hard floor. He abandoned the jacket and stumbled as he got up to stand proper. He rubbed his left leg, and then quickly brushed up on his right before straightening up.

"goin'." He mumbled and rubbed a hand across his cheek, over his left and then right eye. He fished out some of the dry flakes that remained at the very end of his eyes and tucked a few messy strands behind his ear. His hair had been unbound to be washed, and now it still stood in a somewhat loose fitting queue. It was all he could do on his own and on such a short notice however. He glanced at Ware and then quickly moved into step with the man and the master-at-arms. He felt dread creep up on him, but tried to push it away again. Nothing bad could really happen, could it?

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Keiju on Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:28 am

Good. The big sailor grunted and turned away, wordlessly indicating that De Guarde and his Marine escort were to follow him topside.

"Let's go then," Ware grunted, wanting nothing more than to be done with all of this.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:42 pm

The boy walked quickly, feeling his throat become unnaturally dry so that he was forced to cough a couple of times and try moistening it with a few small gulps, but that hardly worked. The whole procession was there to scare him, but he was certain, he knew, he hoped, perhaps there was a chance that the captain would chasten him infront of all of the men, but then tell him to go below and this to never be repeated. The fact he was well versed in what punishment went with what crime, did not help matters, nor did it calm his nerves.

Still he lifted his chin, forced emotion off of his face, hoped for a brave face instead and walked on. A stoic expression was there certainly, and he did not try to stall or walk slow. The sooner it was over, the better. The sooner he would know.

He blinked a little, as the daylight rushed into his vision and made his eyes sting a bit. The sensation was not long standing, and he could turn to look across the deck, part of it shielded from him by the master-at-arms' bulk.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Jacob Chase on Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:27 am

The boatswain and his mates were trilling away with their calls, summoning all hands aft. Chase and the rest of the crew pattered toward the quarterdeck, knowing the reason for the occasion. It was a damned shame.

"Gonna be a taste of the cat fer him," Jonny Seward said, looking pleased. "Least he deserves!"

Chase put an elbow into Seward's ribs. "Stow it, idiot," he snapped.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:29 am

De Guarde stared ahead, tying to ingore the inquiring gazes, the curious glances, the looks that he felt mostly did not pity him, but delighted instead. His understanding of this might as well have been flawed, affected and influenced by the fear he had felt, and by the earlier experience where he found few, very few, interested in coming to see him.

Closer he walked, and more nervous he felt but still he pushed those feelings aside, to be hidden beneath the mask of timid confidence. He could not show them the fear he was feeling. He had personal pride and he perhaps should have had the pride of Tars who would often attempt to make it seem as if it was nothing. He heard a remark come from Seward and felt himself smile when Chase struck the man. He had not seen it happen but he did hear the oomph and Chase's retort. He felt fond of the man now, grateful.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Edward Leat on Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:31 am

From his post on the quarterdeck Leat saw the look of uncertainty and fear that passed across DeGuarde's young features as the hands were called aft. Foolish boy, did he think all this was for his benefit alone? There were other defaulters to be seen to, and after that DeGuarde would receive his own punishment - below decks, out of sight of the crew but not out of mind.

No ship's boy would ever be put before a grating, even if he was rated "able seaman" in the ship's books, and certainly not a boy that was a midshipman temporarily turned before the mast. It would be a monstrous thing for a boy to be rigged to a grating, and Leat felt he knew Bolitho well enough not to consider it an option even for a second.

But all the same, it may not do any harm to let DeGuarde's imagination run away with him for a while.


Last edited by Edward Leat on Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:00 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  George Thompson on Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:58 am

The Marines had cleaned, polished and pipeclayed the various items of their kit the evening before in readiness for Defaulters and were now on parade along the larboard gangway.

Thompson felt apprehensive, though probably not half as apprehensive as de Guarde himself was feeling. He felt, obscurely, as though he had let the lad down - as if there was something he could have done or said, somehow, to defuse the whole situation before it had got out of hand.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Terry Button on Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:07 am

Terry Button shuffled his bare feet, trying to hide among the men crowding the gratings over the ship's waist. He hated Defaulters. Nobody liked watching anyone get punished, of course, and he'd grown used to it. But he still hated seeing it. And even de Guarde didn't deserve that - though he'd caused a scene the like of which Terry couldn't recall seeing, ever, since he'd been signed onto Terpsy's books.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Richard Bolitho on Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:48 am

Bolitho looked down at the men below, frowning as De Guarde was brought on deck. He hated that the boy's antics kept pushing him to order punishment. He had half a mind to order a full flogging for the boy if it would finally make him come to his senses. But Bolitho knew he could not do that. Nuisance or not, De Guarde was still young. Too young to be put on the grating. No, it would have to be the boy's cat for him, whether or not it made De Guarde learn his lesson.

"Able Seaman De Guarde," Bolitho called out once the boy was close enough, "You have been found guilty of disobeying orders and of conduct unbecoming for a sailor in His Majesty's navy." That was the most polite way he could possibly word it, though there were many colourful phrases he could also have used to describe the incident. "As such, you shall be punished for your indiscretion."

He paused, waiting a moment to let his pronouncement sink in before announcing what the punishment would be.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:56 am

Able seaman, he was addressed. There could be no doubt what would happen to him. It was how able seamen were punished, how they have always been punished and how he had seen Chase punished himself. He had ordered it, held through the punishment where he should have spoken up. It left Mister Leat inconveniently displeased. It made him perhaps even an enemy of the boy, for what little good faith he had in De Guarde.

He gulped, his hands balling into fists as they hung at each of his sides. He steeled himself against the punishment. It would come, and he knew what it would be. The grating, the cat. He would soon be told to take his shirt off and then be tied to it. He wonder if he would reach high enough even or if his height might make it harder to swing the cat.

He breathed in, kept his breath and then slowly let it out. He had sworn he would not make a sound. He would not disgrace himself this time, not even by asking for mercy. He looked at the captain willing him to finish what he had begun to say. What use but to make a boy suffer more at his nerves, was to be silent? What use!

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Richard Bolitho on Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:04 am

That was enough time for De Guarde to worry. It was time to deliver his sentence.

"For your punishment, you will receive two dozen strokes of the boy's cat over a gun. As befits your crime, you will receive your punishment on deck. You chose to let the crew see your foolish behavior, so they will also witness your punishment."

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:09 am

He knew he would regret asking. He was oddly relieved that it was not the full cat. Though the number of two dozen still meant 24 it was better than even half a dozen of the cat. But he had to ask. He had said over the gun, indeed he knew how boys and how midshipmen were punished when ordered to kiss the gunner's daughter, but Bolitho had not specifically said that.

".....Sir.....on the back?" He uttered, his voice timid, but not trembling, nor shaking in fear. It was only, submissive.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Richard Bolitho on Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:12 am

"On the rear, De Guarde," Bolitho said firmly.

The pain of sitting afterward might be a good reminder to the boy to behave himself next time.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Edward Leat on Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:52 pm

It did not show in Leat's stony expression, but the young lieutenant - though not surprised by the sentance - was surprised that Bolitho had given the order for the punishment to be given in public. It was perhaps a measure of how angry the usually mild-tempered captain had been made, that De Guarde had made him think public humiliation necessary.

It was also usual for the captain to ask if De Guarde's officers had anything to say in his defence, but perhaps Bolitho knew that Leat may not be able to bring himself to say anything good about the boy, and so save all involved the embarrassment of a resounding silence.

Now he stood waiting for Bolitho to give the word to the bosun's mates to have De Guarde seized to a gun. Had the punishment been carried out belowdecks, as was usual in these cases, it would have been up to Leat to see it through, being as De Guarde was in his division. He remembered that first flogging the boy had received, and how he'd not let out a sound save the softest wimper towards the end of the dozen. He wondered vaguely if the boy would keep quiet now - face his punishment with the dignity he had so lacked earlier which had caused this who sorry mess.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Jacob Chase on Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:06 am

Two dozen with the boys' cat was better than two dozen with the regular cat, but still... Chase forced himself to shrug slightly. Maybe this would help the boy learn to mind himself.

Maybe. He glanced sidelong at Jonny Seward. At any rate, it wasn't only De Guarde who needed to learn that!

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:51 am

Cattling cursed quietly. "The puss? He's a' rated able." He glared at the boy as if it was his fault that Bolitho made the decision. The fact the boy was just a boy and not even at an age that he should have been rated as such, did not seem to register with him.

De Guarde nodded slowly. He took a deep breath. On his bare posteriors with the puss, infront of all the crew gathered to witness punishment, that's what the decision was. He only awaited the order to be given, for him to be taken to the gun and to lower his slops. Even if he may have wished to shed a tear, he refused to. Instead he took on a stoic expression, brave and even gave a faint smile. "...get on with it." He whispered quietly and took a step forward.


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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Richard Bolitho on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:13 am

De Guarde had shuffled forward, indicating that he had accepted his fate. Bolitho turned to the bosun's mates and nodded.

"You may commence punishment, Mr. Colburn, Mr. Rutland."

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Keiju on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:26 am

"Aye aye, sir," Rutland replied, speaking for both of them. The two boatswain's mates moved to take charge of the unfortunate seaman and led him to the nearest lashed-down gun. De Guarde's trousers were tugged quickly down, baring his backside. Something like a grimace floated across Rutland's face at the sight of the thin scars.

By silent agreement, Colburn was the one who shook out the lighter boys' cat. He would administer the first dozen. There was the barest of pauses, then he drew his arm back and delivered the first blow.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Tom Oxley on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:35 am

Oxley found himself biting his lip as he waited for the Captain's verdict and sentence. When it came, he let out a long, slow breath in relief. It wasn't the full cat, but even so he couldn't watch, and found himself studying the mast, or the rigging. Anything to distract himself from de Guarde, bent over a gun.

A few days ago, that could have been him and the Shepherd twins. That thought didn't bear thinking about.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:54 am

De Guarde gripped tight on the cold surface of the gun. He breathed in when the first strike hit his skin so that the urge to hiss out could not go on par with the action already taking place. He lowered his face and stared ahead of him, trying to fix his gaze on one particular spot. The tails curled around his form, licking at the skin even about his hip and one, on his thigh. He willed himself to count, though he knew that he would know when the first dozen were done, because the two men would change places.

Be Quiet. He told himself even so early into the punishment. It was a reminder for later when his will would certainly be in danger of wavering.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Keiju on Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:04 am

Served the boy right, was the foremost thought in Colburn's mind. He shook the cat after each stroke before laying on the next. Keep it steady. Don't spare the lad.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:13 am

His skin was becoming more red, the stripes seen where the tails of the puss smacked across the flesh. It was not light given. De Guarde did not expect mercy. He did not believe that either Colburn or Rutland would give it. Even if they had the heart, which he knew they did not, they would have been unable. To lay it on lightly would mean, to be found in support of the actions of the culprit and this might end with the same man to be set an example of as well.

But, as there was little fancy with the boy even so, he had to wonder whether it was laid on worse than it could have been, generally. He bit his lip, chewed on the inside of his cheeks. Another strike had him inhale sharply. The cane could be controlled so much better. It fell only where it was meant to and only as far as it was wanted. It was straight, it would not strike what was shaped at a curve from it.

But the puss, it was not as discriminate of what it did. He pulled his legs closer together and hushed a yelp that nearly escaped him. Ow! A tail had found it's way to lash across a more sensitive part of his being. This hurt more on the whole. He remembered it had to. More strikes but also more tails than the caning could ever supply. There would be no considerable sitting, once it was all over. He dared a quick glance to the side, at the men who watched. His gaze dropped again, bringing some colour to his cheeks. Now everybody saw. He shut his eyes and did not open them till he was again staring ahead, pretending he was alone. Alone, just him and the the executioner.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

Post  Fingers Smith on Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:46 am

Fingers shifted uncomfortably in his place by the rail. Squirmed, actually, was a better word for it. He hated floggings no matter who was on the receiving end.

The regular splattering crack of the cat against skin seemed to echo loudly in his ears.

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Re: Allhands and bodies too, aft - 1st June

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