The Successor

16-th of June 1792, early afternoon

There was one more week till the wedding and there were plenty of things to do for the eager groom. Including getting accustomed to help in the inn in the free time. It pained him that two days ago he had learnt that he couldn’t keep sailing with Captain Beppin, Aatami, Thurenza and the crew to Africa. He had never been so far away, and he would have been curious to see the strange animals the captain was telling about. He had heard about them from other sources before too, but seeing them from close would have been interesting. And, who knew, he might have left his name somewhere on the map… But he was warned that Margareta couldn’t make this voyage without risks of having her health worsen again, and he couldn’t accept sailing without her anymore, so he had kindly asked his captain to allow him to remain ashore. Captain Beppin agreed, with the warning that he had to find another man in his place for this voyage. Aatami would help aboard too, but the route was difficult enough to need actually ten strong pairs of hands in the rigging and about, split into watches. The boys, all three of them, came only as a bonus.

Fernand understood all these. A sacrifice in name of love – it would be welcomed, since Margareta was now his wife and she loved him as much as he loved her. The captain had promised him that he’d talk with his friend the maestro marangone to put him to test and give him a place in a team of ship carpenters in the Arsenale. But he’d get to his new work after the wedding. For now, they were all busy.

Right now, for example, he was on duty in the inn. He had learnt not only to serve the tables, but also to reserve rooms. He wanted to prove in everything that he was hardworking and his in-laws could rely on him.

word count: 343

Re: The Successor

He was free...
Ahh, to be able to smell the salty air, he thought after spending the day at the docks. Boris might not have found work just yet, but damned if he didn't greedily inhale the briny scent of the sea! His leg pained him and he felt he may have overdone it a bit with walking.

The pale looking man who was drenched in the sweat of pain came limping into the inn, his jaw set stubbornly and a determined look in his dark eyes. He needed and wanted to sit down, wanted to get off of his leg and eat enough for an army because he was hungry. But first, he needed to secure a room for at least a few days! Right? That would be grand, indeed! Boris made a sound in his throat as he stepped just the wrong way. He had not yet taken the medicine that the doctor had given him, he was sticking his hand into the breast pocket of his homespun shirt, pulling out the vial, uncorking, and downing a good swallow of the stuff. He corked it up again and dropped it neatly back where it belonged, then he took several deep breaths...

The lamed man limped forth, then... He would not say a word, not even to ask for a damned chair. No, Boris was too stubborn! He glanced around, looking about for someone on duty to reserve his quarters for him, looking for the world like he just would flop over at any moment.
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Re: The Successor

Fernand saw the limping young man with a fire in his dark eyes entering the inn. Before he could welcome him, the man stopped and took a sip of a vial. Be it a medicine or just some strong liquor? Or did it matter anymore, since most potions were made with wine or grappa?

He saw pain in the newcomer’s eyes, and the feeling of being lost he had sometimes too.

”Welcome to the Drunken Duck!” he said in Venetian, not realizing that the man is a foreigner, understanding only some of the words. ”What can I help you with?”

There were Venetians with such dark curly hair too… Being a foreigner was not written on anyone's forehead. Well, maybe with small exceptions like Liao or Aatami.

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Re: The Successor

He caught sight of a man, and the man began to talk to him in what sounded like Venetian... He might have caught one or two words in the sentence, but he shook his head and said, "Parlez-vous français?" He waited for a moment for the man to answer, before going on in French, "I have not yet had time to learn Venetian. I know French fluently, though." And it was true... He was very fluent at French, but not many other languages besides his native tongue.

If the answer was no, he would have to simply pull out his money and say the Venetian word for "Room..." Hopefully it wouldn't come to that, it was really not good being a foreigner in a country and not know how to even speak the language. That was why he at least tried to master basic words, if not more, at least so he could navigate without too much trouble.

He winced as the muscles began to spasm some around the still-healing scar, but quickly stoned his face up so it looked neutral. He shifted his weight onto his good leg, easing off the offending member the way a manly man would.

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Fernand smiled widely when he was asked if he spoke French.

”Of course I do,” he replied in French. ”I was born in Toulouse!”

As the man said, with a foreign accent, but intelligible, that he spoke French fluently but he hadn’t time yet to learn Venetian, Fernand nodded.

”I was welcoming you to our inn, the Drunken Duck. What can I help you with? Lunch is ready, we have drinks to cool you after having walked through the heat, and, since you aren’t from here, we have rooms to let as well.”

He was curious though about the younger man:

”Where are you from, if I may ask? I like the way you speak French, but I can’t say that your accent is suggesting to me a particular place.”

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Re: The Successor

"I would like for a room, please, Monsieur," the man said politely, offering the money that Simon had given him in order to stay for at least a few days. Now if he could find work as soon as possible, that would be wonderful.

When asked where he was from, Boris, normally not the talkative sort as we all know, said with as much cheer as he could muster while feeling the way that he did, "I come from Russia, near St. Petersburg." He didn't sound homesick for Russia, however. No, it had been a long time since he had been there and he probably spoke French better than his native tongue now... When he had thoughts, his thoughts were in French instead of Russian.

"Is food included with the room? I fear I could eat a horse, I haven't eaten much in the past month." He didn't mention yet about the hospital because he didn't find it necessary at the moment. Hell, just being out of there gave him a rather good mood. He hated being in there and would forever be haunted by the reason for being there. But his stomach, as if to punctuate his point of being hungry, gave a growl. Boris rarely ever cracked a smile, but he gave a sheepish one at that.

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Re: The Successor

As Fernand had guessed, the man needed a room and, unaccustomed to the Venetian coins, gave him a few days’ worth.

”How many days do you want it for?” he asked first.

So he was Russian.

”I have heard about your country, but I don’t remember to have met anyone from there up to now,” he said.

He had never considered the male passenger who accompanied that lady who had been sick all the time, because he simply hadn’t understood where he was from. Besides, in those moments Fernand had been very busy, besides his regular tasks aboard, in caring for a still feverish and bed bound Margareta.

As the man asked about food, Fernand understood that he had been quite strapped for cash.

”You’ll have food right now. Some soup and the specialty of the day? And I’ll give you a smaller, cheaper room, so that your money include the food, a thing we usually don’t do,” he added.

He knew what it meant not having enough money.

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Re: The Successor

"I cannot say how long I will be here. I am anxious to find work... But as I have just left the hospital, it might take some time for me to be able to do everything I need. I am fine with this arrangement..." He nodded some and then when it was brought up he could eat right then, his eyes brightened. The man was hungry and he loved to eat good food when he could. "I thank you, Monsieur, for your help. I normally would fight charity, but as it is, I have no choice but to accept... I also do not mind working for my place if needed until I can find a captain that will take me onto his ship."

He didn't know why, but he liked this guy he was speaking to, he seemed pretty friendly. The atmosphere of the inn was also much nicer than that blasted hospital, he shuddered at the thought of nearly getting his leg cut off because of infection and gangrene. No, it was better that he left that god forsaken place with doctors who were only too happy to take short cuts in healthcare that could possibly still kill a patient. He was glad that Simon stepped in when he did, otherwise he'd still be in there, learning to walk on a damned peg leg, looking much like the pirates he so loathed.

When it was suitable to do so, he limped toward an empty chair, of course, waiting for it to be welcome to him, first. He needed to get off of the leg, give it a rest.

word count: 272

Re: The Successor

So the man wanted work, but he was just released from hospital. Fernand had never been in such place, but he knew about doctors and illnesses. A lot more since having to care for Margareta. And it was understandable to be hungry after a period of hospital food.

The Russian was a proud man, he said that he had no choice than to accept, and that he would work for his place.

”I don’t make the decisions about this, but I’ll talk to my father-in-law and brothers-in-law about it. What I can help with, besides bringing you food now, is to speak with my captain for you, as he is hiring for the upcoming trip. Take a seat, I’ll bring you the food and we’ll talk more then.”

As the man went towards an empty chair, Fernand went to the kitchen and returned with a bowl of steaming chicken soup and another of duck stew.

”My wife and her twin sister are cooking, here you are. And I am always ready to help a fellow seafarer. Why have you stayed in hospital for and how recovered you are?” he asked first.

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Re: The Successor

Boris nodded as the man spoke of what he would and what he could do. It sounded like a plan to him, and he didn't say anything ecause there wasn't much to say other than the quiet, "Thank you." Then the man left to get some food.

He sat down, easing into one chair and proffering another (unless someone needed it, then he would relinquish) to prop his offending leg up and get the weight off of it in order to ease the pain some. When the soup and the stew were brought, his eyes widened a little and he salivated. "Thank you, comrade."

Fernand asked Boris about why he was in the hospital, and that was when his expression kind of darkened a little but it wasn't Fernand's fault. He knew the question was going to come. "I took a blade to my calf while on board another ship... A band of pirates sunk the ship and many died, my friend and I were two of only a few that survived. He will wish to work too." He spoke of it in a monotone, almost, sounding like it was something he didn't wish to talk about but did so out of duty. "The doctor gave me papers to say I am fit for work now, and I will work even if the pain is great."

Assuming the food was handed over, Boris was eating it slowly in no time at all, making sounds in the back of his throat that reflected his joy of eating something other than hospital food. That duck stew was something special.

word count: 273
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