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Her niece's humility was an admirable thing and had the added advantage of leaving Temperance feeling as though she was constantly rendering Blythe dumb with her words of wisdom and encouragement.Temperance Fairchild in Messiah
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#1
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1st July, 1889 — Somewhere in the English Channel
@Conall MacKay
It had never occurred to Temperance for a moment that amongst the challenges this expedition would pose her own equilibrium was also to be tested. She felt sick, no, that was an understatement – she felt as though her entire body was aggressively rejecting every attempt at moving in a dignified manner she attempted to make. Nothing but sheer pride – not the sinful kind of course, but rather a sense of decorum - had prevented her from hiding away in their cabin and wallowing in her own discomfort. It wouldn’t do of course, she had to hold her head high and it was already significantly better than it had been several hours ago.

She had never met a bout of nausea that could survive her potions indefinitely but this one had put up quite a fight. The fresh air was doing her good though, as was the solitude from the others of their party, and Temperance scowled as she heard boots approaching though didn’t move her head.

There was only one person aboard this boat that would dare to approach her when she had specifically asked to be left alone. Only one person who apparently lacked the decency required to take a lady at her word.

Of all the trials the Lord had ever sent her – Adeline, the boy, the general state of spirituality amongst her kind and now sea-sickness that would fell Blackbeard – she was quite sure that this man was one of the worst. She had thought him an ack pirate before and it came as little surprise to find that he was here at sea, looking every inch the scoundrel she had taken him for and, even more gratingly, looking more at home than she certainly felt amongst the spray and sea water.

“I don't know if you've come to offer sympathy or mockery Mr Mackay but I can assure you I require neither."
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   Blythe Fairchild


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#2
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It was a relief to be at sea.

It would have been slightly more of a relief if the greatest part of the population on board weren't all diligent Christians, but he'd been prepared for that. Besides, the journey was not a long one, and as soon as they reached the Niger delta he would blissfully be able to turn his back on their mission, and set off on his own instead. Only three days to get through, and then he'd be studying wild Fwoopers and trekking across towards Burkina Faso to see about some Runespoors.

Only three days. Conall, rather more comfortable on board than some (...most... all) of these Irvingly folks, had made sure to hang back whilst the churchpeople went belowdecks to get settled, and took a wandering tour of his own, more conscious of avoiding the former gaggle than the sailors aboard. Only three days... only there was one of the churchpeople he knew. Or, rather, knew enough: enough to know she was an insufferable sort, enough to know she most certainly did not like him.

So he would have been more than happy to give her a wide berth - or as wide a berth as the vessel allowed, anyway - but she could not claim the whole deck for herself, and, trying though she was, Conall could hardly claim to be intimidated by her. What was the worst she would do? Sermonise? Slap him again?

Conall only shrugged. "Wasn't offering," he explained pointedly, making a face to suggest he couldn't care less about her presence on board. He had thought she might look a little too green at present to care about his. "Left my things somewhere around here." He looked over a couple of crates nearby, trying to recall where he had set his bags down, and whether they might have been moved. As his gaze drifted back to Miss - Fairchild, was it? - he considered that she might find a way to be offended by this truth just as much as she might've been by either of the options she had given, so Conall (torn, admittedly, between the two) regarded her with a straight face, and added blithely: "It'll pass, though."
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#3
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“What did I just say!?” Temperance snapped, whipping her head towards him before immediately regretting it when sickness rose within her so quickly it nearly made her topple over. She gripped the railings tightly, turning her knuckles a shade of white to match the clouds in the sky, and leaned forwards unconsciously to prepare for an expulsion that, blessedly, didn’t come. She moaned softly as her head swam and closed her traitorous eyes: she could just about cope with the sickness, it was terribly undignified but manageable, however the feeling of being off-balance, of not being in control of what her body did because everything felt like it took twice as long for her brain to process, was utterly intolerable.

She carefully opened an eye and twisted her head slowly to look at him, leaning heavily on her arms and feeling like an utter fool. “Truly?” She asked, in a much calmer, almost humble voice, desperately willing him to tell her some secret trick to make it all go away. He certainly seemed to be faring better than anyone else onboard, even others that claimed to be experienced sea-farers – though Temperance had severe doubts about some of their claims. Either these waters were exceptionally rough or they were lying and Temperance had more reliance upon people’s dishonesty than she did the whims of the weather. “I’m not sure I can take this for the whole voyage.”
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   Elias Grimstone


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#4
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He'd been expecting that outrage, this time. It lost a little of its effectiveness, admittedly, with the way she had to give up and cling to the taffrail like she was going to die from it, but one had to admire her commitment. And nothing had come back up yet, as far as he saw, so that was something. All the same, he remembered the sensation, somewhat. From the crossing to Canada years back - though never after that again. (Conall wasn't even sure that it had been seasickness, that tumult in his insides as soon as the ship had left Ireland. It might've only been nerves, that fear of going halfway across the world into a whole life that was new, or perhaps that fear of that girl aboard the ship and having to talk to her, with his tongue in as many knots as his stomach.)

It was nature, now, adjusting to the ship's rocking rhythm, letting the weather carry you. Conall let his eyes fill with the ocean and then glanced back at her, mostly to check that she hadn't actually started retching. She had one eye open, looking uneasy. The outrage, yes, but what he had not been expecting was her changed tone. A kind of plea for reassurance. Funny, that.

He thought he'd spotted his bags out of the corner of his eye but, perhaps against his best interests, Conall ventured towards Fairchild and the rail, coming up a little along from her to lean on it. "Mhm," he said in answer, and then, belatedly considered that mhm was probably not as descriptive as it could be. "Always does," he added. "All sorts of cures to chase it off sooner," he said, with an almost-grin, "but everyone swears by a different one. I take it praying's not getting you anywhere?" He was asking for it with that, he didn't doubt it, but apparently he couldn't help himself.

With any luck, she wouldn't feel up to letting go of the rail just yet.



#5
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Temperance scowled at his mockery but couldn’t summon the energy to lambast him as he deserved – besides which he was quite right that her usual devotions were getting her nowhere. She had always believed unquestionably in the maxim that the Lord worked in mysterious ways but she couldn’t even begin to imagine for what purpose her creator required her to be this uncomfortable. It wasn’t even as though it was true suffering, something that had been sent to seriously test her mettle; some on the ship were weathering the sickness better than she but others, Blythe included, could not even leave their beds. Was she not worthy of being tested as much as her niece?

“Not as yet,” she gritted out, leaning her head down as though in prayer, and letting the railing take her weight. “My potions haven’t helped either,” she confessed, personally offended that seasickness was apparently too insurmountable a height for her concoctions to scale, when at the Infirmary they were renowned for their effectiveness. She certainly hadn’t done anything different but somehow the magic that cured nausea on ground didn’t work at sea.

Another of God’s ineffable mysteries.

“I-” Before the words could leave her lips the rail gave way underneath her hands, not slowly as she would have imagined if she had given any though to it at all, but instead in defiance of the rust and steel that held the frame up the railing lurched from the ground under their combined weight and Temperance, who had been relying on it for her stability, went hurtling forwards before she even fully understood what had happened.
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   Conall MacKay


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#6
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Conall suppressed a snicker at her answer, and could not admit to being surprised to hear the sea was playing havoc with even her best medical attempts to be rid of her nausea. Be you magical or muggle, the ocean was one of those creatures one couldn’t often do battle with and win: in fact, the more you fought it, the worse things usually went for you.

He might’ve said something to that effect, but Miss Fairchild had scarcely begun another sentence when the railing gave way right under them. “Jesus fucking -” Conall swore sharply, scrambling abruptly away from the edge, a hand outstretched to clutch at her arm and make sure she did the same.

Only he was too late - found his hand grasping at empty air - because the nurse had evidently not been so lucky, and had instead disappeared from view. Heart thundering in his chest, Conall lurched forwards again to scan over the side of the ship. “Fairchild?!” He called, still trying to spot her even as he fumbled in haste for his wand in his pocket, and, with his other hand, already started tugging the end of a coiled line into his grasp instead.


#7
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For all that she had ever heard about the ocean being a soothing thing no sooner had Temperance breeched it’s waves that she immediately began to panic. No occasion in her life had equipped her for actually being in the sea and she sank like the proverbial lead balloon for a few seconds as surprise rendered her immobile.

The unexpected though was no match for her iron will in the face of logic and reason – by the laws of both she ought to drown but instead, despite having no reason to do so beyond divine intervention, she kicked her legs, flailed her arms and somehow found air again.

It was only a brief respite.

She tried to blink the salt from her eyes, gulped air like a madwoman and managed to gasp out “can’t…swim...” before her strength gave out and she sank again, heavier this time now that her dress was truly soaked, and in the midst of her panic she wondered whether this had been the Lord’s intent all along.

Was it truly his will that she would die without a single one of her loved ones nearby?


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