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The True Confessions of Raymond Doyle, 1/3

Title: The True Confessions of Raymond Doyle, or, Sea-I5
Author: Sarah K/tears_of_nienna
Artist/Vidder: Gvenanne
Genre: AU, historical, slash
Pairing: Bodie/Doyle
Word Count: 30,400
Warnings: Temporary character death.
Summary: When Raymond Doyle boards a merchant ship to America, he expects a tedious but uneventful journey. He does not expect mutiny, murder, and the likes of William Bodie. When desperation drives Doyle to join the crew, he finds that a sailor's life suits him well, but there are enemies on board who will do all they can to see him fail.

Thanks: To gvenanne--what amazing, gorgeous, incredible artwork. I am still atwitter every time I look at her pieces. From the front cover to the back and everything in between--thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To squeeful for endless encouragement and historical fashion advice--any remaining errors are my own.

Notes: Based shamelessly on The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi. I'm pretty sure this one's in no danger of winning a Newbery Honor, though.

A brief explanation of ship's time, including the watches, can be found here.




Brig at dock with furled sails and passenger approaching.



Raymond Doyle arrived at the Liverpool docks late in the evening. The summer sunset gilded the masts of the ships that crowded the dock, glittering on the wide sea beyond, and Doyle wondered how he would ever find a single ship amidst all this chaos.

A porter seemed to appear out of nowhere, hoisting Doyle's trunk easily onto his shoulder. "Where to, guv?"

"A brig called the Seahawk. Its berth should be along--"

But before Doyle could finish the sentence, the porter swung the trunk down with a fearful crack and fled.

Doyle stared after him, perplexed and irritated. He needed to reach the Seahawk before dark, and he'd be damned before he'd throw the trunk over his shoulder and carry it himself.

He flagged down a passing porter. "Two shillings if you'll carry this for me," he said.

The porter eyed the trunk. "Where d'you want it?"

"Along the way here," Doyle said, wondering if the Seahawk was moored at the far end of the dock. The porter hefted the trunk onto his shoulder and followed Doyle as he peered at the painted names on the ships.

It was the figurehead of the Seahawk that caught his attention, rather than the name on the hull. In the twilight, the stretched wings and open beak of the gull made it look brutal, almost demonic. Doyle allowed himself a moment of morbid fascination, hoping that the eerie figurehead was not an omen of the journey to come.

Yet he could hardly turn back now. He had let his father's house to a young family from Kent, after all; he had no home to which he could return. And then there was Ann. She was waiting at the journey's end, and so he would make the crossing for her. Her father's company owned the Seahawk itself, and so it was only sensible that Doyle should book a passage on it. Perhaps it would make Mr Holly warm to him somewhat--Doyle knew that he needed every ounce of goodwill he could gain.

Movement near the bow distracted him from the striking figurehead. A man was climbing a rope up the side of the ship, despite the fading light. It seemed odd that he should be working so late in the day, but if the ship was to leave in the morning, everything must be prepared by then, no matter how late the hour.

"This is the ship," he told the porter. The man took a single glance at the figurehead and threw down the trunk in the same manner as the previous porter. He hurried off into the teeming dock without waiting for Doyle's payment.

A bearded man in a sailor's rough clothes came down the ramp to meet him. He mumbled an introduction and hefted Doyle's trunk easily to lead him on board.

At the top of the ramp, he was met by a second man, in considerably finer clothing than the first. He offered Doyle a short bow. "Captain James Keller, at your service," he said. "Are you our Mr Doyle?"

"Yes, sir."

"It is good to have you aboard in such a timely fashion. I am afraid that our other passengers will not be joining us. They have sent word that they are unavoidably detained in London."

"A pity," Doyle said without much regret. He had known that the Seahawk boasted three other cabins for passengers, but he had not known any of the others who were to make the crossing. He did not think he would miss their society overmuch.

"Matheson will show you to your cabin," Keller said, gesturing to the sailor who still bore Doyle's trunk. "I am afraid that the preparations for departure require my attention, but if there is anything that you need, Mr Doyle, please do not hesitate to ask it of the crew."

"Thank you, sir." He wished Keller a good night and then followed Matheson down a short flight of stairs into his cabin. The ceiling of the tiny room was too low for Doyle to stand upright, and the single salt-crusted porthole admitted only a dim light.

There was no question of fitting the trunk inside the tiny cabin. "I'll take it to top cargo, sir," Matheson murmured.

Doyle nodded as though he understood, hoping that he would have some opportunity to inquire of the captain exactly where and what top cargo was.

He sat down on the narrow shelf of a bed, wondering how on earth Mr Holly could charge six pounds for such a berth. He looked up to find Matheson still standing in his doorway. He had taken his shapeless sailor's cap from his head, and he was twisting it anxiously in his hands. "Mr Doyle, you might think about taking another ship."

"I beg your pardon?"

"You don't want to be here," he said baldly. "Not on this ship, not this voyage. You should find passage some other way."

Doyle eyed him suspiciously, taken aback. "I've paid for the berth already. The owner of the fleet is known to me, and I'm sure he'd not be pleased to find that you've been attempting to send passengers away."

The vague threat seemed to cow Matheson, who simply scooped up the trunk again and scurried away down the corridor.

Doyle closed the door, plunging himself into utter darkness, and tripped across the tiny room back to the bed. He sat down again, turning Matheson's warning over in his mind. Why should he want Doyle to leave? Was it a premonition of disaster? Perhaps Matheson was a superstitious sort. Or perhaps he simply did not want the inconvenience of having a passenger underfoot.

A knock sounded on the door, and Doyle sighed as he rose to answer it. If it were Matheson again, come to warn him away, Doyle would have words with the captain about it.

But the sailor at the door was not Matheson. He was slightly taller than Doyle, with broad shoulders and close-cropped dark hair. He hadn't brought a lantern, and the waning light made anything else difficult to discern.

"I'm Bodie," the sailor said.

"Raymond Doyle. Have you come to try and warn me off as well?" Doyle asked dryly.

"Not at all," he replied. "I only thought I'd stop to greet to our only passenger. And I've brought a gift, as well." He held out a cloth bundle. "You'll ruin your things, you know, if you wear them on deck. They'll fade in the salt and the sun."

"Should I shut myself in belowdecks, then?" he said, faintly proud of knowing the proper term. "Or just go naked when I'm on deck?"

Bodie chuckled. "If you want to roast your bollocks, that's your choice. We've spare clothes that would fit you--sailor's things."

Doyle hesitated. "I--"

"Not quite ready to give up the trappings of civilization yet, eh?" Bodie asked with a grin that was visible even in the near-darkness. "I'll leave 'em here with you, then, in case you change your mind."

Doyle accepted the pile of rough cloth, and found that it felt strangely heavy. He unfolded the shirt and trousers to find a bone-handled knife in a leather sheath, hidden in a pocket of the trousers. "What on earth--?"

Bodie paused in the act of turning away.


Bodie paused in the act of turning away; clearly he hadn't meant for Doyle to find the knife until after he'd left. "You don't carry a knife, do you?"

"No. Why would I?"

"It can't hurt, you know. Can be...useful, on board a ship."

Useful for what? Doyle wanted to ask, but by the time the words were on his lips, Bodie had vanished up onto the deck.

Doyle laid the clothes aside and thrust the sheathed dagger under the thin mattress of his bed. He didn't like the idea of carrying it with him, but he wasn't sure what else he ought to do with it. It seemed rude to throw it overboard, after all, as it had been a sort of gift.

He lay down on the bed and, quite unexpectedly, fell instantly asleep.

* * *


Doyle woke the next morning to a rise and fall of the ship that could only mean they were underway. He took the knife from beneath the mattress and pulled it from its sheath. The handle was polished bone, with a star carved into the hilt, and the blade was keen, six inches long or more. It was a good knife, he could see that, but to accept such a gift from a stranger seemed improper.

He would have to return it to Mr Bodie; he should never have accepted it in the first place. The exhaustion of the long journey to Liverpool had certainly clouded his judgment, and he would have to set matters right immediately. Slipping the knife into his pocket, he rose and left the cabin.

The passage was dim, though it was well past dawn. Instead of making his way up to the deck, he explored the opposite direction. At the end of the corridor was a doorway that led to the galley.

The galley itself was occupied by just the person Doyle had set out to find.

"Mr Bodie?" he asked.

Bodie jumped and nearly dropped the paring knife in his hand. "Christ, mate, don't sneak up on me when I've a bloody great knife in my--" He turned and saw Doyle in the doorway. "Beg your pardon, Mr Doyle," he said, laying the knife aside. "I thought you were one of the crew."

"I did not mean to startle you," Doyle said apologetically. "I only...I wondered if there might be tea." Tea would make the awkward conversation easier.

Bodie grinned, and Doyle realised that he was a very handsome man. His eyes were a dark blue in the lamplight, his well-formed mouth tipped up in a smile. Doyle looked away before his scrutiny could become obvious.

"Aye, there's tea," Bodie said. "Sit down, and I'll make some." He filled a kettle with water from a barrel, then set it on a wood-stove to warm. They did not speak as the water rose to a boil. Bodie lifted the kettle off the stove and poured steaming water over the leaves he'd dropped into a pair of chipped teacups. He set one cup in front of Doyle and the other opposite himself, then took down a tin of biscuits from a high shelf and offered one to Doyle.

"Dip it in the tea first, or you're like to break a tooth," Bodie warned him. "There's a reason it's called hardtack."

Doyle found that, after a few moments' soak in the tea, the biscuit became edible, if not very appetising. He finished it and stared down at the remnants of his tea, wondering how best to broach the topic on his mind. "Mr Bodie..."

"Just Bodie, please."

"Mister Bodie," Doyle repeated, quietly but firmly. "I have come to return the knife that you gave me." He drew the sheathed blade from his pocket, but Bodie held up a forestalling hand.

"It's called a dirk, that sort of knife, and I'd like you to keep it. The seas can be rough in more ways than one."

"Storms? Or are you speaking of something else?"

"Mr Doyle, the laws of England--or America, if you like--have no place on board a ship. The captain is a law unto himself, and punishments are swift and harsh." He paused and took a sip of his cooling tea. "No captain I've ever sailed under has been as harsh as Keller."

"Surely he cannot be so bad?"

"Not so bad?" Bodie lowered his voice and leaned forward, as though afraid to be overheard. "I sailed with him once before, nearly four years ago now. Our navigator's measurements were a degree off, and the ship lost perhaps a day before the error was discovered and corrected. Now, it was the man's fault, and another captain might have docked his pay for the error. A stern captain would order five or ten lashes. But Keller said that the man clearly had no use for both his eyes...and so he took one. Put it out with the tip of the man's own knife."

Doyle winced.

"The rest of the crew may have other tales, and perhaps not all are as true as this. But I swear it on my life, Mr Doyle. Keller took that man's eye--and I have no doubt he'd take more, if he felt the infraction great enough."

"Forgive me, but...why would you sign on with him again, if he is so harsh?"

Bodie chuckled. "Because starvation is a harsher captain still," he said ruefully.

"Oh, blast," Doyle swore, his face growing hot with shame. "I am sorry, that was abominably rude of me. Pray forgive me; I should not have asked."

Bodie looked up again. "On the contrary. It is refreshing, to find a fellow willing to speak his thoughts. It no doubt seems strange to you that a man would sail under a captain with such a history, but we all have our reasons, Mr Doyle. Jax, for example--" Bodie paused and looked up sharply at the door behind Doyle's back. "Anson."

Doyle turned and found the first mate standing in the low doorway; he wondered how much of the conversation the man had overheard.

"Captain Keller has invited Mr Doyle to tea."

Doyle eyed his empty teacup with amusement. "One can never have too much tea, I suppose." He nodded to Bodie and, after a second's hesitation, picked up the knife and tucked it into the pocket of his trousers, where the bone handle was hidden by the fall of his coat. Bodie gave him a small, warm smile, and Doyle turned away to follow Anson up to the deck.

Anson knocked on the door to the captain's cabin and waited for a response from within.

"Come in," Keller called.

Anson opened the door and let Doyle step inside.

"Thank you, Anson," Keller said without looking up from the map he was examining. "That will be all."

Anson nodded and closed the door as he left. Doyle looked about the cabin, and was somewhat reassured after the rustic quality of the galley.

The captain seemed a civilised man, and his quarters reflected his gentility. The furniture was fine, the tea service silver, and the walls were graced with several fine portraits. The floor was laid with a thick Turkish rug. If not for the rolling of the floor beneath them, Doyle might well have forgot that they were at sea.

"Please, Mr Doyle, have a seat," Keller offered. "Tea?"

"Yes, please."

Keller poured the tea, then offered him the sugar-bowl. Cheered--for there had been no such amenities when he had taken tea with Bodie--Doyle spooned a restrained amount into his tea, then sipped it as it cooled.

"How do you find your first day at sea, Mr Doyle?"

"Well enough," Doyle said cautiously.

"The winds are light today; you may feel differently when they freshen," he warned.

Doyle nodded. He hoped he'd not mortify himself by spending half the voyage seasick.

"Have you spoken at all with the sailors?" Keller asked. "They are rough men, of course, and not precisely suitable company for a gentleman. But as I will not always be able to take tea with you, you may wish to avail yourself of their company."

"I have hardly had time to speak with them," Doyle said. He hesitated, and then forged ahead. "But--one of them offered me a knife, a dirk, when I came aboard. He said it might be useful."

The captain frowned, and his green eyes turned hard. "Which sailor was this? Do you know?"

"I...I fear I am not sure," he lied, though he was not quite prepared to give credence to Bodie's story about the half-blinded sailor. "There was no lamp, you see, and the journey had wearied me."

"He should not have presumed to do such a thing," Keller said. "Yet he was right--a knife can be useful, even to a passenger. Did you take it from him?"

Doyle nodded. "It seemed rude to refuse."

"Very well. Keep it in your quarters, then, if you don't like carrying it. Under the mattress, perhaps."

Doyle hid a small smile, amused that the captain's thinking so nearly paralleled his own. "Yes, sir. I shall certainly keep it there."

Keller took a sip of his tea, and then set the cup down and leaned forward. "I did not ask you to tea without purpose, of course. I wanted to request your assistance on a very minor matter."

"I should be glad to help," Doyle said.

Keller drew a sheet of paper from beneath the map and held it out. "Tell me, Mr Doyle. Have you seen such as this before?"

Doyle took the sheet of paper and examined it. At the bottom of the page were two circles, one drawn inside the other, and within the ring they formed were scribbled signatures. "No," he said at last. "What is its purpose?"

"It is a round-robin," Keller said, distaste evident in his voice. "Often used by men preparing to mutiny. The circle is used so that no man's name appears on top--so no one may know who was the first to sign."

Doyle frowned. "That seems like cowardice," he said.

"Ah, but mutineers are by nature cowardly," Captain Keller said, rolling the paper up and stowing it in a cabinet. "If you should ever see such as this, on board the ship, you will tell me?"

"Of course," he said swiftly. After all, mutineers could hardly be trusted not to kill him as well as the captain should they succeed in capturing the ship. But he could hardly believe that a man like Bodie would allow--

Doyle quashed the thought swiftly. He did not know Bodie--though he certainly might like to know him, in a number of different ways--and so there was nothing to be gained from supposing he would or would not participate in a mutiny.

"It will not, I believe, come to this," Keller said reassuringly, "but to be prepared may save much grief in the end. --Come, let us take a walk along the deck."

Doyle was startled by the sudden change of subject, but he gladly followed the captain onto the deck. The sea was green-grey and calm; the sails hung half-empty from their masts.

Keller approached Anson, who was standing near the bow of the ship. "Mr Doyle, you have met our first mate, I believe, but I fear you have not been properly introduced. This is Mr Anson. Anson, Mr Doyle."

Anson tugged at his cap. "Pleased to make your acquaintance," he said.

"Mr Anson," Keller announced, "I feel we shall soon have a blow."

"Do you, sir?" he asked, his surprise not entirely concealed.

"I do indeed. Call all hands."

Anson moved to a large bell that hung near the railing, and gave three sharp pulls on the cord. "All hands! All hands!" he shouted.

Within a minute or two, the entire crew had appeared on deck. Keller proceeded to shout orders to them, sending them scurrying about the deck or climbing up into the rigging to let out the sails. More than once the captain cursed or berated a sailor for some fault that Doyle could not begin to fathom. He began to feel that the whole commotion was a pageant put on for his benefit, a charade intended to demonstrate Keller's control over his crew.

As though sensing Doyle's suspicion, the captain offered an explanation for his apparent harshness. "Sailors are, by nature, a lazy breed, and require a strong hand to guide them and set them to their work."

"I see." Doyle remembered Bodie's story and refrained from making any further comment.

Shortly thereafter, the sails being arranged to the captain's content, Keller turned to Doyle once more. "Pray excuse me, Mr Doyle, but I have business to which I must attend. If there is anything you require, do not hesitate to seek me out, or to have one of the sailors do as you require. Good afternoon." With a short bow, Keller strode off along the deck, and Doyle returned to his cabin below.

* * *


By the next morning, the constant rolling of the sea had increased. The ship rose on swells and plunged into deep troughs, and Doyle began to feel faintly uneasy. He thought the fresh air of the deck might do him good. He emerged from the cabin, congratulating himself on remaining upright on the shifting deck. Then the Seahawk rolled on a swell, and he barely stumbled to the rail before retching over the side of the ship.

A cheer went up from the deck behind him, accompanied by various groans, jeers, and a shout or two of victory. Doyle felt his face burn. Of course, they'd laid money on whether--or more likely when--their passenger would be sick.

A warm hand steadied his shoulder, and he looked up to see Bodie standing beside him. "Easy, Mr Doyle. It'll pass."

"How many weeks to port, again?" he asked weakly.

"It won't take that long. You'll get your sea-legs soon enough."

"Why the kindness?" Doyle mumbled. "Did you win the bet, then?"

Bodie chuckled. "No, my money was on the second dog watch--yesterday. Proved me wrong, you did."

"Then why bother coming over here?" Doyle said, his stomach still threatening mutiny. "I fear I'm hardly fit company, at the moment."

Bodie was silent for a moment, as though he hadn't thought about why he'd come. In the end he just shrugged. "Every sailor needs a final friend, after all."

"Final friend?"

Bodie grinned. "When a sailor dies at sea, he's buried there, sewn up in his hammock. A 'final friend' is the one who does the sewing for him."

"How cheerful," Doyle said dryly. "And if a passenger dies?"

"I suppose we'd have to use your bedsheets. I'll do the sewing, if you like."

The absurdity of it all was such that Doyle had to laugh. "All right, then." He stepped away from the rail, and his legs tried to give out from beneath him. Bodie caught him with an arm around his waist. One broad hand curled around his hipbone, and Doyle fought against a stirring that did not emanate from his rebellious stomach.

He slipped away from Bodie, leaning again on the rail. He would make it back to his cabin if he had to crawl, and he'd do it unaided.

"Stubborn bastard," Doyle heard him mutter, but when he turned back Bodie was already up in the rigging.

* * *


The next two days passed in an ugly blur, with bouts of retching followed by a sleep so deep it might almost be called a swoon. Twice Doyle awoke to find a cup of tea and a biscuit set just inside the door; though he appreciated the kindness, he could not keep even the tea in his unsettled stomach.

But Bodie had promised that the seasickness would pass, and as the second day dimmed into evening Doyle found himself truly hungry for the first time since the journey began. By the next afternoon, he was striding along the deck with ease, if not with the grace he usually had on land.

"You're looking better, Mr Doyle," Bodie said, dropping the last few feet down from the mainmast's rigging.

Doyle sighed. "Just Doyle, please," he said. "I fear the formalities will grow tiresome over the next weeks."

"Doyle, then," Bodie said with a smile. "How are you feeling?"

"Better, thank you. Though I would still be happier on shore, I fear."

He laughed and leaned on the railing, looking out over the rolling sea. "So what brings you across the sea, Doyle? A passing fancy?"

"There's--a woman," he said. It sounded like a weak reason, even to his own ears.

"Must be a fine one, to be worth making the crossing for her."

"She is. Too fine for me, but..." He shrugged.

Bodie raised an eyebrow. "Rich, is she?"

"Some might say so, but were she penniless I would care for her no less," Doyle said stiffly. The Doyle family had more prestige than pounds, and he was well aware of the whispers among society and scullery maids alike. But Ann's fortune was not why he cared for her, and indeed if she had no money at all, he was certain he would love her the same.

He consoled himself with the knowledge that no one could say he was courting her for her title. In America, after all, there would be no such things.

"Are you engaged, then?" Bodie asked. "May I wish you joy?"

"Not in such terms. We thought it would be better to wait until we were both settled in the same country, before...taking such a step."

"Very sensible," Bodie said, and Doyle frowned.

"You are mocking me."

"Not at all. It just seems a bit reserved, that's all. I thought young lovers were meant to be all recklessness and passion."

Doyle shrugged. "It would do neither of us any good to have our emotions run ahead of our arrangements, would it?"

"I suppose not." Bodie looked out at the sea, and Doyle was on the point of leaving when Bodie's face lit with a sudden grin. He pointed down at the waves below. "Dolphins," he said.

Doyle leaned forward as much as he dared, and saw sleek silvery shapes moving just beneath the surface of the water, keeping pace with the Seahawk as she raced over the waves. As he watched, one of the dolphins leapt out of the water, its body curved in a graceful arc as it dipped back down into the waves.

"They like to swim alongside a ship--said to be an omen for a smooth crossing."

"Let us hope so," Doyle said quietly.

"Yes," Bodie said, his voice just as soft. "One can always hope."



That evening, Doyle dined with the off-watch members of the crew. Bodie, to his unexpected regret, was not among them. Then again, he supposed that Bodie had to sleep sometime.

The meal was of plain fare, salt pork and hardtack, but the tea was fine. Doyle came to regret that when the pot ran out.

"We need more tea," he announced, looking expectantly about the galley. His eyes settled, to his eventual shame, on Jax, who eyed him evenly and made no move to fill the teapot.

Murphy broke in before they could say anything else. "Mr Doyle, on board this ship we are all equals. No one serves any other--regardless of colour--save that we all serve the captain. If there is something you need, you'd best fetch it for yourself."

Doyle felt his face burn and wondered if he would ever stop making a fool of himself in front of the sailors. "I am sorry, I did not mean to--"

Jax shrugged. "No need to apologise. There's water heating on the stove, and tea leaves in a tin in the cupboard."

"Very well." Doyle rose from the table and scooped up the teapot, managing to make a new pot of tea without disaster. He set it back down on the table and sat down without a word, and without even daring to fill his cup.

Jax reached for the teapot and poured his own cup. He took an experimental sip. "Not bad, for a novice," he said cheerfully, and Doyle knew that no lasting harm had been done.

After the meal, Doyle returned to his cabin. The flickering light of the lamp he had brought made it impossible to read, and he was not yet tired enough for sleep. The cabin's stuffy warmth grew rapidly unbearable, until at last he and went out to see if there might be a breeze on deck.

The air above was just faintly cooler than the stale heat of the cabin, but there was no wind to stir it. He stood by the rail, hoping for a cool burst of sea-spray, and happened to look up at the sky.

He could not stifle a gasp at the sight. Not in all his life had he seen so many stars, and so bright. He knew a few constellations--Orion, the Plough, Ursa Major and Minor--but so thick were the stars that he could not make out their familiar shapes.

"A good sailor doesn't need anything more than this to guide him home," said a voice at his shoulder.

Doyle started and half-turned to find Bodie standing beside him. "Do you never sleep?" he asked, more sharply than he'd meant to.

"The watches change--we all take turns on the night watch. And I might ask the same of you, you know."

"It was too hot belowdecks. I hoped there might be a breeze."

"There is--but you'd have to go aloft to find it," Bodie said, nodding up towards the mast.

Indeed, the sails were full, but Doyle shuddered at the thought of climbing to such a height. "I think not," he said.

"Not fond of heights?"

"Not a bit."

"It's not so bad once you're used to it."

"I imagine I'd fall from the rigging before I had the opportunity to grow accustomed."

Bodie gave him a measuring look. "I think you might surprise yourself."

Doyle flushed under the scrutiny, thankful that the darkness hid his reaction. "I doubt it."

"Go on--just up to the first spar."

Doyle examined the ratlines that led up the mainmast. The first spar was barely ten feet above the deck, and the sea was calm enough. Perhaps...

He stepped away from the rail and stood looking up at the ropes. He grasped one experimentally, then hauled himself up a single rung. He turned to look at Bodie over his shoulder; in the dim light, his expression was unreadable.

"If I fall..."

"I'll be here."

"Watching and laughing, I expect." Doyle reached up to the next rung. His hair stirred in a faint breeze. Ten feet--well, it wasn't so far, was it? Hand over hand, he climbed up until he could rest his arms on the lowest spar.

It was cooler, even though he'd not climbed far. But he would not be sorry to feel the deck beneath his feet again, all the same.

Of course, he had not reckoned on the difficulty of climbing down. In the darkness he had to feel for each line below, to catch it with his foot before he could lower himself. It took more than twice as long as the ascent, but Bodie was still waiting for him below.

He made it to the second-last rope unscathed. Grown overconfident with his success, he dropped down to the last rope with less care than before. The heel of his boot caught in the line, and he fell backwards.

Bodie caught him before he could hit the deck, one arm wrapped around Doyle's shoulders. For a heartbeat Doyle could only look up at Bodie's face, very close to his.

Coming back to himself, he looked away and scrambled upright, desperate to put a few inches of space between them.

"Not a bad start," Bodie said lightly. "We could make a sailor out of you yet."

Doyle laughed weakly, still shaken by the rush of landing in Bodie's arms. He cursed himself for a fool and said good night. The cabin below may have been uncomfortable, but he was beginning to feel that it was far safer than standing on the deck with Bodie.

* * *


Doyle was very well aware of the dangers of allowing himself to grow too fond of Bodie. But avoiding him, he realised, would prove difficult indeed on so small a ship. The only place where he could be certain not to meet Bodie was within the cramped, hot confines of his cabin, and so it was there he must remain.

His resolution lasted a single day. He ate in the galley at odd hours, when he was unlikely to encounter the crew, and when he finished he returned immediately to his cabin. By the following morning, he felt that to remain belowdecks for another bell would drive him mad. If he saw Bodie, what of it? He did not have to speak to the man, after all.

Doyle emerged from his cabin with a book in hand, aiming to find some quiet place where he'd not be in the way. Immediately his eyes lit on Bodie, where he sat on a crate near the rail with a salt-stained, sun-faded copy of Keats' Endymion open in one hand.

Doyle's heart sank even as his spirits rose--he knew that his plans to avoid Bodie had been entirely in vain.

Bodie looked up and caught Doyle watching him. "Surprised?"

"A bit," he admitted.

"That I can read, or that I'd choose to?"

Doyle grinned. "Perhaps both. I had thought you'd take your off-watch to sleep."

"No, I much prefer to sleep while I'm on watch," Bodie said dryly.

"May I join you, then? --I mean here, reading, not sleeping, I..." Doyle trailed off uncomfortably.

Bodie took no apparent notice of his embarrassment and nudged an upturned crate in Doyle's direction. Doyle sat beside him, intending to speak no more.

"What have you got, then?" Bodie asked, peering at the spine of Doyle's book. He rolled his eyes. "Christ. Setting out to sea, and he's reading the Odyssey--and in Greek, no less. Are you asking for disaster, sunshine?"

"I thought I might like to know what to do, if we should meet a Cyclops," Doyle said, wondering what use a sailor would have for ancient Greek.

"What we do is feed you to him, and then sail off while he's distracted."

"I see. Well, in that case, I suppose I needn't have bothered. And anyway, it could be worse--I could have brought Barrow's book on the Bounty mutiny."

"Yes," Bodie said, a frown crossing his face. "I suppose so."

After a while, McKay came out to sit with them, a pile of mending in hand, and engaged Bodie in a conversation about the winds and the course, laying various wagers over how soon they were likely to make port in Massachusetts. Doyle went back to his Odyssey.

When he glanced up again, Bodie was leaning back against the rail, his eyes closed, and Doyle thought he might really have fallen asleep. But a few moments later he began to sing in a warm voice, as though to himself, a song that sounded like a dirge. Doyle let the book fall closed in his hands, squinting against the sun and letting the sound wash over him.

Then he caught a few of the words and realised that, though the tune was melancholy, the lyrics were perhaps the bawdiest Doyle had ever heard. He turned to stare at Bodie, and found Bodie watching him, grinning as he carried the song to its conclusion.

Doyle smiled back. Had he ever thought he would be capable of keeping his distance from this man? Bodie opened his mouth--to speak or to launch into another song, Doyle didn't know--and was cut off by McKay.

"Damnation," McKay muttered, chucking a broken needle over the rail. He looked up. "Oi, Doyle, be a dear lad and fetch me another one, will you?"

"He's not your bloody cabin boy, McKay," Bodie said sharply.

"He's not yours, either."

Bodie's eyes narrowed, and Doyle spoke quickly to head off an argument. "I don't mind being useful."

"There are spares in my trunk," Bodie said. "Might as well bring the whole mending kit--no doubt it won't be the last one the oaf breaks."

Doyle had never ventured into the forecastle before--it was the realm of the sailors alone, and not even the captain was welcome there. He knocked at the door, and was met with the sounds of shuffling and scraping and slamming trunks. Jax opened the door and stood there, blocking the room from view. "Can I help you, Mr Doyle?" he asked, his voice flat and cool.

"Bodie asked me to fetch a needle from his trunk."

Jax stood aside and nodded at a trunk in the corner. Doyle crossed the room and knelt next to it, finding it unlocked. Beneath a salt-worn shirt of dark blue lay a sewing kit, which Doyle scooped up.

He turned to take his leave, and he was nearly to the door when he caught sight of a sheet of paper, hastily stuffed into another sailor's open trunk. Drawn upon it were two circles, and within the ring were signatures.

Beside the scrap of paper lay a pistol.

He forced himself not to alter his pace, although he wanted to put as much distance between himself and the round-robin as possible. He turned and walked out of the forecastle into the blinding glare of sunlight. By the time he had crossed the deck to hand over the sewing kit, he was almost reeling.

"You all right, Doyle?" Bodie asked.

He blinked. "I...I hardly know. Might I have a word? Privately?"

McKay coughed. Bodie glared at him and stood up. "Of course," he said. "There's time left before the watches change."

Bodie led him down into the welcome darkness belowdecks. He hesitated at the galley, but there were voices from within, and Bodie passed by the doorway. He picked up a lantern and led Doyle down a short ladder to a hold. He stopped and set the lantern down, revealing a space crowded with barrels of rum and water and sacks of flour. Doyle frowned. "Where are we?"

"Top cargo," Bodie said. "Your trunk is somewhere hereabouts, I imagine."

Doyle could have done with a spare waistcoat, but now was hardly the time. He hesitated, unsure of what to say.

"Forgive me, but...is something wrong? Surely you're not seasick again?" Bodie's voice was light, but the look on his face belied the tone.

"I saw something in the forecastle."

Bodie winced. "Murphy and Jax, I suppose? I said once that the laws at sea are different. Sailors keep their behaviour to themselves, and we certainly cannot be hanging sailors mid-voyage for a bit of...well."

"It was not Murphy and Jax. Jax was the only one who spoke to me."

"Ah." Bodie looked vaguely embarrassed. "Then what...?"

"I saw a round-robin in one of the trunks."

Bodie sighed and sat down on a barrel, rubbing one hand over his face. "Bloody fools," he muttered. "For want of a damned needle..."

"You knew about this."

Bodie nodded.

"And you said nothing--to the captain, to the first mate?" To me? he nearly added.

Bodie looked away, and Doyle knew.

"You signed it, too."

"No," Bodie said calmly. "I wrote it."

For a moment Doyle could only stare at him. Then at last he found his voice. "Good God, Bodie, what can you mean by it? If you're not killed outright, then you will all be tried and hanged when we make port! What could possibly be worth that?"

"Keller has wronged us all," he said, his voice cold. "I told you about Franco, how Keller took his eye. The others have their own tales, as bad and worse. Scars, stories...Have you ever noticed that Matheson is missing his little finger?"

"I had not."

"He missed a call for all hands once, on a voyage to the West Indies. Keller made sure he would not miss one again. He's got quieter since then, too, Matheson has. And there are other things...Keller has lost six men in storms over the last two years."

"That seems unfortunate, but not a cause for mutiny."

"Consider that all six of those men had quarrelled with Keller in the course of their voyages. A man who falls overboard in rough seas can make no charges against his captain on shore, and no one will think to question the man's fate. A fall or a shove, it makes no matter."

"But you have no proof."

"Any proof we might have had is lying on the bottom of the sea. Every man of this crew has a grievance with Keller. We mean to see justice done."

"Justice," Doyle echoed. "Justice is done in court. This is revenge, Bodie."

He turned away and paced down the length of the hold before turning back. "And what justice would a sailor find in court, speaking against his captain? Do you imagine that we have never tried to bring Keller up on charges? Our cases were thrown out, on both sides of the Atlantic."

"And mutiny is an acceptable recourse?"

"What other recourse do we have? You believe in justice. When a man is denied that justice in the courts, what then can he do?"

"You are speaking of murder."

Bodie's glance turned almost pleading. "Perhaps not. If we could take Keller and hold him captive, then when we reach port you could speak to Mr Holly on our behalf."

Doyle laughed sharply. "I fear my word would do rather more harm than good. Mr Holly is not at all fond of me, and he would be inclined to doubt my word simply because it is mine." To say nothing of the fact that Doyle had as yet seen little proof of Keller's cruelty--he could not swear to the captain's past behaviour without perjuring himself.

"We are committed to this course," Bodie said, his voice soft. "If revenge is what you call it, then so be it. But you need not fear; I've had their word that you will not be harmed."

"Bodie, that is not why I--"

"Even if I withdrew my support, the others would continue, and I fear the bloodshed would be even greater. I could not promise that you--" He stopped abruptly and shook his head. "I must know, Doyle. Where do you stand?"

He sighed. "I am damned if I know," he said at last. It rather seemed he would be damned either way. If he allowed the mutiny to continue, then Keller's blood would be as much on his hands as the crew's. And if he sided with the captain, if he chose to betray the mutiny... Bodie could hardly allow him to walk into the captain's cabin and inform on the crew. Surely Bodie would not harm him, but at the very least Bodie would have to hide him away until the mutiny was done. Doyle had not seen the Seahawk's brig, nor had he any desire to explore it.

"You have my silence," he said.

"Do you swear?"

Doyle looked up to meet Bodie's eyes. "I swear it."

"Very well."

"When will it happen?"

"Tomorrow," Bodie said. "We cannot wait any longer. When the bell rings for the afternoon watch, stay in your cabin. I will fetch you...when it is over."

When Keller is dead. Doyle nodded.

"I'll be missed if I'm not up in the rigging soon. Remember, tomorrow at noon--do not leave your cabin, whatever you may hear."

"Yes. And Bodie?"

He turned back from the ladder. The lantern light glimmered in his eyes. "Aye?"

"I wish you luck."

A slow smile spread across Bodie's face, and then he was gone, up the ladder to the passage, leaving the lantern swinging abandoned on its hook.

Doyle blew out the candle and clambered awkwardly up the ladder in the dark. He had cast his lot now, and there was no choice left but to wait.

He only hoped he had chosen the right course.

* * *


That evening, midway through the second dog watch, there was a knock on the door of Doyle's cabin. He opened it to find Anson standing in the evening gloom, a lantern held aloft.

"If it please you, sir, the captain wishes to extend an invitation to tea."

Doyle hesitated on the verge of declining. It would be a simple enough thing to plead illness or exhaustion, and it would spare him the confusion of speaking with a man against whom he had all but conspired with the crew. Yet if he claimed ill health, the captain might pay a visit on the morrow, out of courtesy, and throw the whole plan out of order.

"Very well," Doyle said, and he followed Anson up the passage to the captain's cabin.

Determined to avoid any actions that might seem out of the ordinary, Doyle made only polite conversation about the good weather and the speed of their travel as Keller poured the tea.

"You are quiet," Keller observed. "I hope you are quite recovered from your seasickness?"

"I am well, thank you. Only a headache, from the sun on the sea."

"Ah, yes. In time you may become accustomed to it." Keller sat back with his teacup. "Tell me, Mr Doyle, have you read Barrow's book on the Bounty and her mutiny?"

Doyle took a slow sip of tea before replying. He set the cup back down on its saucer with steady hands. Keller could not know of the crew's plans--could he? "I am afraid not," he lied. "I much prefer classical works to sensational accounts of piracy."

"A pity. You might learn much of a sailor's mind from such a book."

"I am certain that is true."

Keller leaned back in his chair. "You see, Mr Doyle, the loyalties of any sailor are inevitably divided. While his primary duty is, of course, to the captain of his vessel, there is a natural affinity for one sailor to another. One does not wish to 'lose face' before his companions, and for some that desire nearly equals his awareness of his duty to the captain. And when one sailor's loyalty turns more to crew than to captain, then the trouble begins."

"But surely it would take more than one dissatisfied sailor to foment a mutiny?"

"Even an unlettered man may be surprisingly persuasive," Keller said. "And once the first man is won over to his cause, the rest will join him in a rush, like a mob in the street."

Doyle said nothing, cradling his cup of tea.

"It is a terrible thing, for men to upset the natural order so. Do you not agree?"

"Certainly."

"You may rest easy, of course," Keller said. "We are entirely proof against a mutiny, I assure you."

"Indeed? How so?"

Keller smiled and rose from the table. He lifted a portrait from the wall and revealed a key tucked behind the frame. "This key will open that cabinet in the corner," he said, gesturing towards a tall, carved cabinet that Doyle had not noticed before. "Inside are twelve muskets, loaded and primed to fire, and ten pistols as well."

Doyle thought of Bodie facing a line of Keller's muskets and struggled to keep his expression neutral. "Is that not...dangerous, sir?"

He waved a hand. "Not at all. The door to the cabin is locked at all times, and to be ready immediately may save the ship."

"You do not expect such trouble on this voyage, I hope?"

Keller's smile was thin. "I expect trouble whenever I sail. Thus, I am always prepared when it arrives."

Doyle scarcely knew what he said for the remainder of the tea. When he excused himself, he found that his headache was less a pretext than it had been when he arrived.

The night watch had begun by the time he reached his cabin, which meant that Bodie would be working. It would be hours yet until the midwatch began, when Bodie might be found in the galley. Doyle had to speak with him--Keller knew that something was amiss.

He waited until two bells into the midwatch, long enough that he would not seem to have been waiting for Bodie. He stepped out into the corridor and walked past the galley to the head, taking in the room's occupants in a glance. Bodie was not among them.

Doyle sighed and turned back for his cabin, only to find Bodie descending the wooden steps into the passage. Doyle caught his arm and pulled him aside, into one of the unused passenger cabins.

Bodie chuckled. "If you'd wanted to get me alone, mate, you only had to say."

"Keller has muskets," Doyle said softly, and the humour went out of Bodie's voice.

"How do you know?"

"I've seen where he keeps them, in a locked cabinet in his cabin. If he gets to them tomorrow..."

"We'll make sure he doesn't," Bodie said. "It will change nothing."

But Doyle could not feel at ease. "He spoke of mutinies, at tea today. I am afraid..." He sighed. "I am afraid, that is all."

Bodie laid a comforting hand on Doyle's arm. "There is nothing for you to fear. By this time tomorrow, it will all be ended."

The ship's bell rang again "I am not afraid for myself," Doyle muttered, but Bodie had already gone.

***

Doyle spent the next day in his cabin. The ceiling was too low for pacing, and he was forced to sit on the bed in the half-darkness of the room, waiting for each bell to pass. He wondered if he would hear it, when the crew took control, but all he heard throughout the forenoon watch was the creak of the masts and the snap of sails.

Just as the afternoon watch began, a knock sounded on the door. Doyle leapt up from the edge of the bed to unbar the door. "Bo--"

But it was not Bodie standing in the passageway. Keller stood before him with a pair of pistols thrust through his belt. Anson stood behind, with a musket in each hand.

"Mr Doyle," Keller said coolly. "You will come with me."

He pretended not to notice the pistols. "Pray excuse me, sir; I am indisposed."

Keller drew one of the pistols from his belt and cocked it, though he kept it aimed at the floor. "Then I am certain the fresh air on deck will do you good."

"Thank you, but I would sooner remain."

A flash of irritation crossed Keller's face. "Mr Doyle, this is not a request."

"No, it would appear to be a threat," Doyle said sharply, even as despair threatened to sink him. Had he given the whole plan away at tea the evening before?

"No, Mr Doyle, this is a threat." Keller raised the pistol until it was aimed squarely at Doyle's chest. "Now would you be so kind as to accompany me?"

The muzzle of the pistol looked large enough to swallow the world. Doyle took a deep breath and held his ground. The captain would not shoot an unarmed passenger, surely.

When Keller spoke, his tone was light. "It is a sad fact of seafaring, Mr Doyle, that one often encounters terrible storms in one's voyage. A careless sailor, or even a passenger, might easily slip over the deck, never to be seen again. Do you understand my meaning?"

Seeing no choice, Doyle stepped into the passage. Keller prodded him with the muzzle of the gun, guiding Doyle out onto the deck.

As soon as they emerged from the cabin, he knew that something was amiss. The sails hung limply from the masts, and nowhere was there a sailor to be seen.

The Seahawk was adrift.

"Mr Anson, call all hands," Keller said grimly.

The first mate shifted his weapons to one hand in order to ring the ship's bell, and for a moment Doyle thought that perhaps no one would answer; perhaps the crew had taken the jolly boats and deserted the ship entirely.

Then he heard footsteps pounding up the stairs.

Instead of emerging from the forecastle and standing ready to receive orders, the crew seemed to spill onto the deck from all quarters. Each was armed, some with swords, others with muskets fixed with rusted bayonets.

Bodie was one of the first to emerge, a pistol gripped in one strong hand. His face was grim, and he did not look Doyle in the eye.

Doyle considered the sailors who now formed a menacing ring around the three of them, and found there was a stranger among the crew. He frowned. Visitors did not simply come to call on a sailing vessel--he must have stowed away. The man held a long knife in one hand, and a leather patch covered his right eye.

This, then, was Franco, the man of whom Bodie had spoken, the man whose eye Keller had plucked out for poor navigation. He brandished the round-robin in his fist. "We are relieving you of your captaincy," he said with a heavy French accent. "You are not fit to captain a rowboat, let alone a fine brig like the Seahawk, and--"

The roar of the pistol left Doyle's ears ringing. Franco fell back to the deck, the knife tumbling from one limp hand. His good eye blinked once and then fell closed.

Bodie made a start for the dying man.

"Leave him be," Keller growled. He tossed the first pistol aside with a clatter and drew the second from his belt.

Bodie looked up, his eyes flat and cold, and he knelt deliberately by the fallen man's side. He laid down his pistol, took Franco's hand in his and felt for a pulse. "He's gone," Bodie said quietly.

"Throw him over."

Bodie glared.

"I said, throw him over. He was a stowaway, excess cargo, and he'll be disposed of as such."

Bodie rose slowly to his feet. "No," he said.

Keller raised the pistol to aim at Bodie's chest. Bodie stared him down, coldly and without fear. Keller shifted his aim and looked down at the body with contempt.

"Mr Anson," he said, gesturing to the body.

For the first time, Doyle saw the first mate hesitate to carry out the captain's orders.

"Mr Anson!" he repeated, more sharply.

Anson set his pistol along the rail and opened the gate. With distaste evident in his expression, he dragged Franco's body to the edge of the deck and pushed him over the side. The splash of the body hitting the water was nearly lost in the snap of the sails.

"Now lay down your arms," Keller said flatly. "Lay them down, God damn you all! I will have no disorder on my ship."

For a moment Doyle thought that they would open fire on the captain after all, and he hoped uncharitably that they would all aim true. But one by one, as Keller's loaded pistol pointed to each man in turn, they set down the arms that they had taken up. Bodie, who not picked up his pistol again, kicked the gun towards Anson as he approached. Anson gathered it up with the rest of the weapons and laid them aside.

"Now," Keller said coldly. "Our stowaway's presence was not authorised, and thus his death cannot suffice as a warning to the crew. Mr Doyle, will you do me the honour of choosing who shall be punished?"

He recoiled in horror. "Are you mad?"

"Very well," Keller snarled. He looked from Doyle to the crew, as though waiting for him to betray himself with a glance towards one sailor or another. Doyle kept his eyes on the blood that stained the deck, and he did not speak.

"Mr Bodie," Keller said at last, his voice dripping with cold amusement.

Doyle's stomach dropped, and he looked up to see Bodie step forward, his shoulders set.

"Have you anything to say for yourself, Mr Bodie?"

Bodie raised his head. "I've been at sea since I was a lad of twelve, and I've served a lot of captains in my time. But you, Keller--you were the worst. You have no pity, no mercy in your soul, and if you do not pay for it in this life then you surely will in the next."

Keller sneered at him. "Fine, empty words for a failed mutineer. String him up, Mr Anson. He's to have fifty lashes."

"Fifty?" Anson murmured, aghast.

"Are you questioning my order?"

"No, sir," Anson said. He stripped off Bodie's shirt and bound his wrists to a pair of ropes above his head.

Captain Keller disappeared into his cabin and emerged with a coiled whip. He passed the whip to Anson, who took hold of it with distaste and shook the coils out of it. The braided ends trailed over the deck like a serpent, and Anson raised his arm.

Doyle could keep silent no longer. "Captain, please, have mercy--"

Keller rounded on him with such rage that Doyle thought he'd be the next man strung for a lashing. "Mercy? Think you that they would have had any mercy, should they have succeeded? They would have murdered me, and likely you as well. Or perhaps they'd have kept you in the brig, a slave to their baser pleasures. No, Mr Doyle, I will give no quarter to those who would afford me none."

Doyle fell silent as Anson raised the whip again. He took a single stumbling step backwards, unwilling to bear the spectacle to ensue, but Keller heard.

"Mr Doyle, you will remain," he said coldly. "We must have a witness, after all."

Doyle flinched and turned aside as Anson snapped his wrist forward. When he dared to look again, he saw that the whip had raised red welts across Bodie's back. They were not bleeding yet, but Doyle could see that it would take only a few strokes more to break the skin.

A second stroke, and a third, and yet Keller was still not satisfied. "With spirit, Mr Anson!" he demanded.

But Anson quailed. "Sir, I--"

Keller growled and snatched the whip from Anson's hand. He flicked his wrist and sent the whip cracking through the air. More red lines appeared on Bodie's back, but these were deeper and began to bleed straightaway.

The whip cracked again, and again, and a slow dread began to build in the pit of Doyle's stomach. Already Bodie's back was torn and bloody, and he had not suffered ten strokes yet.

At the eleventh, he tried pleading once more. "Please, Captain--"

Keller ignored him and raised the whip again.

"For God's sake, you'll kill him!" Doyle said, reaching desperately for the whip. He caught it just above the grip and pulled. They struggled for control of the whip, and Keller struck out at him with a fist. Doyle raised his arm to defend himself, the whip still clutched in his hand, and one of the tarred tails lashed back to slice Keller's cheek.

A long red welt appeared, stretching from his hairline nearly to the edge of his nose. Blood began to drip from the cut.

Keller swore viciously and shoved Doyle aside. He crashed against the rail and slid to the deck, dazed by the impact. The whip remained in Keller's hand.

Now in a rage, Keller whipped Bodie mercilessly, and Doyle lost count of the sharp sound of the lashes as it competed with the high ringing in his ears. Finally the captain threw the whip down and stalked back to his cabin, his fury spent.

Bodie was sagging against the lines that held his wrists, and if there was any mercy in the world, he would be unconscious. The other sailors converged, Murphy leaping up into the rigging to cut the ropes holding Bodie, the others waiting below to catch him as he fell.

Doyle climbed unsteadily to his feet and took a step forward, as though to help, but the cold glares of the other sailors stopped him. No doubt they thought he had betrayed their plan to the captain, and indeed Keller had given them no indication otherwise.

Seeing no other choice, Doyle fled back to his cabin.

* * *


He did not leave his cabin for a full day. His head ached fiercely, and he would have welcomed a cup of tea, but he dared not set foot in the galley. He waited out the long night, too apprehensive to sleep. He had not chosen Bodie for the punishment himself, but Keller had certainly noticed the friendship between them, and he had found a way to hurt both of them at once. If Doyle had only kept his distance from Bodie, then Bodie might have been spared the pain.

At last he did emerge from his cabin, in the fading light of the sunset. He raised his head, determined not to let captain or crew stand in his way. He needed to make his apologies, and he needed to know that Bodie would be all right.

On deck, the crew were gathered along the rail, and a single voice was speaking low. Doyle wondered how they could dare to gather so openly, after the failed mutiny, but he saw Anson standing apart from the others, his hand resting on the butt of the pistol thrust through his belt. Doyle counted the sailors standing together, and came up one man short. But that made sense. Bodie was hurt, so he must have been belowdecks still--

Doyle saw the sewn-up hammock and froze.

When a sailor dies at sea...

He swayed on his feet, clutching at a line of rigging for support. Anson had thrown the stowaway's body over the side, so it couldn't be his hammock. And the only man missing was--no. He couldn't have died; surely his injuries hadn't been so terrible. Doyle counted the sailors again, hoping desperately that he'd been wrong, but the number was the same. One man short.

"Oh, God," he breathed. "Bodie."



Master Post | Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
May. 7th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Plagiarism of Charlotte Doyle
Looks great????!!! This IS Charlotte Doyle!!! Hello???? Can you say plagiarism!!!
tears_of_nienna
May. 7th, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Plagiarism of Charlotte Doyle
I believe I noted clearly at the beginning that the fic was based on the premise of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. It was written in homage to the original, and departs from it in a number of ways. It's no more plagiarism than something like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies--even less so, in fact, because the latter took direct chunks of text from the original, where this does not.

Thanks for your comment.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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