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CATHERINE CORIANDER

Putting his hand up at Cadog’s alcoholic offering, Burnet said, “Peace of mind is all we can hope for.” He didn’t directly respond to Cadog’s remarks, his mind going to Peppermint. He prayed for a world where she didn’t have to fight, but it was a small candle in the darkness. Today showed him that even if it wasn’t very likely, it was far from impossible. They’d been lucky, but they weren’t going to stay lucky in these turbulent times.

---

Shoes and socks squashing as she sloshed her way over to her family, Coriander greeted them with a casual wave.

“Coriander, where the hell have you been?” Marjoram blurted out.

“Language dear,” Hyssop whispered, Rue and Peppermint looking on with wide eyes.

Marjoram bit her lip. “Where the heck have you been? Did Burnet find you?”

“Oh gosh, is he still looking for me?” Coriander gasped as she sat down, removing some of her soaked overclothes. “I’m sorry, I feel asleep at the house!”

Marjoram gawked. “In this storm? You’re amazing, I swear.” Coriander gave a smile as she sheepishly patted the back of her head. “That wasn’t a compliment. And you’re soaked!”

“It’s coming down really hard out there! And I’m starving, what’s there to eat?”

“Ah.” Rue had her mouth open. “You’re crying!”

Coriander gave a blank look, before wiping at her face. “Really? I think it’s just the rain.” She didn’t invite any more suspicion after that. The next couple of hours were full of the light antics she’d always loved and some rather bland rations. And she didn’t want it any other day.
CATHERINE CORIANDER

Burnet slipped his hands into his pockets as Cadog joined his side, the two folks watching the Marines go to work. “Didn’t see him, so that probably means he did exactly what he was supposed to.” Letting out a low sigh, he admitted, “It’s been a while since I did anything resembling service, and I gotta say, I don’t miss it.”

---

The moment Haku’s hand touched her head, Coriander’s distress grew mingled with a fair does of shame. Part of it was from Haku taking some of the blame on himself for something he could not have known about or anticipated, but more than that her feelings were directed at herself. Haku wasn’t far of in age yet he was so strong while she was just a foolish child who gotten in over her head for reasons outside of her control. But she was safe now. She’d been saved. She had God, and Haku to thank for that. Crying was not the proper response.

Aggressively wiping her tears, she sniffled and choked it all back as best she could. Once she was mostly collected, she managed to blubber, “I was j-just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Starting to head to town hall, she had one last plea. “Can you keep quite about this? I don’t want anyone to worry.” She didn’t wait for an answer, she knew her family was worried, and it was up to him and his Marine unit to properly report anything they deemed. Even if it ended up just being for tonight, Coriander wanted it to be her secret. Entering through those large doors, she greeted the others with a smile on her face as the storm rumbled through the town, a roll of thunder echoing through.
CATHERINE CORIANDER

Coriander cowered as Horace and Haku scuffled. She’d seen blood before, but it had never been quite like this. With every push and pull of the battle she watched with wide eyes, wincing and flinching as it wore on, until Haku dealt the final blows and disabled the pirate. Binding him before tending to his own wound, Coriander looked between the two, a mixture of relief and dread filling her as she heard footsteps on the ship deck above.

As she was unbound, Haku asked if she was alright, cutting off her name. She gave a nod, words struggling to come to through her lips intact. At first she wondered why he changed the way he addressed her, then she began to wonder why she’d assumed it was Haku. There weren’t many other Marines that she knew of with a similar size and build, and no one in the village was close to her age. Even putting that aside, she knew the answer. It was hope. She wanted to be rescued, and Haku, as distant as he could seem with his innocent misunderstandings and occasionally dodgy answers, was the only one she could think of who could come for her, not that she’d known why. Her hands trembled as they started to leave. She was dry, and the coat was enough for the bowels of the ship. Even though she was as safe as she’d been in the last while, she as still afraid. Holding her hands to try and stop their shaking, she tried to keep her emotions at bay too. She was blessed to have been saved, no matter who or how it happened.

But they weren’t out of the storm yet. As they got close to the exit, the last of the pirates jumped them. Haku dove into the fray while Coriander ducked away, finding cover. She dared not even watch, hoping to be overlooked lest she become a nuisance. A gunshot rang out, matched with the splintering of wood. Coriander let out a shriek. It had already left her mouth when she realized it was a sound she made. Her vision faded, but as the sounds of battle quelled, she came to realize she’d only curled up and shut her eyes tight. It took Haku(?)’s hand on her shoulder to even realize that much. Standing, she nodded as she joined him in their continued escape, rushing down the gangplank and going into the forest. It was some time after they left that Burnet and the Marines would move in, arresting every last one of the Crumble Pirates. Burnet may not have understood what took them out, but they seemed to have a pretty good idea.

The next few minutes were a blur of rain soaked branches and glints of light in the drops. The rushing winds exhausted Coriander by the time the two of them made it back to Tune Town, the town hall building in sight as the storm started to reach its crescendo, light and motion visible through the windows. Turning to her savior, Coriander opened her mouth to offer thanks, but as relief seeped through her, that which she’d been holding back rushed forth. Tears starting to flow, she began to sob, struggling to control herself. Wailing, the first words to come out were not the thanks she knew was necessary, but a cry of, “I was s-so scared! I thought I'd never see anyone ever again!” Horace’s words rang out again. Though they had not come to fruition, they still made her heart ache.
CATHERINE CORIANDER

Lordian grit his teeth, the cries of his men audible above the winds. He himself had found his foot snagged in a grass woven snare not far from their boat. His caution had slowed his step, but he was not the only one running into trouble. While it had all the makings of a childish prank, it revealed one important fact: they’d been found. By who was the next question, and it wasn’t one Lordian had an answer for. They hadn’t even made it partway to the town: it was the Crumble Pirate’s biggest failure yet.

As Lordian pressed forward, the shouts subsided. “Men, on meh!” he cried several times against the wind, waiting for the follow up. Only one joined him, and the bearded man wasn’t one of his. Burnet moved forward, swinging his staff out. Lordian met it with his sword, the rain shuddering at the clash. Lordian balked, while Burnet remarked, “Oh, you must be the captain.”

Gritting his teeth, Lordian whipped a pistol out. Burnet twisted his arm, smacking the man in the wrist, weapon dropping from his grip. Lordian pulled back his weapon but Burnet stepped in, jabbing him with an elbow. Stumbling backwards, Lordian was doing all he could to gather his footing before Burnet stabbed his staff forward. He could feel a cracking sound throughout his body as some of his ribs went. He felt the ground leave him as he shot backwards, crashing into a tree. Weapons well out of reach, he tried to get up but his whole body roared against him. In seconds, Burnet had the butt of his quarterstaff against his throat. Scenes flashed through his mind. The flames, the screams, the blood; as his hometown, one not so different from this one, was destroyed. On a ship built from the remaining structures, they’d set out. They hadn’t gotten help when they needed it, so they elected never to help anyone but themselves. A snarled erupted from his throat. “We were onlehy tryin’ to live.”

Burnet rapped him on the head. He didn’t have anything to say back. He didn’t know the depths of the man’s pain he got a brief window into through his last expression before unconsciousness, he just knew that the people of this village were trying to do the very same thing.

---

Coriander only barely saw in through her tears, her attention grabbed when Horace yelled out in shot as a dart struck him in the neck. A flash struck him, tackling him to the ground. His sword clattered down, useless, while his other arm was trapped beneath his body. “Haku!” Coriander cried out, tears flowing.

“Bastard!” Horace cried out, mouth stretched as he pushed the word out with all his might, elongating it as long and loudly as possible. The men on deck stopped what they were doing, if not then they would right after when gunshots started to ring out. Horace had pulled the trigger on the gun stuck under his body, and blood spattered on the wood as a bullet tore through.
CATHERINE CORIANDER

The last dregs of light fading with dark clouds, elder Cicely struck down the names from his list of civilians as they shuffled into town hall. Inside, under lantern light, everyone shared from their bundles of food ensuring none were left hungry. Ryu Burnet kept watch, eyes and ears out for the more troublesome locals, and any navy men not where they were supposed to be. The first oddity of the night had already come, but Burnet was keeping it to himself. The second came when Hyssop voiced a concern to Cicely, about Coriander’s lack of presence.

“I’ll check it out,” Burnet promised, expecting her to be passed out at their house. Or less expected, and perhaps hoped. She had a penchant for getting into trouble, and the note he received was nudging him to keep on guard.

---

The general rumble on the boat began to quiet down as a dozen of the pirates has been sent off to Tune Town to pilfer. Those that remained struggled their way through the ramshackle repairs. Coriander, face pressed against the wall, meditated on the sounds of wind and rain, otherwise bored out of her mind in the nearly vacant cargo hold. The tall pirate Horace sat and busied himself with his armaments, ensuring each of them were worthy.

“You got a lot of heroes in that little town there?” Horace wondered. Coriander sat up, giving him a hard look, but didn’t answer. “Hey now, spilling blood randomly won’t get anyone anywhere. You’d rather lose a bit of food then a bit of life, no?”

Entertaining the thought, Coriander noted, “I know a 9 year old that could sink this ship with a punch of her little fist-”

Horace bust into a chortle. “You’ve got a cute sense of humor there. Shouldn’t you be more worried that no one’s coming to save you?”

Ignoring the crushing feeling in her chest, Coriander proclaimed, “...Then so be it.”

Horace let a dark grin take his face. “So, you’re fine with everyone here growing old, having kids, dying, without you being there to see any of it? Nah, that’d never happen. If not us then someone else. The East is full of lawless land: some pirate will do the job eventually. I guess what matters the most to you is if you get to see it or not.”

“It won’t happen!” Coriander said indignantly. But even as she argued, she felt a mist of tears edging her eyes.
CATHERINE CORIANDER

The rain had picked up with the wind, water hailing against the side of the Crumble Pirates vessel, the ship falling apart much like the fractured skull symbol they represented themselves with. Tensions were high as the crew spent their time eating plain, hastily cooked rice, making shoddy repairs, or arguing about their course of action. They had tucked away in a small harbor, just out of sight from much of the sea, but a cursory patrol would no doubt unveil them. Fear and anxiety were turning to anger, leading to a storm both inside and out.

Coriander had gathered at least some of that before she was shoved into a corner of the storage, hemp rope roughly tied around her, pinning her arms to her sides. Turning about, she kept a hard eye on the men, one of whom kept his gun trained on her, the other of which went away on his still damaged leg to find the captain. The tall one remained asked, “You’ve got a tough look on your face for a kid in over her head.”

Coriander huffed. “You’re the one who’s so afraid of a kid you need to keep a gun on her at all times.” The pirate bared his teeth, finger flexing towards the trigger. Coriander flinched, but he only lowered it, changing his grip so as to not risk firing it.

Some minutes later of complete silence, the captain arrive, his face gashed and covered in old scars, like small crevasses running across his face. Despite herself, Coriander felt her front fade away, fear coming to her eyes. Captain “Rustler” Lordian [7 million beri] opened his mouth. “Whos diss?” His lips made it a bit more difficult to talk, which diffused some of Coriander’s fear as he struggled through his own speech.

“Local. Bendy was scouting and she found him before I did. We know where the town is but it’s a walk away.”

“Shtroms comin’, we can take whhat we need while it’s goin’, then eshcape when it’s done.”

“What do we do with her then?”

Lordian looked into Coriander’s eyes, the girl tensing up. He shook his head, “Rathher not hurtt a woman of God, but she makes fer good a barganin’ schip.”

Coriander felt her brow furrow and unfurrowed. Her voice was soft. “What does God mean to you? Isn’t this storm a sign that things aren’t going your way?”

Eyes staring into Coriander’s, Lordian took a long, hard look. Turning away, he muttered, “Thas between me an Him.” The pirates moving a bit away from her, there was only one sentry posted. Otherwise, Coriander was left alone with only the sound of wind and rain beating down the hull of the ship.
CATHERINE CORIANDER


Clouds rolling overhead, Coriander and Haku returned to Tune Town, their lengthy walk concluding with the wind returning in full force. Shivering, Coriander said, “Th-thanks for joining me! I’ll make sure you guys see Peppermint before we go, bye!” Waving her hand, she ran off, returning home, the warmth in her face staving off the chill.

Busting in through her front door, she called, “I’m home!” No response. Poking around, there was neither hide nor hair of her parents or the kids. With a casual shrug, she whipped up some lunch, pan frying a leftover fish fillet alongside some greens, enjoying both with a nice amount of butter. Once the dishes were clean, she ended up nodding off on the living room sofa for...she wasn’t sure how long. It was darker when she awoke, the wind rattling the windows. Sucking her lips in, she was starting to understand something was not right. The storm had blown back in, or another one to take its place. Throwing on a heavy coat, she went outside, the gusts immediately chilling her. Starting for the town hall, she didn’t make it far before she heard a voice coming from the other direction

I can’t get out, I can’t call for help, the storm’s getting worse, I’m doomed I’m doomed I’m doomed...

There was only a moment of time Coriander spent processing, before she sprinted off in the direction of the voice, heading into the slightly denser spot of trees closer to the edge of town. The wind roaring through the branches made it seem like the whole forest was writhing in anticipation, but that didn’t keep Coriander back for a second. Someone needed help. It didn’t even cross her mind that she’d gone across such a distance that she shouldn’t have been able to hear anything, much less a voice.

She found a fallen tree, the trunk having crushed a man’s legs to the ground. They met eyes, Coriander panting heavily. It was only now that she started to doubt herself, for the man, visibly covered in a grime that rain or seawater couldn’t wash away, his clothing that of a seafarer, his jaw covered in unshaven facial hair, his face unrecognizable to Coriander, who’d know the people of this town for her whole life. And he was certainly no sailor, not of Captain Cadog’s ship, that was for sure.

“Is your leg broken?” Coriander called.

“H-how did you find me?”

“I heard you!” The man seemed visibly confused, but dropped it.

“I can’t get out.” He readjusted his posture. Something seemed to be underneath him. Coriander moved closer, the man shirking away. She tried to push the log, but to no avail. Collapsing back, she looked back to the man, seeing a collapsed bag of food: fruit, vegetables, bread… The man continued trying to hide it.

“Are you...stealing?” No response. “Where are you from?” Still nothing. “I can’t move this. I’m going to get help.” The man shuddered, grimacing, but he had no cards to play. There was a clicking sound, like a branch being snapped, but to Coriander it didn’t register. Turning about the head back to town, she saw another man standing about 3 meters away. He was taller, but no less unkempt and filthy. And while she hadn’t recognized the sound, she did recognized the flintlock pistol aimed her way, a chill running through her far deeper than the cold of the wind could ever cut.
RICO

”Ooooh this ain’t lookin’ good,” Wicc moaned.

“I’m not worried, so just keep back!” Rushing in first, Rico gave a high kick, smashing one guy in the jaw before he’d even moved. Rico paused, wondering, “Hey Wicc, buddy, how do you feel about all this violence?”

“Uh, well, while violence is ultimately unsustainable, body (individual) and bodies (societal) having their limits, the cycle of violence and hatred eternal, when it comes to self defense-”

Rico stopped from punching, the Good Vibes Pirates now having to step over the fallen bodies of their comrades. “Less words, magic man!”

“Get their asses!”

Rico grinned. Once again he kicked upward, but this time a firework shot up, dragging eyes along with it. Grabbing the nearest man by the collar, he twisted about, slamming him into the next group while they were distracted. Way between him and Desprit clear, he raised his arm, the wrist morphing into a round opening. Mortar firing off, round fireworks sizzled out, crackling through the air and bursting in balls of sparks and smoke. Tranquil Dilong! The pirates ducked for cover, Desprit rolling to the ground to quash a few small flames.

“The heck’s tranquil about that!?” Wicc cried, the man covering his ears as he backed off.

Despirt started to clamor to his feet, but Rico was upon him, grabbing him by the collar and headbutting him, the man’s nose running red. “We done here?” he shouted to the stunned captain.

“My nnnosh wat dit you do to my nosssh!” he whined. Rico released him, letting him fall. The pirates pulled their attention away from Rico. Adjusting his coat, he grabbed his sign. “Let’s get, Wicc.”

As the two left, Rico could hear the remaining crew. “Hey captain, stop crying, it’s bringing the vibe down!”

“Good vibes, good vibes!” his crew shouted as they kicked at their fallen captain. “The beating will continue until your morale improves!”

“No noooOOOO AHHHHHHHHHH!”

Rico and Wicc didn’t care for the rest, moving out of the way before any authorities came knocking. One of the men went to follow, but Wicc barked at him until he retreated.

“Were you really cool with those guys and their vibes? They gave me the creeps, honestly,” Rico said.

Wicc scratched at his cheek. “Honestly, I dig good vibes, and I dig with putting a smile on when it’s bad. But on a closer look...they were all bad vibes, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, exactly!”

“Honestly, they’re the kinda folk I thought all pirates were. But kid, I like you, you’re a good one.” Rico turned to see Wicc’s grin. “Your heart is free, and you don’t want to trample on the hearts of others. I can respect that.” Taking Rico’s cardboard sign, he offered, “This isn’t your style, is it? We’ll have to figure out something else.”

Rico said, “I can try again, it’ll be fine!”

Wicc stopped for a moment, looking to the sky, remarkably clear of smoke. “I like to think there’s a place in this world for everyone. Sunstrider’s not yours. Honestly, some days I think it isn’t even mine. But you’re on the path to making it your own.” Wicc planted his finger on Rico’s chest. “You just gotta keep that fire going.”

Rico looked down at the hand Wicc offered, face placid. When Wicc retracted it, he moved his hand to the spot, perhaps holding onto something even still.

“You’re a loud kid. Good thing too, I was trying to find you. Rico, isn’t it?” The two looked up to see a man in a vest with an orange pinstripe shirt, a long braid of dark hair sticking out the side of his head. Eyes darting to the cardboard sign from behind his narrow sunglasses, he remarked, “I’m looking for a bodyguard. My boss can explain the deetz. It’ll pay. You interested?”

Rico’s jaw dropped. He turned to Wicc, who’s jaw was similarly open. Rico pointed. “Magic man!”

“Well I’ll fuckin’ be!” Clapping Rico on the shoulder, he said, “If you get smacked with a contract, hit me up. You know my haunts. I’ll punch any charlatan right in the legalities.”

“Really?”

Wicc started off. “Of course, we’re friends aren’t we?”

Realizing something, the man with the braid gaped. “Wait, Wicc Fiforo?” He was already gone, still in sight but well in his own mind.

“Huh? You know him?”

“I’m surprised I recognized him. For a long time he was the nastiest business tycoon on Midsummer Island. Real estate speculation, tax loopholes, venture capital loan scams: he changed the game, and not in a good way. Then about a decade ago he got betrayed by his protegee. Lost it all. Wife and kids went off island, debt collectors were chasing after him to wring him for all he was worth. I’ve seen less wealthy men off themselves even when they still had something left to their name. Honestly I kinda thought he’d have done the same. How do you know him?”

Rico looked off, watching as Wicc hopped up, clacking his bare heels together. “He’s the coolest guy I’ve ever met.” Their shoulders light and hearts free, the two men parted ways.
S A T U R D A Y.

I’m well aware it’s been a hot minute since my last update. Part of this is due to some real life stuff I’ve had weighing on me mentally these past few weeks. The rest is due to the lack of activity. I just wanted to clarify that I’m still very much interested in the RP. Even if it just ends up being me and Hillan (or any other one person), I’ll write as long as I have someone to write with.

I’ve never really enforced the weekly post deadlines, they were there more to incentivize activity and allow for a failsafe in case anyone was held up by the inactivity of someone else. Thankfully, it was never needed in the latter case, and in the former it ended up only going so far. I just wanted to be transparent in that I’m officially abolishing it: post at your own pace! Or don’t, it seems really hard for people to keep up the motivation for a single RP and I’m not going to bemoan it. I know I’ll find a way to tell the stories I want to and I’m really grateful for everyone here who got involved in expanding this version of the world.

At the risk of sounding final (and I suppose this will be the final weekly update, though hopefully not the final post in the RP by any stretch), thank you everyone for contributing and I hope you find it in you to continue at your own pace!

@Hillan@LostDestiny@Yankee@Daxam@Restalaan@pkken@BigOlLewbowski
RICO

Wide tipped inkpen pressed between his nose and stiff upper lip, Rico sat cross legged as he glared at a piece of canvas [Begging Sign, 4th Iteration].

“Like I said, sympathy, sympathy!” Wicc coached.

Words strained as he spoke through his upturned lip, Rico explained, “Well, I don’t wanna lie, and I don’t wanna copy you, but it’s like...I just don’t know!”

Wicc sighed. “Well, why did you stop the mugger?”

“You’re my friend! Of course I’ll help you!”

“Yeah, people want to help others, sometimes even complete strangers. Has no one helped you before?”

Rico’s face relaxed, the pen dropping into his hand. “More than I can ever pay back...” Shaking his head, he added, “And that’s exactly why I don’t wanna!”

Wicc paused, letting out a low sigh. “Guess that’s fair. Come on, let’s take a break, bum around town a bit.”

Finding a spot to sit bench around the corner of a cafe they got some drinks at (Wicc’s treat), the man suggested, “You want to leave, right? Go to Zenith with some signs that say ‘Anywhere but here’. Might even get a free ride! Or some people trying to beat you up, but you can take ‘em. See, it’s not really mugging if they initiate.”

“Holy shit you’re a fucking genius.”

Wicc blushed. “Well, just doin’ my best.” A shadow cast over him.

“Yup, that’s them captain.” The mugger from before was no longer alone, joined by more men in similar dark leathers, varying body types and colors between them. At the forefront, a whip lashed at his side, his beard bristled like thorns from a rosebush, a round leather cap on his head with straps hanging down. He looked over Rico and Wicc, before his face cracked into a smile with browning teeth not quite fitting to their browner gums. [“Painmaker” Desprit, 8 million beri, Captain of the Good Vibes Pirates]

“You the Fruit user? We could use you on our crew,” said Desprit.

“Wait, you’re not seek revenge for me?” said the mugger, his face fallen. The men near him backed up, strained smiles coming to their faces as a vein popped out on Despirt’s forehead. Glancing around, the mugger quickly straightened his posture, a smile of his own coming to his face, but Desprit had already loosened his whip. With a fast hand, he struck the man again and again, blood letting through torn skin. “Augh, god, thank you sir! I can never thank you enough! You’re the best captain ever!”

“Yes, exactly! Good Vibes only with the Good Vibes Pirates! If I want a new member we’re getting one, no matter what they did to any of you!”

“Augh! I’m looking forward to trying to sleep in pools of my own blood, I was getting too much lately anyway!”

Wicc elbowed Rico. “See, some people can enjoy life no matter what, we should be more like them.”

“I really don’t want to.” Waving his hand, he said, “Sorry, I’m a pirate myself so no can do!”

Desprit pulled his whip back, grimacing. “Grrr, your vibes are good but they make me feel bad!” Looking to Wicc, he asked, “What about you?”

Wicc laughed. “Sorry, I’m more interested in doing my own thing. Not interested in being tied down, you see.” He wiggled his fingers. “Like the commitment though. Good vibes~”

Desprit wailed. “No no no no no good vibes are my thing only mine only I need to feel good vibes!” He shot his whip out, the tip cracking through the air. Wicc covered his body, only for the lash to strike Rico’s arm, covering the older guy, his face twisted to anger. “Ah hah! There are your bad vibes!” Blood dripped from Rico’s torn sleeve. Desprit moved behind his men, who all started pulling out cutlasses and clubs.

“Do you guys actually not like me, or are you just more afraid of him than you are me?” Rico said.
CATHERINE CORIANDER

Bursting through the door to her home, Coriander caught her breath. Hyssop looked up from yesterday’s newspaper, today’s not having arrived yet for the weather. “Where are the girls?” he wondered.

“Sorry! Is it okay if we have company? Coriander’s fists gyrated. “We ran into a Marine, my age kinda, and he was nice so we were talking to him and I thought it would be good for Peppermint and stuff but we gotta eat so I invited him but I didn’t ask first!”

Hyssop blinked. “Sh-should be-”

“Of course it’s fine! I’m not about to turn away a hungry soldier!” called Marjoram from the kitchen.

Coriander pumped her fist, turning back. “Thanks mom!” Scrambling from the house, she ran back to Haku, Peppermint, and Rue with good news to share.

The smile on Hyssop’s face was stuck still, and once he was sure Corainder was gone, it shifted to a look of light panic. “H-honey!”

As he limped through the door from the dining area to the kitchen, she snapped, “You just said you were fine with syrup!”

Finding a chair, he insisted, “No, it’s not that. She’s bringing a sailor home.”

“You don’t have to say it like that.”

“Of course I do! She...she’s never met a boy her age and puberty was years ago! She’s bound to be a late bloomer and...ah, I don’t think I’m ready.”

Marjoram turned on him. “You’re not ready? I’ve been feeling sorry enough for her lately. Any girl longs for love, we’re just lucky she hasn’t turned nasty for it.” Hyssop gawked. “Yet.”

“Wh-what’s that supposed to mean!?”

“She’s gotta get married eventually! Is a religious obligation for starters.” Hyssop’s eyes threatened to pop from their sockets. “Didn’t you read the bible? Half the time I think of her as a child but I forget how much you’re still holding on to.”

Hyssop slumped onto the bare counter. “But...a sailor? A soldier?”

“Steady work. Might mean she’s relocating a lot, which she’d love I’ll bet. Some wives join up as cooks or other less sensitive positions.”

“SHE JUST MET HIM TWENTY MINUTES AGO!” Slumping back, Hyssop moaned, “What if she gets taken advantage of?”

Brandishing a knife, Marjoram said, “Well, if he gives off a bad odor we can chase him off.”

“...Why do you have a knife, you’re making waffles.”

She admitted, “It just found its way into my hand. Does that sometimes.”
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