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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 49. Chapter 49

May, 1798

Bay of Bengal

             

Granger stood on deck with Captain Raymond of the Sultan, studying the weather. “It appears to be quite a storm, my lord.” They looked out at the weather front that was approaching them.

“Yes, but it appears to be heading northeast,” Granger noted. “Perhaps we can get to the west of it, and avoid most of it.”

“We could put into Madras, my lord,” Raymond suggested. “I’d not like to get caught in a monsoon.”

Granger could understand Raymond’s caution. Sultan was a good sailer, but a monsoon could very well sink this little ship. Heading for Madras would put the winds on her quarter, and carry them quickly to shelter, but putting into port to ride it out may very well mean the loss of two weeks, time Granger could not afford. He thought about how willing Army generals were to retreat, but how much he hated the thought. With winds close on her bows, Sultan had worked hard for every mile of progress, and by putting into Madras they would be surrendering progress they had fought so hard to gain. “It is your decision, Captain,” Granger said, since that was true. “But I would suggest we remain on course. I think the probability of avoiding this storm outweighs the risks.”

Raymond eyed Granger carefully, weighing the decision in front of him with just as much trepidation. On the one hand, his instincts as a merchant captain screamed for him to enter port. Storms were dangerous, and perhaps even more importantly, they could be expensive. The Company would not look kindly on a captain who caused his ship costly repairs because he did not prudently seek shelter in a storm. On the other hand, he was aware that the mission he was on was urgent, and possibly urgent on a national level. His own devotion to his sovereign may be called into question if he were dilatory. But that was nothing compared to the possible negative outcomes if he were to upset his passenger. Lord Granger was known to be an impatient man, one who drove forward remorselessly to achieve his objectives. Perhaps even more importantly, he was influential, very influential. Raymond could find his career destroyed and find himself on a beach simply with a word from Granger to his father, who was on John Company’s board; to the Prince of Wales, who was purportedly his friend; to his wife, who was a powerful politician in her own right; to the Duke of Portland or the Earl Spencer, both who viewed him as something of a protégé; or to his brother, who had considerable influence and power in India.

“Shake out a reef in the topsails,” Raymond ordered. “Helm, steer southwest.” Raymond had made his decision. He feared Granger more than God, in this instance.

“Thank you, Captain. If we suffer any ill-effects from this decision, I will endeavor to help you explain it, assuming we are alive to do so,” Granger said with a smile.

“I appreciate your support, my lord,” Raymond said.

Granger left him alone and walked to the larboard railing and watched as Sultan surged to the southwest, suffering the peripheral effects of the storm that looked to be heading in the direction from whence they’d come. He thought of Wellesley and his soldiers. They would have to endure these rains and winds, and so would Rainier and his ships, but Granger would hopefully avoid them, at least for the most part.

He went below and almost ran into Jardines in the passageway. Granger had avoided him since they’d come aboard, staying on deck much of the time, and spending time locked away in his cabin for much of the rest. The only time they’d seen each other was at mealtimes, and there they shared a table with Raymond and his officers, so conversation on anything but common subjects was impossible.

“Good morning, my lord,” Jardines said, trying to be pleasant.

“Good morning,” Granger replied politely, but no more. “Captain Raymond was of a mind to put into Madras to weather this storm, but I persuaded him otherwise.”

Just then Sultan moved significantly in response to a massive wave. “I am wondering if you have done us any favors, my lord,” Jardines joked.

Granger chuckled with him. Jardines really was charming, and it was difficult to stay mad at him, but all Granger had to do was remember what this man had done to Travers, and that served to stabilize him. “Perhaps not. Enjoy your time on deck.”

Granger made to go to his cabin but Jardines blocked his way. “My lord, you promised that you would give me a chance to explain what happened. I would ask that you honor that promise.”

And Granger was stuck, caught by his own promise and his own sense of honor. He almost sighed, but caught himself before he could show such weakness. “I believe that I did,” he said, with as good grace as he could muster. “Would you like to discuss it in my cabin?”

“Of course, my lord,” Jardines said. Granger passed him in the tight passageway, pressing their bodies together, and then led Jardines into his small cabin. It was warm and stuffy. Granger had selected this cabin because it had a gunport, which he could open for fresh air. In these seas, such a thing was unthinkable, but when the seas moderated, it made the cabin quite pleasant, and provided a goodly amount of light.

“I am unsure what you could tell me that would change my feelings about you,” Granger said abruptly. He regretted his words immediately. Listening to Jardines meant keeping his mind open as well as his ears. “I will endeavor to keep my prejudices buried.”

“Thank you, my lord.” Granger sat in the chair, while Jardines sat on his bed. “When you and I last had an intimate encounter, I believe that Arthur was there, and he joined us.” Jardines was referring to Arthur Teasdale.

“I remember,” Granger said acidly, not wanting to be reminded of his own intimacy with Jardines.

“May I ask, my lord, what your perceptions were of my relationship with Arthur?”

Granger pondered his words. “Your relationship seemed to be of a largely sexual nature, with limited emotional intimacy.”

“Yet that is not how it was,” Jardines said. “That may be a symptom of how we felt when we had sexual relations with you, and it may also be that our relationship advanced significantly after we had our encounter with Your Lordship. In any event, our feelings for each other were quite advanced.” Granger could sense Jardines’ honesty as he spoke, even though the man was so nervous he was almost stammering.

“You are trying to tell me that your relationship with Arthur was quite strong?”

Jardines seemed to push his fears aside and instead got slightly angry. “I am trying to tell Your Lordship that Arthur and I were lovers. I am trying to tell Your Lordship that even though it may not have seemed that way to you, I loved Arthur deeply, more than anyone else I have ever been with. Perhaps even more than myself.”

Granger was stunned by that. He hadn’t seen that in the encounter he’d had with them, or had he? Jardines had been dominant, aggressive, and almost violent with Arthur, but Granger had since learned that Arthur liked that, he thrived on it. But afterward, after they’d had their orgasms, Jardines had been loving and caring with Arthur. Granger had almost forgotten about that. He pulled himself back to the conversation. “If you loved him more than yourself, that is truly saying something,” Granger said with a smile.

But Jardines didn’t smile, he just nodded. “We were committed to each other. We had both given up other people. For Arthur, that meant other men, and for me, that meant other men and other women. I can assure you that disappointed a few people.”

Granger felt his compassionate nature emerging, and could feel the pain Jardines was enduring, the emotional pain. His natural response was to try and make the man feel better by being pleasant, so he allowed himself to do that. “I can well see how that would have been the case for both of you.” He paused. “Was I intimate with either of you after you had made this pledge?”

“You were, but that was allowed,” Jardines said. “You really were irresistible for both of us, and neither one of us viewed you as a risk.”

“I was not alluring enough to tempt you away from Arthur?” Granger said coquettishly, and then got irritated with himself for loosening up so much with this man he was supposed to hate.

“You are not,” Jardines said, shocking him. “You may have been for Arthur, and I think that if you had returned his love, I may have lost him to you. But I knew that you would never do that, never be able to do that.”

Granger listened to this man and studied him intently. He did not know that Jardines had such strong feelings for Arthur, but as he spoke, it was obvious that he had. “I feel inadequate in that I did not have that effect on you,” he said, using humor to mask his internal discomfort.

“I am sorry to disappoint you,” Jardines said. “Perhaps you can salve your self-worth by recalling that you were important enough to both of us that we determined to include you in our relationship.”

“I have no problems with my self-worth,” Granger snapped, then got annoyed with himself for being so emotional during this conversation.

“Obviously not,” Jardines joked, only it came out in a smarmy way. Granger was going to explode, but he could see how much Jardines regretted his tone.

A knock on the cabin door interrupted him. Winkler peeked in at Granger’s behest. “My lord, Captain Raymond is requesting your presence on deck.”

“Major, if you are of a mind to wait here or in your cabin, I will join you to resume our conversation as soon as I have met with Captain Raymond,” Granger said.

“Of course, my lord. I will rely on you to seek me out as soon as you can,” Jardines said. Granger resolved to do that. This conversation was difficult for both of them, so the sooner they were through it, the better.

Granger went up on deck to find the winds much stronger, and the waves much higher. “We appear to have intercepted part of the storm after all,” he said loudly to Raymond.

“We have, my lord. I am taking in another reef, and will hope that it suffices. If it does not, I will have to heave to.” Granger smiled at this accommodating young man who was so sensitive to Granger’s feelings. He knew that having commanded a ship for so long, it was difficult for Granger to just sit idly by and not be actively involved. He was treating Granger much as if Granger were an admiral.

“Captain, I can see you are doing everything you can and more to speed us along. You must see to the safety of your ship. If you must heave to, then do so. It will still take less time than putting into Madras.”

“Thank you, my lord,” Raymond said. Granger walked over to the lee rail and held on to the side firmly, using the wind and seas to calm his psyche. He had no idea that Jardines and Arthur were tied so closely. It would seem that they were more committed to each other than he was to anyone. He had no truly exclusive arrangement with any of the people he loved, and certainly not with the men. He felt a pang of jealousy at that, and wondered if he would ever be able to do that. He dug even more deeply to wonder if he was even capable of that. But his discussion with Jardines, and Jardines’ relationship with Arthur, was not about him and his issues, so he pulled his mind back to that topic.

He thought of Arthur’s reactions after Jardines had left England, and how the man had turned into a basket case. There had been no logical explanation for that, other than to attribute it to madness. But if Arthur had been deeply in love with Jardines, as Jardines was positing, and if Jardines had satisfied Arthur both emotionally and sexually, having Jardines torn away from him could possibly explain Arthur’s behavior. Granger suddenly felt horrible for Arthur, and the anguish he must have endured. He had shared it with no one, not even Granger. He had just struggled along, desperately trying to find something to wrap his mind around, something to save him. Arthur must have grasped at one man, then another, trying to find satisfaction and love similar to what he found with Jardines. His erratic behavior with Cavendish and Kerry, and with Granger himself, showed how difficult it had been for him. Granger smiled to himself, thinking that Jardines should be flattered that it took two men to replace him.

He wondered if Holmquist would fully fill the void Jardines had left. He thought the Swede was more caring and sensitive, and he was not in society, so he could stay in the background and support Arthur. Jardines was moving in the same circles Arthur was in, so there was a parity to that aspect of their relationship. Perhaps with Holmquist, Arthur had found a good balance. Holmquist could be dominant in bed, and possibly in their relationship, which enabled Arthur to be strong and dominant in his public life.

Granger hadn’t really extended his consideration to Jardines and how he must have felt, but he allowed himself to do so, and he forced himself to ignore the incident with Travers as he did. Jardines must have been just as devastated by their separation as Arthur. Even now, Granger could see the pain in his eyes. He had paid a hefty price for his crime. He had been torn away from his lover, and had to endure that pain alone. Then he had been packed off to India, a place he did not seem to like, and treated like an errand boy, having been given the worst jobs to do. Jobs like this one, like helping him trek through Egypt. Granger finished his period of introspection, nodded to Raymond, all that was required with the winds as they were, and went below to find Jardines.

Jardines had retreated to his own cabin, which was the same one Bertie had occupied on their trip from Amboyna. It was slightly larger than Granger’s, but did not have access to outside air. It was just as stuffy, and just as warm. Granger knocked, and then entered when bidden. “I am sorry for the interruption. Captain Raymond was kind enough to keep me informed as to our progress.”

“And what is our situation, my lord?”

“We are encountering more of this storm than we had hoped, so it may require that we heave to,” Granger said, and could hear the depression in his own voice.

“The captain holds you in high esteem. I think it is a combination of fear and respect, my lord. I think he will do his best to get us to Egypt quickly.”

“I am not sure if you are correct, but I think he will do his duty,” Granger said dismissively, then changed the topic. “I have thought about what you said, and I must admit that it corrected some of my misconceptions. I had no idea you and Arthur were so closely involved.”

“It is the truth,” Jardines avowed, seeming to think that Granger was somehow questioning his word.

“Major, I have issues with you which we are trying to resolve. Those issues do not include a lack of trust. I have never known you to be a liar, so the thought that you were insincere never entered my mind,” Granger said honestly.

The impact of his words on Jardines was extreme. The man had never thought he’d hear any sort of kind comment, or praise, from Granger. He had resolved that they would have to have a duel, and unbeknownst to Granger, Jardines had already decided that if that happened, he would lose. He had no desire to live in this world if he would have to bear the additional guilt of having taken Granger’s life. “Thank you, my lord.”

“Your words have done much to explain Arthur’s erratic behavior after you left, and your eyes give away the pain this must have caused you,” Granger said gently, but then his tone changed. “None of that explains your raping Captain Travers.”

Jardines swallowed hard, and then continued. “Arthur has a particular weakness for men in uniform and for naval officers in particular. I think we both know from where those preferences derive, my lord.”

Granger’s eyes narrowed, a sure sign of his annoyance at being held responsible for Arthur’s fantasies and preferences simply because they had been intimate friends. “You choose to blame me for this?”

“I am not blaming you, I am merely explaining Arthur’s situation, my lord,” Jardines stated firmly, then relented, and his tone eased. “Captain Travers returned from the Mediterranean with a significant problem. He was embattled by his admiral, and by members of the government allied with that admiral. Because his father was a traitor, it was thought by those people that it would be easy for him to be the scapegoat for the Ça Ira affair, and to simply cashier him.”

“That was how it was explained to me,” Granger agreed.

“Those forces did not count on your influence, my lord. It was an embarrassment for them to discover that their vulnerable scapegoat was not so vulnerable after all. They redoubled their efforts, and that is when your wife enlisted Arthur’s help.” Jardines paused for a moment, which puzzled Granger, until he saw the anger, the rage in the man’s eyes. “Captain Travers seemed to think that the best way to enlist Arthur’s assistance was to fuck him.”

Granger swallowed hard now, knowing where this was going, and feeling the conflicts surging within him. “Prior to his involvement with you, that may have been a logical conclusion.”

“But I was involved with him, and it was quite obvious,” Jardines said.

“How was it obvious?” Granger asked.

Jardines ignored his question, and instead, continued on his rant. “Captain Travers fucked Arthur, and evidently it was a good experience for both of them, because they continued it. I discovered their relationship when I called on Arthur. Captain Travers was leaving Arthur’s rooms, looking somewhat flustered.”

“If Captain Travers was flustered, surely that does not mean they were sexually engaged?”

“I entered Arthur’s rooms and found him half-dressed,” Jardines spat. “I tossed him on the bed, ripped off his pants, and spun him around. When I went to prepare him with my mouth to be fucked, I found his hole to be well-lubed with lanolin, and saw Captain Travers’ seed leaking out.”

“I suppose Arthur admitted everything to you at that point,” Granger said.

“He did. A simple fuck to secure Arthur’s support had turned into a daily encounter. I demanded that Arthur stop seeing him, and he agreed.”

“I see,” Granger said.

“Only he didn’t stop seeing him. I began doing something I never thought I would do. I began spying on Arthur. And despite Arthur’s pledge to me, Captain Travers still called on him, and they still fucked,” Jardines said loudly.

“Major, I understand your outrage, but it would be safer for you to adopt a lower volume,” Granger said in a kindly way.

“I’m sorry, my lord. You’re quite right,” Jardines said. “I confronted Arthur again, and we had an angry discussion. He said that he had tried to end it, but that Travers kept calling on him. Arthur knew, in his heart, that the only reason for that was to maintain Arthur’s support, since Travers was fighting some powerful forces. Arthur said that he was going to solve the problem by getting Travers inducted into the Brotherhood, where those interests would then shield Travers so Arthur didn’t have to.”

Granger got up and walked over to the side table, taking a decanter and pouring both of them a glass of claret, acting as the host even though it was not his cabin. He handed one to Jardines, then sat down, his signal for Jardines to continue. “Did you speak to Captain Travers of this?”

“It was not my place to speak to him, it was Arthur’s place,” Jardines spat loudly. A firm look from Granger induced him to lower his voice. “Arthur explained it to him, but he was so focused on himself, and his ship, that he ignored the damage he was doing to us.”

“In my experience, if an outsider can damage a relationship, perhaps the relationship is not as strong as one may think it is,” Granger noted.

Jardines’ eyes flashed with anger over that, but he calmed himself before responding. “Perhaps with some men, but not with Arthur. He is not so constant as that, and he can be erratic in his affections if he is significantly aroused by someone new.” That sparked Granger’s fears not for this situation, but for Arthur with Holmquist.

“So he tires of someone, and seeks outside stimulation?”

“I think it is more his wandering eye that makes him do that, only if he succeeds, that relationship can then dominate his life. You have experienced this, the rush of new love. Arthur finds that to be an aphrodisiac. That is what Captain Travers offered him, and that is why Arthur became enraptured by him.” Jardines knew so much of Arthur and his ways, more than Granger did. These revelations troubled Granger deeply.

“I can only hope that Arthur has matured, and learned from the pain he has endured that the price he will pay for this fickleness is quite dear,” Granger said.

“I think that may be true, now. He is not allowed to contact me, but he risked the wrath of the Brotherhood to do so anyway. He sent me a letter, telling me how much he missed me, and how much pain he had suffered.” A tear fell down Jardines’ face, and he put his head in his hands as he wept over the pain Arthur had endured. Granger sat calmly, giving him time to recover his wits, and his thoughts.

“You give me hope that he has,” Granger said.

“I could not write to him. He could afford the risk, I could not. When you see him, will you tell him how much I loved him…” he began, and then stopped. “No. When you see him, tell him that I did not speak of him. Tell him that I did not even appear to remember him.”

“But that would be a lie, and he would know it,” Granger objected.

“He cannot see me as an option. He cannot want me; he cannot want to be with me,” Jardines said firmly. Granger read his eyes, and could read how much he loved Arthur, and how much he cared about him.

“I am not sure such duplicity is fair to Arthur, and I am fairly convinced that it is not the honorable way for me to treat a friend,” Granger said. He held up his hand to stop Jardines’ objections. “What I will promise to do is to carefully weigh what I tell Arthur, based on his condition when I see him.”

“That is the best I can hope for, my lord,” Jardines said fatalistically. “I will have to trust your judgment.”

“We will hope it is as sound as yours,” Granger said icily. “But we have digressed. Please continue.”

“When it was time for Captain Travers’ initiation into the Brotherhood, I tried to escape the ceremony, but as you know, since I was known to be in England and relatively available, such a path was not open to me.” Granger said nothing, since while that was true, it certainly didn’t justify Jardines’ actions. “I was distraught, and jealous, so I attempted to fortify myself with drink.”

“Which has the unfortunate effect of also impairing your judgment,” Granger noted.

“Captain Travers showed up and went through the induction. I stood there in silent rage at this man who would cavalierly destroy my relationship, alienate me from the love of my life, solely to save his own reputation. When it came time for him to be penetrated, the Duke went first, as is the norm.”

“He is well-endowed,” Granger said, “but not as well-endowed as you.”

Jardines actually grinned slightly. “He is not.” He paused before continuing. “The Duke barely penetrated Travers at all, which was thoughtful. Then Arthur came up, and he fully penetrated Travers. The look of satisfaction, almost smugness, on Travers’ face as Arthur fucked him, combined with the way Arthur put so much of himself into it, was too much for me to bear.”

“That would have been upsetting,” Granger said, just to help ease Jardines’ pain.

“How would you have felt?” Jardines demanded. “How would you have felt to see the man you love fucking another man in front of your face, and to see them enjoying themselves, even though their carnal relationship was destroying your own relationship?”

Granger said nothing, but Jardines seemed to realize that was because Granger was thinking about it. Granger wondered how he would have felt if he had come home from Carlton House and discovered Prince William making love to Caroline. How would he have felt if he had walked into the room and watched them, and watched Caroline respond to his touches, his thrusts, in a way that was similar, if not better, to how she responded to his own? What would he have done? The visualization of that so angered him, he felt his hand instinctively grasping for his sword. “I would have been enraged,” Granger answered honestly.

Jardines stared at Granger, completely stunned that Granger understood his emotions. He had meant his diatribe to be rhetorical, never daring to think Granger would understand him. Then again, Jardines did not know that Caroline had fucked Prince William in Granger’s residence while Granger was in London. “When my turn came up, I had a chance to strike back at this man who had hurt me so bad, and who had hurt Arthur too, only Arthur was too stupid to realize it at the time. The rage and the drink combined to override my sense of common decency, and when I drove my cock into his ass, I felt, above all, a feeling of satisfaction, knowing that I had hurt him physically, and caused him a great deal of pain.”

“The pain was not only physical,” Granger said coldly. “The pain was emotional as well. It scarred Captain Travers for months afterward. It destroyed a relationship that was very important to him.”

“Did he recover?” Jardines asked, with genuine concern.

“Yes,” Granger said simply.

“How?”

“I was inducted into the Brotherhood, largely because I had probed into Captain Travers’ sources of influence. I think that the powers-that-be decided to include me rather than risk my exposing them,” Granger said, and then his voice got colder. “Captain Travers had no one he could talk to about this. He let it plague him until he was unable to perform his sexual duties with his partner. He could not tell that man why he was impotent, because that would have violated his oath. Instead, he turned to drink.”

“I am so sorry,” Jardines said, and only now did he understand how badly he had wounded Travers.

“His lover retaliated by ruling him, even though he was a subordinate. When I finally caught up to him, he was in his cabin; nothing more than a drunken, pungent wretch of a man.”

Jardines said nothing, but just looked down, ashamed and saddened. “Tell me that you helped him. Tell me that he overcame the trauma I inflicted on him!” Jardines was despondent at this point, almost dangerously so. Granger worried that the man would take his own life rather than endure this kind of pain.

“I helped him,” Granger said.

“How?”

Granger bit back his annoyance. “I talked to him about it, and gave him someone he trusted to vent his feelings to. I transferred the officer in question to separate them, so they could both regain their confidence. And I made love to him, to show him that it could be good, it could be wonderful.”

“Thank you,” Jardines said sincerely. “This has plagued me, eaten away at me. I had no way to reach out to him and try to make it better, not that I could have anyway. I agonized over what I did, and what he must have endured. And it sounds as if it was worse than I had even imagined.” He broke down now, sobbing uncontrollably. Granger waited for him to get himself under control again. “When he died, I felt as if I had no hope of ever fixing things. Not that I had a chance anyway, but I always dreamt that maybe he would be sent here, to the Indies, and then I could let him do to me what I did to him, and that maybe that would have eased his pain.”

Granger shook his head. “That was not his way. That would not have made him feel better.”

“What could I have done?” he asked plaintively.

“If you would have told him what you told me, and you would have begged his forgiveness, he would have forgiven you,” Granger said confidently. He knew Travers so well. He knew that is what he would have done. “I have hated you for this because I loved him so much. I listened to your description of what happened, and I do not see the malice in Captain Travers that you did, because I knew him. His flaw was not in trying to alienate you and Arthur, or in not caring about the consequences to your relationship; his flaw was in his naiveté, in that he did not truly know that his actions were harmful. In fact, I would be surprised if Arthur ever even told him that you two were a couple.”

“What makes you think that?” Jardines asked, completely surprised by that concept.

“Because Travers never mentioned it to me. If he had known, he would have understood, at least partially, your rage.”

“So he died, carrying this burden with him,” Jardines said.

Granger was not sure how he felt about all of this, but he knew that on this topic, he must ease Jardines’ guilt. “He did not. After I helped him recover, and after he undoubtedly proved his sexual abilities to others, he did not seem to be plagued with it. I was with him when he died.” Granger said that, then felt tears forming in his eyes, and could not stop them. “He was mortally wounded, lying on the deck of his ship, and I had arrived too late to save him. He said nothing of this; it was not on his mind.”

“That must have been a wrenching experience for you,” Jardines said sympathetically.

“It was, but I was able to hold him, and tell him that I loved him, and ease his transition into his next life. I hold that memory with me, and it has helped the sadness fade. On this voyage, I have finally worked through things enough to put the agony behind me, so except for this conversation, normally when I think of him, I smile.”

“I do not want to remain in conflict with you,” Jardines said firmly. “If you feel, as a matter of honor, that we must duel, then we will duel, but you will win.”

Granger digested Jardines’ words. “There will be no duel over this,” he said. Then, desperate for some space to ponder their words, Granger excused himself and went up on deck to endure the weather, which was but a fragment of the storm inside him.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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One of the most emotionally charged and explosive chapters I've read from anyone anywhere. A tribute to your incredible story telling skills. Truly a wonderful chapter that exploits your abilities to weave the fabric of a story so tightly that were it canvas it could easily hold water without losing a drop.

It exercised nearly every emotional muscle I have, happiness, fear, anger, rage, forgiveness, pity, sadness and love.

Masterful!

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A superb chapter full of displays of emotion. The characters in this story, even those who have passed, retain their very essence in such a way that even as Jardines explains the story of Arthur and his relationship and then the subsequent relationship of Arthur and the dead Captain Travers, one almost expects that either one or both of them will suddenly walk into the cabin and offer their emotionally charged segment of the story. A beautiful story which I enjoy so much and I look forward to reading each new chapter.

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What an emotional ride to wake up to and read all before coffee.

 

I had a suspicion that Arthur had more to do with it than he led Granger to believe, not that it makes it right but it sure explains why.

 

I anxiously look forward to more.

 

Continued thanks!

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I must say that his chapter has changed my opinion of the Jar-head. I have never liked him and always thought that Arthur was stupid to care about him.

 

I'm glad no duel will be fought.

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A storm with a storm of emotions brilliantly portrayed. I suspect Granger will take some time to digest it all but that his ruling out the duel means he will not harm Jardines in any way if he can help it.

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Granger excused himself and went up on deck to endure the weather, which was but a fragment of the storm inside him.

 

Once again we a treated to your most excellent writing skills. That last sentence was truly masterful, from the pen of an artist.

Granger lives in a world of intrigue where nothing is actually as it may appear. Thank you for your writing of this epic. :worship:

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On 07/06/2013 05:29 PM, ricky said:
One of the most emotionally charged and explosive chapters I've read from anyone anywhere. A tribute to your incredible story telling skills. Truly a wonderful chapter that exploits your abilities to weave the fabric of a story so tightly that were it canvas it could easily hold water without losing a drop.

It exercised nearly every emotional muscle I have, happiness, fear, anger, rage, forgiveness, pity, sadness and love.

Masterful!

Thanks Ricky! When Sharon likes a chapter and takes the time to tell me so, I usually know it's going to be well-received. She liked this one.
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On 07/06/2013 09:10 PM, FitzH1943 said:
A superb chapter full of displays of emotion. The characters in this story, even those who have passed, retain their very essence in such a way that even as Jardines explains the story of Arthur and his relationship and then the subsequent relationship of Arthur and the dead Captain Travers, one almost expects that either one or both of them will suddenly walk into the cabin and offer their emotionally charged segment of the story. A beautiful story which I enjoy so much and I look forward to reading each new chapter.
Thank you so much! I'm glad that these characters seem so real to you. I'm going to chalk that up as a major success, and be happy today!
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On 07/06/2013 11:59 PM, Miles Long said:
What an emotional ride to wake up to and read all before coffee.

 

I had a suspicion that Arthur had more to do with it than he led Granger to believe, not that it makes it right but it sure explains why.

 

I anxiously look forward to more.

 

Continued thanks!

If you look back at Arthur's erratic behavior, which George is now doing, it doesn't really make sense unless you can put it in the context of something like this. I can only imagine the guilt that Arthur has carried over what his liaison with Travers did to Jardines. And probably just as distraught over what Jardines did to Travers.

Arthur is a schemer (he is in Parliament), so one can't help but wonder if he didn't partly orchestrate Granger's induction into the Brotherhood so that Granger could help heal the wounds Arthur helped cause Travers.

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On 07/07/2013 02:18 AM, JimCarter said:
I must say that his chapter has changed my opinion of the Jar-head. I have never liked him and always thought that Arthur was stupid to care about him.

 

I'm glad no duel will be fought.

Duels are a nasty affair. I'm glad too. They can also ruin careers. Check out the Wiki pages for Castlereagh and Canning. (Or Burr and Hamilton).

 

As for Jardines and your opinion of him, clearly you'll have to turn in your gay membership club card. You're supposed to give guys with huge dicks the benefit of the doubt. :-)

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On 07/07/2013 03:28 AM, Daddydavek said:
A storm with a storm of emotions brilliantly portrayed. I suspect Granger will take some time to digest it all but that his ruling out the duel means he will not harm Jardines in any way if he can help it.
Thank you! I think that Granger must forgive Jardines, at least partially. It is his nature to be both fair and compassionate. Plus it is the gentlemanly thing to do.
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On 07/07/2013 03:49 AM, davewri said:
Granger excused himself and went up on deck to endure the weather, which was but a fragment of the storm inside him.

 

Once again we a treated to your most excellent writing skills. That last sentence was truly masterful, from the pen of an artist.

Granger lives in a world of intrigue where nothing is actually as it may appear. Thank you for your writing of this epic. :worship:

Why thank you!

 

You're right about George's world. I think about him as a young midshipman, and how he had to deal with the Wilcox intrigues against him. That was penny-ante stuff compared to now, but certainly good training for it, nonetheless.

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I can't even begin to explain how much I loved this chapter... There was so many layers and such emotion and power imbued within. I had to read this four times since I opened it this morning. There was so much about this chapter that really touched my heart. The skill involved in this writing was truly second to none.

 

I had long suspected most of what Jardines revealed to Granger. Mark had given hints about most of this all along. I found Grangers reactions to what was revealed to be so spot on. I have to believe that Granger will truly forgive Jardines and will do what he can to help him and Teasdale both. I don't know what that will involve but I am sure Mark will make it completely believable.

 

I also really liked the musing from the ship's Captain and how he views Granger and the influence he can bring to bear. I wonder if that is how most others at the same level or even above him view Granger...

 

Great job, Mark; I can't wait to see where you take this saga.

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On 07/07/2013 07:24 AM, centexhairysub said:
I can't even begin to explain how much I loved this chapter... There was so many layers and such emotion and power imbued within. I had to read this four times since I opened it this morning. There was so much about this chapter that really touched my heart. The skill involved in this writing was truly second to none.

 

I had long suspected most of what Jardines revealed to Granger. Mark had given hints about most of this all along. I found Grangers reactions to what was revealed to be so spot on. I have to believe that Granger will truly forgive Jardines and will do what he can to help him and Teasdale both. I don't know what that will involve but I am sure Mark will make it completely believable.

 

I also really liked the musing from the ship's Captain and how he views Granger and the influence he can bring to bear. I wonder if that is how most others at the same level or even above him view Granger...

 

Great job, Mark; I can't wait to see where you take this saga.

Thanks for all your nice comments!

 

I think that most officers who encounter Granger would have to factor in the influence that he wields, both socially and politically. That gives him a lot of informal power, and definitely should earn him respect from others. One of the things I love most about the character (George Granger) is that he knows this, but only pulls it out and wields this power when he has to. Unlike a lot of egotistical buffoons, his modesty and propriety with how he handles himself and that power probably wins him a lot of friends.

That power can also make enemies, as we've seen in the past where some people want to challenge Granger solely, it seems, to test the limits of his influence.

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Yes I have been to the Dark Side and I also think this chapter rivals (equals) any chapter there to date. It goes to show that even we The Loyal Crew can appreciate a chapter that has no battles, blood and/or gore every now and again.

A truly compelling chapter. Thanks Mark.

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On 07/08/2013 12:28 PM, sandrewn said:
Yes I have been to the Dark Side and I also think this chapter rivals (equals) any chapter there to date. It goes to show that even we The Loyal Crew can appreciate a chapter that has no battles, blood and/or gore every now and again.

A truly compelling chapter. Thanks Mark.

Well, it's important to keep the body count down. ;-)

 

Glad you liked the chapter!

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