About Richard Inwood
Richard is a privateer and captain of The Ranger.
Richard was born on the 28th of October, 1675 to John and Alicia Inwood, Baron and Baroness of Portsmouth. They were already blessed with two other boys, making Richard the third son. Their names were John and Charles. Given that John and Charles were both healthy and intelligent boys, John the elder saw fit to set Richard onto the path of a useful trade.
Richard was sent to Eton to board where he was expected to receive a broad education and disciplined. When he wasn't at Eton, he was playing on the water, encouraged to sail.
Over the next twenty years, Richard's career as a captain grew and saw him end up with the pirates of Nassau. Between commissions, he returned home to see his family. Every year passing year made them more and more unfamiliar until Richard felt like his lineage and family belong to another man.
Richard's recklessness was forged into stubborn tenacity and bravery (or, stupidity, depending on your point of view.) He is known for being a friendly captain, happy to listen to his crew and someone who prioritises the crew's wellbeing over riches. Even so, he guards his privacy jealousy.
- 1689 (14) - Richard is put on a merchant ship as the cabin boy. Captain Horatio was a family friend who was put in charge of Richard's continuing education.
- 1691 (16) - Eventually, Horatio recognised Richard as an able seaman and commenced his officer training. Horatio's reluctance was down to a mixture of Richard being a risk taker and (if Horatio was being honest with himself) because a cabin boy was very useful. Richard was typically set to work in the midship.
- 1694 (19) - Promoted to Lieutenant. Richard turned his attention from merchant work. Merchant's pay better, but the prestige was not so great.
- Richard and his friend and captain, Jacob, purchased a commission. Together they hunted pirates and patrolled the coasts, whatever the commission asked of them.
- 1702 (27) - The War of Spanish Succession broke out when Richard was 27. He was given a Letter of Marque, captain this time (sadly separating him from Jacob), and sent to operate from Nassau where he rubbed shoulders with pirates and other privateers. Richard envied the pirates their freedom.
- 1703 (28) - He was raiding outposts along the Cuban coast, outside Havana, when New Providence Island was sacked. When he returned, Richard met up with the rover's and participated in their reactionary strike. At this point, Richard's connection to his family and country is wearing thin. He operates less like a gentleman on the seas and more like a pirate answering to no one but the ocean.
- 1706 (31) - While cruising, the Ranger came across a French merchant ship. He unfurled the black and she fought back. In the battle, the merchant ship's sails were ruined and Richard experienced some losses, including the loss of a surgeon. They boarded and subdued the ship. On board, they were surprised to discover a woman, Antoinette. Richard escorted her onto the ship, intending to take her back to French land. She insisted on Nassau.
Once the booty was brought on board, the French ship was set on fire after the remainder of the Frenchmen were either killed or promised freedom in Nassau.
Now Richard was quite confused. If it were not for the earlier scoldings he would have thought this was an invitation to stay and chat. As it was, James' displeasure was still hot in his mind, like skin that stung ages after the cut. He twined his fingers together and swung his legs, fidgety in his nerves.
"I left a flower by your door," Richard blurted out suddenly when the image of it formed in his mind. Of a kindness offered in return for what was apparently a mercurial exchange. He didn't announce it to guilt trip James, but because he worried he'd overstepped there, too.
"To brighten it. There's so much mud here. I thought. Well I can remove it if you like. No doubt my sister will like it."
Richard's jaw remained set as he watched James. Studying him for signs of displeasure of impatience. His natural inclination was to tease, you can be silly and take my wounds seriously. But that had proven to annoy James and proven many times over. So he shut that door, hurting from it because the door cast a long and black shadow of immense loneliness.
Richard hated that ache in his chest. Hated that it lurked behind every interaction, haunting his relationships and adding meaning where none deserved to be. Hated that it left him feeling morose and lethargic. Energy sapped.
Wished he could take James' hand and put it on his heart. There. That's where the real injury it is. Let the healing oil seep into it and renew it, knit away scars until there were none.
But he couldn't.
"I'll heal properly." Richard said. Promise. He didn't say and didn't smile, teasing. "I always do."
Subdued again, Richard cast his eyes down to his knees. He could see the wounds on his legs. Clean and red from healing. His leg hairs were pressed hard against his skin from the bandage's weight.
"I was teasing, I'm sorry." Richard murmured and resolutely clenched his jaw to prevent more ill thought words from spilling out. That was it, like when hunting, sometimes silence was best.
And it was hard. Words crowding behind his teeth and pressing against his gums. Richard's leg started to jiggle, his nerves finding a new avenue out.
Richard watched James with narrowed eyes. It felt like his skin was sighing with relief as the pressure from the bandage eased and air started to touch the wounds. He didn't believe that James was in perfectly good health. Though he had no notion if the illness was heart, mind or body. He seemed too stoic to sigh over buckets of water like, well, Richard would do if he felt unwell.
"I think I'll worry because I think you, sir, are a liar. A common bloody liar. How's my bites looking? Will you let me walk around more?"
Richard watched James move back and forth with concern in his eyes. Something was bothering James. The reminder that he had no one to care for him when he grew ill? Was he sore? Did the weight of the pitcher and the water make him hurt? Did he have a headache? Richard's gaze darted to James' twisted mouth as he scraped it on the ground. Richard bit his lip, and then leaned forward to touched James' arm, quietly asking for James' attention.
"No, nothing of concern. Are you well? You seem ill at ease. Can I help? Maybe we can look at my leg later. Let you rest a while?"
"Fine," bored. Cooped up. Trapped. Restless. They didn't even have books to read so Richard spent his day playing cards with himself and cleaning. Just the easy things, otherwise Bel would lash his ears and threaten him with ropes. She probably would after his foray out today.
"I've been fine. You?" Richard leaned over his leg and rolled up his trouser leg to reveal the bandages subjected to his restless sleep. Bruises bloomed from the edges of the bandages.
"Who looks after you if you get sick?"
Richard held the basket in his lap, one arm around it to stop it from dropping and his other hand roaming within it. Blue green mint that was good for tea and meat and left it's scent on his fingers. Sore throat and nausea. Purple-pink vervain made from clusters of five petaled flowers. Bees liked this flower. Richard had watched a doe pick through vervains and a bee tumble off the flower as the doe unsettled the stem. Vervain, good for the stomach. Chamomile, as pretty and as cheerful as a daisy. It tasted like the sun and wild fields. Headaches and relaxation.
"My leg's itchy," Richard answered. "And is a little sore." His voice was still subdued after bring chastised and guilt wriggled in his gut for being a disappointment. He hated that feeling, it made him feel like a child and not a man grown.
"Do you have a stressed patient?" Richard asked, wanting to shift attention away from himself. "With the kind of stress that makes for sore stomachs?"
"It's not the same," Richard noted but his shoulders drooped as he stepped inside. He rubbed his hands and shuffled on his feet, eyes downcast as he responded to James' mood and grew withdrawn.
"What are they useful for?" Richard asked quietly and sat on the same place that James had bandaged his leg, mere days ago. He was suddenly conscious of how the edges of the bandages were loose from his trying to scratch. He usually caught himself while he was waking, but he scratched in his sleep and he was a restless sleeper anyway. Tossing and turning and generally not being settled enough for leg healing.
He fidgeted and watched his knees.
Richard thumped his chest and strode up to James. He smelt of green things and dirt, the pleasant aroma of herbs wafted around James and made Richard want to stick his face in James' basket. It would probably make him sneeze though and Mr Davies would look even more alarmed.
"She did, doctor. She did," Richard admitted and set both of his hands back on his hat. "But I thought I would save you the trouble! And besides, I've been resting for days now. I shall go mad sir, mad, if I am cooped up much longer." Richard paused for breath.
"And shouldn't I be exercising and getting good air? It's healthy for me isn't it? What are you cooking?"
Richard, a restless man, put on his new hat and his old 'city clothes.' A patched jacket and long shirt. No chaps but comfortable boots. His leg ached and itched but it was manageable. So rather than do what his sister said and wait around the cottage for James, Richard went to the surgery. He went whistling, his hands in his pockets and a jaunty tune on his lips. It was the hat. It was a fine hat that protected his neck from the sun. It was nice to have his beard and hair trimmed again too. It made him feel clean and civilised.
It was too nice a day to be cooped up anyway. The sun bright, the sky clear and birds wheeling and calling above the sounds of hammering, sheep and horses. Richard dodged the muddy main street and went by way of the long grass that tickled his fingers. In fact, he came across a wild flower, pretty and red. Richard picked it and then found an empty bottle that he also picked up. He put the flower in the bottle and put the bottle beside James' front door, to brighten it.
Then he knocked it and took off his hat, holding it in front of himself and looking around him, now that he was more sober and conscious as to take in details.