Aug 21, 2019 9:28 AM
Fabulous Rebecca encounters the Napoleonic wars
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Rebecca runs away from the convent before she's been there a month and a half.

She's lucky in her timing fetching Catherine; Beth hands her through the window and puts a pillow in the baby blankets to make it look like Rebecca broke in on her own whenever the baby's found missing, and Rebecca makes a run for the harbor. By the time she gets there it's really obvious she doesn't have any milk left after her absence, and Catherine's wailing heartbreakingly with hunger, but Rebecca shouts over her to get passage on a ship for the value of the coins she took from Father's hiding place in the yard, and once she's aboard she can listen and watch for other babies, offer smilingly to trade off nursing them with the other mothers, and if there's five women nursing five babies and only four of them have milk that should work out, shouldn't it?

The trip is long. Catherine grows, Rebecca measures her against her arm, but then before they get where they're get going Catherine gets sick. She just keeps getting sicker. When she won't try to nurse any more Rebecca kind of knows.

Rebecca wakes up in the morning and sees herself all grimy and pathetic-looking on a backdrop of stars, and she wonders if she'd be able to nurse Catherine back to health, if she weren't just pretending - she doesn't know how to do it, she fiddles with her chest until she thinks it feels familiar -

- she blinks away the stars and Catherine already isn't breathing.

She doesn't remember very much of the next few days but more or less comes to with a piece of salt pork in her hand and one of the other women sitting next to her, rocking her still-healthy little boy.

Rebecca eats her salt pork and gets up and goes over to the railing and decides that if jumping in the water makes her not want to die any more she can just turn into a mermaid, now, can't she, and she jumps.

She turns into a mermaid and claws her way back up the side of the ship once she's got her legs back and one of the crew sees her and tells her they'll pay her if she gets wings and warns them if she feels bugs. She says all right. She sits in the crow's nest with beautiful angel wings, white edged in gold, waiting to feel something.

They're not far out from port; she doesn't notice anything before they arrive and she collects her money. She goes out and spends it immediately on a hot dinner and a room and a chance to sing for somebody who bills himself as an agent.

A week later she's been on stage just once and he's coming at her and it's no longer even thrilling in addition to frightening, it's just plain repulsive and dreadful, and she's cleaned herself up enough by this point that she can -

- well, he doesn't chase her.

She goes back to the harbor in her blue-marble Grecian dress, angel wings spread a little, and walks up to the first boat she sees. She'll get out on the water again.

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Something seems to be holding the monster in place. If she looks up, she'll be able to see Emma hovering a hundred feet or so above the surface of the water, pulling it into a massive current. It's taking all her strength to just to keep it in place. 

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Rebecca steers clear of Emma so the monster won't be able to get them both in one grab, and wheels around - she's not good at hovering - to get another angle of view. The monster is shaping itself against the current, getting narrower to cut water resistance and get to the ship, but hasn't managed to slice through the tide yet.

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Emma sees what the monster is trying to do and redirects the current to push against the monster's length, angling it away from the convoy. 

Another ship is visible in the distance. A series of flags start to run up the Clarence's mainmast. Rebecca probably isn't familiar with maritime signaling conventions; if she is, she'll see they spell out SEA MONSTER - AID REQUESTED. 

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She's not really looking at the mast anyway, she's looking at the monster, freezing it as fast as she can.

It shoots out a tendril toward her with astonishing speed; she drops, more than dives, to get away, and has to spend the next fifteen seconds recovering and dodging sideways to avoid a second grab before she's back at the altitude they've been maintaining.

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Little Kitty Tilney darts across her field of vision. She's wearing an eight-year-old girl's interpretation of a Royal Navy captain's dress uniform. The coat terminates in a full skirt, with lace. There is a remarkable quantity of gold frogging. She looks very determined. 

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"- Kitty! Kitty, you don't even -" She's not sure what Kitty doesn't even but she certainly doesn't even something. It's likely Kitty can't hear her, though, the noise of the water freezing and rushing in strange directions is tremendous.

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At least Kitty is staying high, tossing spars of wood and bits of shot at the monster from hundreds of feet in the air. 

Another ship is visible in the distance. Rebecca doesn't have a glass, but Captain Price does, and he can see they're flying a French flag. 

He turns to his first lieutenant. "Make ready to fire the first broadside." 

"But, sir - " He doesn't need to finish. They don't have enough powder to engage the monster and the French. The noise will draw the other ship to their position. The girls are holding it off - for now.

"Tell Mr. Baynton he may fire when ready." 

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Rebecca, for her part, hopes the other ship is going to send them some backup, because she can't freeze this thing very quickly relative to its size, especially not when she keeps having to flinch aside as its shape ripples.

The monster tries diving.

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The water under the Clarence swells and rises. Emma falls back to the surface of the water and starts wrapping the monster in current to keep from surfacing under one of the ships. She gestures frantically at Kitty, who seems to understand - and shoots off in the direction of the French ship. They won't be able to reach the battle in time, but they must have magical girls. She hopes. 

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Rebecca can't just outright stand on the water, but she can alight on some rigging, close enough to the surface to track the monster by swarmsense and keep freezing bits of it, especially any bits that reach up.

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That's helpful! Emma follows her lead, focusing her attacks on any part of the monster that looks likely to surface. It's working so far, but she can't do much about those lightning-fast tendrils except dodge, and her reflexes are getting slower. 

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Rebecca's not sure how much effort it takes Emma to stand on the water, and if something happens to her that messes with her magic it'll get harder, maybe impossible, very suddenly; she makes her an ice platform near where she's at to step onto.

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Emma lands on the platform and seems to slump. She might have nodded at Rebecca gratefully - it's hard to tell, with the spray and the rising waves - but after a minute she's off again, always keeping in contact with the water's surface. 

If Rebecca turns around, she'll see a V-formation in the sky. Maybe birds, maybe magical girls. It's hard to tell at this point. 

The water under the Albemarle starts rising alarmingly. 

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Rebecca takes off again, skims as low over the water as she dares, keeps trying to freeze chunks of monster when she can catch them.

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