Why is the rum gone? It's all in the Pirate Refuge's basement!
Tucked away in a side alley of a secondary street, one only finds Pirate Refuge when you are lost or specifically looking for it.
Rose was lost, or well, she didn't feel comfortable on the main street of Great Yarmouth. This was the first time out of the Netherlands after her running in, and escape from, the police. And although technically she was a free person, she was on her guard.
Pirate Refuge drew her attention. How could it not with that name?
Rose spun around, her mind jumped. There were only two people in the entire world who called her by her second name. Her father used to do it when he was angry at her, but he had died, and the dead did not speak out loud. And Marsh, the former second mate of the Sunset Dawn, who after he found out her second name, did it to tease her.
And there he was in this English back water pub, a smile from ear to ear, still as round as a warm Marshmallow, doing justice to his nickname.
“Candy cane.” Rose replied. Using the first alias she could think of, Marsh would’ve called her Rose if it was safe to do so. “What on earth are you doing here?”
“Having a drink with an old friend, you should join us.”
Rose followed Marsh to the back of the pub, where they passed through a door. Rose didn’t even realise it was there. It was just as brown and mucky as the wall panelling. Down a few steps and through a long corridor, they entered a back room. Which was in a much nicer state than the drinking room in front. Sitting at a table in the far corner was Bobby Smith.
“Ah, there you are. You took a mighty long time to take a piss.”
-“I found a friend.”
“Yeah sure, who do you know here?”
“Uhm hi” Rose stepped out from behind Marsh’s shadow.
Bobby’s jaw dropped. “Captain! What, how?”
“I didn’t know you two would be here. I just came for a drink.” Rose responded, holding up her glass of apple juice.
“Sit, sit, please.”
“You know what she just called me, Bobby? CANDYCANE!” Marsh laughed while tapping his round belly with both hands. “Me! A Candy cane!”
From the front, it looks like a small old building, and the façade is old. What is behind the façade has been numerous times rebuilt, redesigned and altered. In 1938, the most recent major rebuild was done, although they kept it in a far older style.
The Pirate Refuge is actually multiple buildings connected. The front building, which houses the main entrance, is small, but then it is connected to a building behind it and several buildings beside that. Although none of the visitors know exactly how big the complex is, or are all aware they are in a complex of buildings.
Due to the Pirate Refuge being several buildings, there is a wide variety in shape, size and design of rooms. With steps up and down, floors being wood, bare stone, or plaster, the ceilings both high and low.
With multiple exit and entry points, most not even appearing to be part of the pub, the place attracts a wide variety of visitors.
Tourists rarely come further than the common room, unless the staff takes them elsewhere. But there’s also a gentlemen's club located in the complex. With its own posh polished door, and small interior garden. Most of the visiting gentlemen don’t even know their high status club is owned by a scrubby old pub located in a back alley. And a music hall, where bands perform and people throw parties.
Currently Roderic Red is the publican of the Pirate Refuge, and only he and two of his senior staff members know the full range of the complex. He has come to contract staff in groups, specified to the area they work. Sometimes they wonder through the corridors and accidentally sneak trough hidden doors and get lost and end up in another part of the complex, unaware that it is part of the Pirate Refuge, they will profoundly apologise go outside and return the long way round to the place they came from. Wild stories go around among the staff of secret tunnels and hidden passages that connect the old buildings together. Most of those stories are true. Most staff are happy to stay in their own domain, shaking their head at the old craziness and mostly unable to trace their routes when they try again.
The whole complex spans roughly four floors: basement, ground, first floor, second floor, with attics above that. Because of the old buildings, expansions, remodelling and different owners of floors in the same building. The levels do not line up vertically everywhere. And the toilets might just be above that boutique shop next door. Or was it the office above the book store behind?
“What actually brings you to Yarmouth? It’s not really the touristic season at the moment.” Bobby asked.
-“A job” Rose responded.
“What kind of job?” Marsh then asked.
-“Oh, are we doing the cross interview now? What’s next, good cop, bad cop?”
“A job for Richard.” Rose added after they both remained silent.
Bobby leaned back, relaxed, relieved even.
“So you went legit?” he asked.
-“Would they ask me for a job if it was legit?” Rose countered.
”Do you miss it?” Marsh asked.
Rose thought about that for a moment, did she? Did she really?
“Yes, all of it.”
“Yeah me too.” Marsh replied.
They both looked at Bobby, who slowly nodded in agreement. Then dug in his vest pocket, and produced a small plastic box with an SD card, and placed it on the middle of the table.
“What’s that chief?”
“All plans, drawings and data from the Dawn. A yard can rebuild her from this information.”
He swiped the box away again, and it went back into his pocket.
“I cannot let it go.”
The pub is named Pirate Refuge, because Blance White, the first publican, thought it was a cool name. He wasn’t inclined towards the illicit side of sailing in the slightest. To be honest, he never stepped on a boat in his life. He just liked to watch the ships as they passed in to the harbour or along the coast.
Rose was standing on the beach looking out over the North Sea. This small sailing trip she had done, to secretly ferry some people over for the Navy, had brought back the itch. She couldn’t stay at Doorwerth Castle much longer.
“Morning Captain.” It was Bobby who appeared next to her.
“I won’t ask how you found me chief, where’s Marsh?”
“Still snoring like a pig.”
“Aleksey found me. Did you know that? He travelled half the world on a hunch and found me.”
“That would make a crew of four. A good start.”
“Red sunrise.” Rose noted, while looking at the sun coming up.
“Red skies in the morning.” Bobby started.
“Sailors take warning.” They finished in unison.
“Would make a good name for a ship.” Bobby said after a minute or two.
The sun was already quite a bit above the horizon, and they were both still standing at the beach.
“Find me a yard, chief.” It was Rose who broke the silence at last.
“Aye Cap, I will.”
The sign of the Pirate Refuge is diagonally split. On the top left there are red-coated soldiers searching a street. And on the bottom right there is a drinking pirate against a cellar style background.
Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are a very standard dish for British pubs. One almost cannot see the one without the other. And with a name like Pirate Refuge, you would expect some seafood on the menu. But the publican is highly allergic to seafood, so it has been banned from the complex. Instead, Bacon, beans and egg is the go too food in the Pirate Refuge.
One exception is caviar, which is served in the Gentlemen's Club of the complex, which Roderick subsequently asks a lot of money for.
What, why is the rum gone?! Don't you worry, it's not gone, there is a special chart for it. As of course rum is a pirate's favourite drink, and to serve as many people. The Pirate Refuge has made it their business to have as many types as possible!
Yanna is the oldest staff member of the Pirate Refuge, and is secretly terrified of the alleyways, step troughs and passages. She always sends out the new people to go find stuff in the back. It is rumoured that Yanna has once been lost in the complex for a week before finding her way back into the Pirate Refuge common hall.
Thursday evening is game night. In several rooms different games are played, from poker to quizzes and darts to a fencing competition, but also table top games as risk and chess, and there is a hardcore group who plays roleplaying games. Depending on the amount of people, the games might take beyond sunrise the next day. Gambling is allowed, but you better pay your debts, or be banned from the Pirate Refuge.
Locally refered to as Yarmouth, is a harbour town along the river Yare on the English east coast. Once a prime location for the British Royal Navy, now there are just some fishermen, a few offshore vessels and a bunch of yachts left. With the opening of the train station in the late 19th century, it became a tourist attraction, with several beach resorts popping up accompanied by the industry surrounding those, including a promenade, theatres, museums and parks. Great Yarmouth is still a town which is favoured by both national and international visitors.
Wait, what was Bobby doing there? Well, having a meeting with Marshmallow obviously. But why there? Bobby is originally from Norwich, just some twenty miles away from the place. Maybe he just knows about the Pirate Refuge. Anyway, what he and Marshmallow were up to you can read all about here.