Chapter 1. New Threat
Tongs and hammers, wood and copper, iron and wood, the ship took shape in the backwater of the great bay, hidden by the local geography, the ship grew in its lethal shape for a lethal design.
The hull was knife edged, a keel that resembled the fin of the largest porpoise in the world’s oceans. The Blackfish grew in shape and deadly purpose. Conn O’Danu paced as he directed the carpenters to follow the measurements and drawings to the bitter-end of each page. There would be no gaps, no errors. Conn used green, live oak for the frame and hull of the new ship, stout construction to the extreme. No guesswork allowed, each measurement was made by standard marks on flat sticks and small knots on cords.
This pleased Conn, this oak of the new land demonstrated itself as a resilient wood and made for the tightest construction he ever envisioned possible.
In the course of the construction, the men and women adults felt need to build a ship, the urge to build came from Keegan, who reassembled the crew of children that had returned home. Their mission, the small ones had decided, return to the islands in the south and rescue their friends, mothers, fathers and all their families that remained.
The children, parents found, while still children in their bodies, had matured into adults far before their time. The New Model Army took them as babes needing their mothers for slights and scrapes, the children returned as pirates that the naval powers feared. Pint-sized warriors willing to fight and take wounds, to bleed for each other and what they felt as a righteous mission. Mothers and fathers, sadly, took months to learn the precious innocent children were gone forever, replaced by hunters and legends. They were threats to all on the ocean.
The cruelty of the Empires of the world had taught them how to sail and fight. Now, they were punishers of the sea, and to the sea they would return until that which the Empire had stolen were all returned.
Copper and iron metal heated and hammered in place. Diarmuid An Dubh and Nial Gabham, the two talented blacksmiths of the village, made connections to other artisans of metals and the powers of Hephaestus, forged with imagination the plates of copper they attached to the hull of the ship. A ship which they hid in the back-waters of the bay.
Ideas from the boy who brought the children home, copper scales nailed on the bottom of the ship’s hull. Copper nails held the dinner-plate sized copper ellipse shaped scales in place. Brass and bronze nails driven in measured distances by carpenters and craftsmen. The builders who followed what Keegan O’Danu and Dana, who the O’Danu’s had adopted as one of their own, showed where to drive the metal spikes into the wood.
Under the shade of a nearby tree, as word spread, children gathered by ones and twos. They were returning, time for retribution was at hand.
Mothers with fear in their hearts, tried to pull these children who gathered in the clearing. Children, those that had been lost and then returned, who still carried a fire in them that frightened most adults.
Such anger, taught by the Empires of the sea and this New World that they colonized. Taken for slavery and pleasure, a life was worth less than the sweat it took to pull a knife from a sheath.
Fathers pulled on children who turned and looked at the patriarchs in the eye. In the child’s eye, an unwavering fury danced in each of their hearts. The souls of a generation pushed beyond civilized limits, filled instead with the single thought.
Retrieve that which was theirs.
Parents words of denial and demands, spoken of in angered whispers as families tried to rebuild. But no one denied that each family was still rent and torn with missing members.
These were children who learned a mission. Their first mission was to come home.
A new call to arms, a new mission, flames of deep, unremitting anger sparkled in youthful eyes. Confidence that only the young had, and a fury taught equalled only by the devil himself at those who raided their villages.
The followers of Cromwell, the devil of all the crimes against this group of children that despised the soldiers in red and the Rump Parliament who followed after Pride’s Purge. The efforts of a few had instilled such anger in a whole people.
And the growing Empire successfully angered two groups of people to that point in its history.
The Great Scots of the North and the Highlands and the entire Hibernian isle.
The Governor of the colony could not know of the return of a crew of children on a ship that was like no other.
In time, despair would settle over the hearts of Governors and Ministers alike in future days as rumors of the hell-ship, named Blackfish, a fast and lethal warship that sailed the waters of the West Indies came to their ears.
But we are getting ahead of the story…