Chapter 3. Hammers and Tongs
The two blacksmiths who also improved their skills on metal-working from the old country, hammered chains and formed links that they created out of the most crude of metals.
Sounds of arguments between the big men, occasionally a comment about the clan of the other, but never did it come to blows. They were friends, cousins even, but their thought processes were different.
This difference gave them an advantage in their forge and foundry. They learned to live as contemporaries of the shipwright Conn O’Danu, they took to his way of thinking outside of the normal traditions of their craft.
In their hands, metals were as clay was to the sculptor.
Bronze spikes, cast and forged, reheated and forged again. Many of the pieces ended up in a pile of ruined designs and sent back to the foundry for recasting.
They built one ship at a time, it would be sailed by Conn and then torn apart. The evolving shapes became a predator with no equal, with speed and power, bred by complexity. The crew fought as much with the ship as they did with their victims. The ships built by the shipwright were always victorious in a lopsided battle, but the village knew could do better.
By profanity and hammer blows. The latest rakish ship took shape. Local native tribes extracted promises from Conn would make the men in Red Coats pay for the broken promises.
Keegan, returned from the sea with more than a hundred of the children that the families accused the English that Parliament took the children, promised the leaders of retribution during a great council meeting. The oldest and wisest of the leaders offered drink of a steaming cup out of a fire and then the men smoked a pipe that was as long as his Bradan’s grampa’s pipe, but more solidly built.
When offered to Keegan after the council. The younger O’Danu choked and vomited outside of the circle of men, who all thought it was of great humor.
All but the eldest, who other community people called “Indian”. The council explained did not like the term, thus the Irish Conn and his son Keegan strove to avoid using it.
The day came, the father and son walked with the warrior prince of the tribe. The highly intelligent native sat on the new ship and spoke in Gaelic with Conn and his son. Directing them that to strike a blow against the redcoats would need a fist. The ship represented but one finger.
“Build another. One for adults.” The Great Prince said. It was not a a suggestion.
Conn stroked his chin. Before the evening was out, Keegan watched the elder version of himself speak with the tactical genius. The first truly new world ship began to take shape.
In the hidden cove, where Irish, German and the original residents of the lands, built two ships, the Blackfish and Cúliath.
Sister ships, one for the fathers, one for the children who refused to let the warm beds and fine meals deter them from the rage that they felt, a call to return and save those that were left behind because the Grampus was too small and out-matched by the navies of England, Spain, France.
This knowledge did little to soothe the pain in the hearts of the children, grown too soon.
Men and women of the communities up and down the bay supported the children as they came and went. Famous returning from an impossible life, the communities became igorant when the English or Spanish visited, looking for the Irish children who escaped slavery.
No one knew or heard of such children except from the two warring Empires.
The only united front the colonial powers shared, was the hunt for the hellions that sank so many ships of the empires.
Captain Elliott, in service to his Parliament, and whose mission is to find the children and bring them to justice in the Courts. He left the bay once again in frustration, no one admitted to have seen such children. No news of the small ship, stolen from a merchantman had, seemingly, vanished.
Captain James Elliott looked over the maps and gave a big sigh. Could it have been the children fell to the treachery of the Atlantic and perished? Had they become part of the vanished souls and ships that happened every year?
Two hundred children, with skills that would make any navy envious, engaged, sank or stole ships of the Navy Royale were the most wanted pirates in the western Atlantic. And he was tasked with the job to capture the one that was whispered to be the son of the devil. A redheaded youth that was known as Captain Mac Díoltas, the demon of the sea.
No one knew where he had come from.
Some said that he was one of the spirits that the Deputatum Rex of Ireland was killed by a curse on a village. Others whispered that his name, which meant “Revenge” in the barbaric langauge of Hibernian isle.
In command of the Black Eagle, he was positive he could capture the boy-pirate and bring him to justice at the end of the hangman’s rope from the yardarm of his ship, the Black Eagle. He was proud of his frigate-built warship, with it’s own list of victims from the Spanish, Dutch and French navies, few ships on the water worried Captain Elliot.
But, Conn O’Danu had drive and focus unlike any other ship builder and Captain Elliot would soon learn the lessons that other seafaring warriors had discovered. The ships from the new world were not to be discounted in a fight. Diarmuid An Dubh and Nial Gabham stood side by side while they directed the teams to build what Conn asked.
As a shipwright, Conn O’Danu never backed down from his strange ideas. He built ships that could turn in their own length, sail close to the wind with unheard of speed.
It made Conn smile when the sounds of the blacksmith shop rang all day
He enjoyed the sounds of the hammers on the ships. They were hammers that the empire would hear from the America’s to London.