The young man sat on the padded seat with a quill in one hand, a book in his lap. He eschewed the captain’s chair at the desk, and preferred instead to sit in his favorite corner.
The Blackfish was making way nicely, and his view of the ocean from the stern of the ship made his soul feel free with the expansive view when the storm doors were open.
His long crimson hair, cut short the months before, now hung down past his earlobes, he dipped the tip of the quill in the jar of ink and put the blackened tip to the parchement.
“Captain’s Personal Log Of Keegan O’Danu:
First entry, and the first voyage of the Blackfish, and my father follows in the Cúlaith. A sistership to this one. We have come here from the start of years ago.
Nearly half my life.
A summer day when my father went out with a ship that he had built. He was gone when the English came and destroyed my village.
I saw my seanathair lay on the ground with a bolt jutting out of his chest and the soldiers that beat my mam into the dirt until she stopped moving. In those days, I thought she was dead.
I woke up on a slave-cart, I still carry the scar, hidden by my hair, where the soldier hit me.
When I came home, I found that my mam, taken by the English, was in the islands where my old friend Captain Myngs freed me.
I found when I returned to my father in the Virgina lands of a bay they called Irishtown. A backwater behind a German settlement.
I sit in command of this new ship, a crew of twenty and one hundred of the old crew. Only twelve adults serve on board. The balance of older’s follow in my father’s ship of his design.
We return in force, with my old friends Anna God-Wants and Jacquotte Delahaye to find my mother, somewhere on the islands of the Caribs.
I will not rest until I find the fate of my mam and return her home.
I cannot watch my father walk alone any longer, he weeps at night for the life stolen from him, he doesn’t I see it. But he is my father, I hear him in the dark when he thinks everyone is sleeping, I see his eyes. The strain shows on his face.
I cannot watch my father suffer.
It fills me with a rage that keeps me awake at night.
My friends all have parents, brothers and sisters all still missing and we will return to collect them.
The Blackfish and the other ships can carry twice more than the crew who man them. Plus my plan will be to take ships on our return home.
Empires will tremble at the thought of our rescue. No navy will prevail against us. We have new bronze cannon built by the one my father calls Francois Buile. He showed us that the ranges of these new nine-pounders are double of our last guns.
Granuaile has built gun carriages of her own design. Adult men have learned to keep their distance from her.
My only pleasure around her, she has stopped socking me in the shoulder. My bruise is almost healed, but any man who hits me there now, will have a surprise. Unless he has hands of stone, I would not notice it.
Diana, who has returned to using her war-name of Angelcries has driven our crew as a stringent task-master. She follows my direction to the letter. She has a heart of a lion, even I am afraid of her sometimes. But she has stopped growing, I think. A year ago, we were the same size, today I am taller by almost a head while she has yet to grow to five feet.
The ginger-haired youth rubbed his shoulder and laughed. But when he gazed out over the water, the old melancholy chased away the smile.
Putting the quill into the bottle, he stood up and walked to the expensive glass window. An artisan, commissioned by the blacksmiths, made the glass into three letters to remind a woman’s child of her name.
“Fey” in small colored cut-glass gems sparkled in the sun.
Tracing his fingers over the inlay, the old anger rose again. He would get her back.
He sat back down and picked the quill out of the bottle and tapped the drop off against the mouth of the blown-glass bottle of ink and put it to the expensive vellum in his personal journal.
Turning the page, he wrote at the top of the page:
“Captain’s Personal log of Keegan O’Danu
I miss her, I can remember my mam’s eyes and her laugh. I was only nine-summers old when we were taken. I will find her and bring her back, if only for my athair. A son should never see a father broken. Slavery should never be a market and I will free anyone that is in service against their will that I find, so long as I draw a breath. Slave ships will be my prey, anyone who flies the flag of empire will strike colors on my approach.
The Pirate Kingdom of the Sea will hold sway. Free people will embrace the name.
Everywhere they use the label pirate as a perjorative, I will embrace it as freedom.
Until my Mam is home, I will walk the decks and sail the seas until I am too old to chew my food.
Many years ago, to me.
My máthair was taken.
The English declared war on our village.
Today, I return to get her back. The Spanish or English and any who strike with the might of an empire, just because they can, I will make tremble with fear to sail these waters with their flags flying.
My father and his crew accompany us in thinking they protect the children.
We are the seeds of crimes that the Spanish, English and the Dutch have sown.
It is up to the children to protect the fathers.
I will continue to use my war-name given to me by the Quartermaster of the Marston Moor.”
A member since the first tour on Grampus she had no fear of anyone, Beth Angelcries stepped through the door.
“Keegan, your Da’ has hailed us using a speaking-trumpet.”
The captain of the Blackfish nodded. He smiled into the hazel eyes of the girl who had shown such fury when they made their way home, causing Keegan to redefine the term in his mind.
Looking down, he finished his entry.
With the support of Anna Marie and Jacquotte we will stop at the harbor of Germantown and meet with those children who stayed behind and were adopted when we left their village last year for the Chesapeake.
The adults in that town invited us to return when we wished. It is something I do wish to do, there is a debt of help I owe to the families there.
He set down his quill, the youngest captain in any fleet left his journal to talk with his personal hero.
He would discuss their next stop, Germantown, with his father.
The discussion would be from an adventurer sailor to a citizen sailors that was the fathers and uncails of the Cúliath, the swift, long legged canine used to chase prey.
It was a happy meeting. The crew of the Cúliath showed interest of the small village of Germantown. The people that helped their sons and daughters.
Fathers let the children lead, for they had been here before. Protected by the women pirates, the fathers sailed with the Wrath leading and the Scorned following.
Conn laughed at the names. THe women silenced him with looks alone, and would brook no arguement of the joke regarding the nature of the ships christening.
He was reminded, he and the other men were the students, his son and the women that protected Keegan, were the masters.
It made him smile.
His son the Master.