7. Captain’s Log
The young man sat on the overturned bucket with a quill in one hand, a book in his lap. He leaned in his favorite corner, eschewing the captain’s chair at the desk.
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 above his ears months before, now hung down past his ear lobes, dipped the tip of the quill in the jar of ink and put the blackened tip to the parchment.
“Captain’s Personal Log:
This is the first voyage of the Blackfish, and my father follows in the Fearg. A sister ship to this one. We have come here to this spot from a journey that started 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 from his manubalista 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 Captain Christopher Myngs freed myself and my friends.
I found when I returned to my father in the Virgina lands of a bay they called Irishtown. A backwater behind a Dutch 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 older’s follow us, in the ship of my father’s 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 my mother’s fate and return her home, if I can.
I cannot watch my father walk as a man alone any longer, he weeps at night for the life stolen from him, he believes I do not see. But he is my father, I hear him at night, I see his eyes. The strain shows on his face.
This is not tolerable on a personal level.
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 called Francois Buile. He showed us that the ranges of the nine-pounders are near double of our last guns.
Granuaile has turned carriages of the guns into inventions 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.”
The ginger-haired youth rubbed his shoulder and laughed at his own humor. Looking 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 three cut-glass letters to remind a woman’s child of her name.
“Fey” in small colored cut-glass gems sparkled in the sun, it burned in his soul to see it.
Tracing his fingers over the inlay, the old anger rose again. He would get her back. They meant it as a gift to calm a soul, instead, it was a fan that increased the rage in his heart.
Sitting again, he 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 pejorative, 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, 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, Dutch have sown.
It us 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’ is pulling up along side and using the speaking-trumpet that Nial the smith made.”
Nodding, the captain of the Blackfish looked up 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.
Setting down his quill, the youngest captain in any fleet walked to talk with his personal hero.
Their next port of call: Germantown.