So I set out on a mission of revenge. We shunned all other goals but hunting down the ship that had taken our men and my wife. We tracked every pirate ship we heard rumor of, and hunted every trace of a legend about a ship driven by a song or a pirate that seemed in tune with the elements. At first, we operated within our jurisdiction, bowing to the crown’s demands when they sent us against a specific ship or asked us to mind a certain vessel, but as time wore on we grew less patient with these errands. They started to feel more and more like a distraction. And, it turns out, the crown was growing weary of us. They began to hear tales, reports from ships we escorted that ran into trouble or whispers at ports that made their way back to England. We were growing more angry, more focused, more violent. By the time we received orders to turn the ship over to a new crew, we were much farther gone than the Navy realized. I sent that messenger back with scars he would never shake and we were gone before the new captain could even try to walk onto the ship.
I suppose, by their definition, we had become something of pirates ourselves. But we didn’t care. The more ships we burned, the more men we slaughtered, the more trails we followed that led us nowhere, just served to steel our resolve. Every once in a while we would find them, the Heretic. We would realize we were drawing close, and prepare for battle, and then they would vanish into a mist or fly away on a wind that only served them. Always we were left behind, always with Ingrid’s song tickling our ears. Some men grew to hate her voice, to hate her, and I was beginning to have trouble convincing them otherwise. It was too much, we couldn’t stop, they couldn’t separate her from the work of the Heretic, not after coming so close yet again. We never looked back. I suppose there must have been something broken in all of us that finally snapped.
Six years we spent in this way. Hunting, destroying, taking our supplies from the pirates we killed and avoiding the English navy wherever possible. We started to go mad out there on the water, avoiding land, forsaking everything we had committed ourselves to protecting. When one man finally realized what we had become, and urged us to go back and rethink our quest, we left him on a lonely patch of sand with a bottle of rum and a pistol with a single shot.
No one challenged our mission again after that. It took me another hundred years to consider the idea he may have been right. But none of that mattered, not then. After a while, I think some of us forgot why we were even doing it. What we were after. What we wanted out of it. We gave ourselves over fully to the destruction, and we took our reward in blood. By the time we finally found the Heretic and managed to make it fight us, we were barely more than animals.