Her presence on the ship was a blessing we couldn’t overstate. Having people who knew about and accepted her ability to move the sea with her song took some time to grow on her, but once it had, she was finally free to act in the open without fear. She would sing twice a day, at morning and evening, just as a matter of course. She told me about it, how it was like a greeting, a regular communion with the water. It didn’t do anything for us, but everyone believed it did, and when we needed something more direct she was happy to provide.
Well it was about this time that old captain got a new commission from the crown, and we left cold European waters for warm American ones. We’d been protecting vessels, you see, keeping trade running smooth, keeping our goods out of the hands of the Spanish or French or whoever was in a fit with us that week. And as soon as Ingrid was on board, well, we sure made a name for ourselves. We were requested special by the king, I’m told, and sent off to mind the ships running about everything we could find out of the colonies in the New World. But that captain, he was a clever one, and knew we had an advantage. So he didn’t just accept the commission to protect some vessels now and then, but sought a new task we could handle between escorts. We became privateers.
So that became our lot. We’d set out from port one day and go hunting, and Ingrid, she could do more than sing to the sea. She could hear it singing back. And the sea had all kinds of things to say to her. She’d get us information on pirate movements, and off we’d go tearing through those black sails like they was paper. Spend a couple weeks asea hunting, then back to port where we’d rest a couple days while the captain checked in with the trade ships. If he got an escort mission, well, we did it, as was our duty to the crown. But if nothing turned up? Well. The real money was in privateering, anyhow.
The captain remembered where our fortune came from, and I made first mate when Mr. Covington ate a cannonball off the coast of Hispaniola. It was a few months yet before the captain was called back to England, and that left me with the ship. I had finally found a path into the captain’s cabin, and when I sat behind this desk for the first time it felt like a shock went straight through me. I knew I’d spend the rest of my life on this ship, if the Lord would let me, and I was eager to make the most of it.
When we got back to port after my first hunt as captain, Ingrid and I stole away to a Catholic mission outside of town and got married proper by a priest. It was the fifteenth of May, year of our Lord 1685 when she became Ingrid Connelly, and I became the most fortunate bastard on the waves. We raised hell that night when we returned to port, and by the time we made it back to my cabin we were both half drunk and ready to take on the world. I believed this was it. There was nothing more for it, my life and hers were bound together forever, and we were gonna make a mark on the world of pirates they’d never forget.
I think, now, they were watching us even then. There were people who pieced together that Ingrid was the key to our success, you know, and I don’t know how they did it. Maybe they heard her singing out there, maybe someone talked. Don’t matter now. What matters is, we made a show of ourselves that night, and I tell you someone remembered it.