Chapter 2: Heading West

At this time, and for the hundreds of years to come, it would be associated with bad luck to include women as part of the crew. But Captain Bloodspatter was, as I said, a man ahead of his time, and although the gender distribution was limited to a single woman on board, she had at least an officer's position as the ship's cook. Myself as the newest recruit, was immediately set to peel potatoes and turnips. This suited me very well and gave me plenty of time to get to know what it was like to work for Captain Bloodspatter on board his ship, which I quickly learned was called 'Black Blood'. It was also a great help that the chef, who the crew only called the Goddess, was exceptionally talkative when it came to life onboard.

The Goddess was a colorful person who made my first weeks on board to a little adventure in itself. She was loud and noisy. If any of the crew complained about her burnt lasagna, she gave them a slap in the face, and no one dared resist the one who served three meals a day. The blame for any burnt meal was placed on the ship's used equipment. Which, admittedly, was well used, but as a galley boy, I was constantly witnessing how the Goddess constantly dreamed herself away from her job and fell into her memories of chalk-white beaches in the warm Caribbean, which she had obviously put her love on.

Initially, the Captain had decided that we should use the Norwegian coast while we were after all on these domestic tracts. Then we were to set course for the frozen Greenland and on over to the land of the Indians, which today is known as America. No matter how long the Norwegian coast is known to be, it will be small in the big world picture. In a couple of short weeks we had passed the coast, or what at that time was worth taking with us. After passing Tromsø, a small trading town along the northern coast - where we by the way witnessed the local people conduct a series of witch burnings, as we loaded the ship full of provisions for the long trip that lay ahead of us. I noticed on the crew that the voyage we now embarked on was not a dance on roses. Only those with the greatest courage would set course Northwest before the ice had really let go in the waters to the North. The captain, on the other hand, was determined to reach the land of the Indians in good time, so we could plunder their valuable treasures while the population was still tired after a long and energy-exhausting winter.

The time aboard had probably been harder at the beginning if it wasn't for that I quickly got me a friend. The young man that the first night stood next to me proved to be my closest allies. His name was Simen and was also quite new among the crew. He had only been on board for a few months and was in many ways as new as myself. When I arrived on board I took over his job in the galley, but for dinner there was still a great need for help in the galley, and then it was the sim we called. Now, Simen was upgraded to the night watchman, that is, who was responsible for keeping a watch at night. Therefore, we shared the bunk, Me and Simen, I had the bunk at night and he had it during the day. The time in between, when we both had time off, we spent together. He was from Denmark and had been brought in to the crew the same way as myself.

The other pirates on board were also nice to me. All in all, the days went fast, and before I knew it weeks had flown by, and we had to dress in fur coats to keep warm. Having hunted a couple of polar bears in the area around Spitsbergen and Bjørnøya we sailed onto the amazing land of Greenland. Here were just a couple of places where humans would reside, and it was not necessary to plunder them. They volunteered from what they had left of both clothing and food to escape Captain Bloodspatters cruel ravages. Up there in the north, it was about surviving, and for the natives we were the biggest enemy one could ever imagine.

On our Southbound journey, it proved to be quite the adventure. The winter storms had yet to let us rest and the sea we experienced on the western side of Greenland was a furious one. The Goddess swore and had her words with the Gods above as she cooked for the crew. Not only did we get burnt food, but also plain potato soup scooped from the floor. No one dared to complain, the Goddess forbid it, and one evening she threw one of the crew overboard after having complained about hair in his polar bear meatballs. The man was never seen again and Captain Bloodspatter just laughed when he heard the news. Lesson learned; You never complain on the one that feeds you. 

Our next stretch was long, cold, and not exactly filled with a lot of events. Mostly we saw open water and ice in the distance, analytically a whale but we had no space onboard to take on such a large animal for food. Eventually we did however pass by the straight parting Europe from the American continent. The currents here was ravishing, but our crew and our proud ship held together, and not long after we entered land of Nova Scotia. Our fight-ready and hungry crewmen did what they do best by pillaging and rob the villages we encountered for anything of value. Already I could see how our storage of gold and treasures of all kinds were growing in our treasure chamber.

Simen, the Goddess and myself proved to be quite a team. In time we learned to let her know minutes before the food got burnt, and after a while she decided that I should graduate to a real cook instead of peeling potatoes. Instead we got one of the young slabs called Morten to help out with the peeling. Morten was a quiet guy, and one who was obviously not really a man, but he dressed like one and acted like one and we all treated him as one - and with that my thoughts were that he was happy. Now in the latter days we understand more of this, but at the time of the 1600-hundreds a person like Morten was perfectly normal to be part of an including crew like ours. Simen was busy doing his night shift jobs. But i was forever happy when he crawled in next to me and fell asleep holding me tight. 

At sea, our days very much was the same over and over again. I was happy the days where we had calm seas and we had good winds to take us where we wanted. Between the storms we made rapid progress toward lands I'd never even known about before my recruitment. I seldom offered my family back home a thought. It was hard to think about, but I had promised myself that I send mother and father the gratitude I'd receive. Somehow. Simen had it much in the same way, but unlike my own mother she had made resistance and Bloodspatter himself had killed her in front of his eyes. He had therefore developed a certain grudge against the Captain that would later come into play.

Blæik was keeping a tight ship. Along with his strong and musculus officers Varg and Snorre, who were twin-brothers, he made sure that everyone was taking care of their responsibilities. Varg was the strongest fighter onboard, the one responsible for training and execution of our heists as we went along. He was not a man to go against and the crew had grown a deep respect for his fearsome persona. Snorre on the other hand took care of provisions and the logistics of our long weeks at sea. He was the one to make sure that the Goddess had enough potatoes for her infamous horrible potato soup, and that enough gunpowder was stored below deck.

Knowing your place was the most important rule. And the barrels of rum didn't make it easy on long passages. Once a man I'd never talked to before picked a fight with me. And if it wasn't for Simen that night, I'd be speaking to angels that night. The drunken man jumped me as I was crawling into bed. He pushed me against the floor and said he was ready to relieve me from my pain. I hadn't felt any pain at all and was surprised by the mans accusations. But the man insisted I had a whole lot of pain and it wasn't before Simen jumped out of our bed with his knife ready to attack that I understood that the man himself was the one in pain. Sadly he never got to explore this pain further, cause both Simen and Varg himself made sure the man never lived to see another day.

Other than these minor mishaps, life onboard went on smoothly. Once you learn that your life ain't worth a thing on its own you were set up to succeed and with this I started to play my role as a pirate for real. I believe this is the first time I thought that I'd be able to off another man without feeling regret. Since then I may have killed hundreds of men and women. I've never killed a child, but then again, never been put in a situation where this was required. I was, and am to this day, a full blooded pirate. In modern times I am not necessarily proud of my doings, but not ashamed of them either. You have to live your life by the cards you are dealt, and these was mine. At the time.  

The general rule onboard was this; As long as we made more than we spent, Captain Bloodspatter was happy and the crew was well taken care of. But while sailing the stretches of nothing but nature and ourselves we started to feed on each other. Just in the first couple of months onboard I saw many a crew go down in favor of the stronger opponent. At times the crew behaved as wild animals and as part of the crew, now counting well over 150 men, I bettered be careful on how I played my game. But things were about to change, we were heading for the Caribbean, a land I'd never heard of. But since the Goddess spoke so warmly about it, I warmed up and had expectations that I never felt disappointment of. From my inexperienced and newly acquired pirate's view.

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