Some say she never existed at all, that she was just a tale made too big to go away and disappear into the grand blue. She had no name — or, if she did, it was lost to the waves which claimed her — but she was known. Women like that didn’t just charm men with their rouged lips and their pretty words; it wouldn’t have surprised any of us if she charmed the sea with a shanty she had heard on the winds, born from the mouths of sirens who sung our sailors down to Poseidon’s gate.
Some say she was just a girl with her daddy’s pirate hat perched on her red curls, an eyepatch for play on her left eye. But anyone who saw her walk would know she moved with purpose, a short sword bouncing from its place on her hip, every step drawing closer to her heart’s desire that lay on a torn treasure map. Treasure may have been every pirate’s deepest desire, but the chase was just as fun. She never let us forget it when we were just boys aboard her ship. We would watch her with our baleful eyes and hope that we would be treated like pets instead of scurvy dogs left to starve.
Some say she was enchanted by the sea, the way she leaned into the salty wind and breathed in like it was the finest perfume the world could offer. The breeze would tease at her tumble of curls, and some of us young men fancied she’d look our way just once. It would have been an honor to share the captain’s cabin, even if only for a night, but no one ever dared approach her. She was untouchable in the way that a goddess might be in front of mortal men. But we never let her out of our sight, like we could protect her when really we should have known better. She could have bested any of us and thrown us overboard for good measure.
Some say the locket she wore was charmed by the sea witch who lurked beneath the Tempest Circle. When a storm would threaten on the horizon, our dear captain would clutch that locket for all it was worth, and somehow — miraculously, every time — we would avoid the brunt of the tumult that overturned greater ships than ours. When I asked her if it was enchanted, she laughed at me as if I were absurd. “The gods don’t give a damn about us,” she said, “and the same goes for sea witches.”
Some say we dreamed up such a lady, one who held our respect so much that we gladly would have walked off the plank…