The next few years are rocky, but everyone on the ship grows to love Astrid as if she’s their own daughter. Nuri uses cloth they steal to stitch clothing and toys for Astrid as she grows. They stay in calm waters to ensure that Astrid has proper time to grow up.
As Astrid begins to learn to walk and talk, Banor brings her down into the water every night. He floats on his back while Astrid lays on his chest, looking up at the stars.
“See those stars, baby girl?” Banor says to her one night even though he knows she won’t really understand. He points up at the stars and Astrid giggles, and tries to say ‘stars’. “I thank them every night because you came along. You’ve really changed our lives. Probably made us all a bit soft, which won’t be good for battle.” He laughs lightly to himself and tickles at Astrid tummy, just to hear her cute little giggle. “I’m glad you came along. Maybe you were just what we needed to bring us all closer together.”
Astrid’s bright red hair has grown out to shoulder length, and he has to brush it out of his face every time the wind blows. She’s absolutely impossible when anyone wants to touch her hair. Banor has asked Scarlet many times to try to tie her hair back, but whenever Scarlet approaches her with a ribbon, she says “No Scar.” Then she’ll giggle as Scarlet chases her. She always runs right to Fisher, who scoops her up, and then they both wag a finger at her until she smiles and gives up. Banor himself has tried to tie her hair back, but to no avail.
Astrid seems to love being in the water the most, already eager to learn to swim. She frequently goes to Banor and says “Swim, daddy, swim?” He rarely ever says no, so each of them spend most of their time in the water, occasionally joined by other members of the crew.
At first, Banor had been hesitant to have Astrid call him “dad”, but everyone thought it was fitting, because, one night when Astrid was asleep in her crib in the cabin, Scarlet said “You’re the best father figure she could ask for.” The crew had been quick to agree.
“I wonder why we haven’t seen Adrian recently,” Scarlet says one night as they sit at the bow of the ship with Fisher. Gil, Nuri, and Miacu- the medicine man, join them shortly after. Banor is about to reply when Nuri speaks up.
“You’ll be seeing him again. Not anytime soon, but when you do, it doesn’t seem like it will end well.” Her eyes are closed as she speaks. Banor shivers. Nuri gets “visions” sometimes and they are very rarely wrong.
“Well,” Banor says, looking around to see everyone looks fairly spooked. “If we won’t see him soon, there isn’t much use in worrying about it now.” He gets up and heads to the cabin to lay down.
Unbeknownst to the crew of The Amethyst, three months after Astrid’s arrival, Captain Adrian Sterling’s wife gave birth to a baby boy. Unfortunately, Jane- Adrian’s wife- died during childbirth. The death of Jane made Adrian bitter, more bitter than he was before. He didn’t bother to bond with his son, Silas, leaving the crew to either raise him or throw him overboard. Luckily, there was an older woman who lived on the ship who decided she would care for the young boy.
Read the next part!: The Blood of the Ships: Part Five and Part Six