Godarya lit the last tealight and sighed, watching it bob for a moment in the bowl of viscous black dreamstuff. The new moon was a good time for her sort of magic - the less-than-pleasant sort. And there was little less pleasant than the nightmare plague.
She rested herself on the floor and closed her eyes, breathing in to gather the magic in her lungs, thick and heavy and stinking of blood and fear-sweat. War nightmares, it seemed. All the better for cursing with.
"With fouled breath so full of cursed rages,
With sopping souls that drip with long-turned wine,
Hear my curses til your final moments:
Pirates, be now maddened till you die."
The magic shaped every syllable; every line shaped the magic. A short spell, yes, but very effective in her experience. And in its own way, it was fitting for her role as her father's shield.
The best defense, after all, was poison in an enemy's veins left long before they knew you were there.
Maybe this wasn't as honorable as all that - and honor was, after all, what she sought to be remembered by. But there was even less honor to be had in not using her talents to their full extent. Her mother's magic was a gift - it would be poor form not to make use of it.
Her familiar poked its beak out from its nest, interrupting her musings with a screech.
"Be quiet," she muttered irritably. "I'm working."
"No. No more magic, you said. Not tonight, you said. Not without the birds, you said."
Godarya sighed again. "I changed my mind," she explained for what felt like the thousandth time. "I can help like this. In a way no one else can match."
"No. You help with messages. No one else on this ship can talk to birds like you. Or fish. You help navigate. Why curses?"
"Because it stops us from having to fight. There's no need to lose any of our lives if we don't have to."
"Excuses," it snapped. "Curses will come back for you down the line. You'll lose yourself to them. You know it."
She blew out the tealights one by one, leaving them floating in the bowl. "Be that as it may," she said, standing up and shaking her wings, "it's my duty to help Father however I can. This is one of the ways I can, so I must. And that is that."
It helped if she told herself that was that. Even though she knew her familiar was right. Her curses would come back for her eventually. She just hoped it was far enough down the line that they wouldn't catch anyone else in the crossfire.