This ship is alive.

I can feel it.

The ancient wood pulses with a dead vitality all its own, untouched by tempests or hurricanes or punishing gales. It is not an inanimate object, stupid and blind to its surroundings.

And yet, it is not truly alive. Not in the human sense of the word. But there is more than one definition of consciousness, is there not?

The scientists of old used to speak of a theory they called "spontaneous generation." It was the belief that something as cold and inert as a stone could spring to life and grow. They used it to explain the presence of lichen on rocks. I believe the ship can be explained by a similar idea. It is not alive in any recognizable sense of the term, but possesses awareness of its environment and the "intelligence" to manipulate it. It has a mind, fueled by magic.

And a voracious appetite, as well. It feeds heartily on human souls, almost faster than I can replace them. Sometimes I recruit sailors one day and find their empty, mutated bodies the very next, sacrificed to this hungry organism. I walk past men every day who have been so absorbed into the ship that they can only drool and chant.

Will this ship ever take a liking to me? What if it decides its captain will be the next victim? Will it ever want my soul?

This is not an idea I am going to entertain. Hopefully, I have enough control over it to deter any attempts at mutiny.

I can–will–hope. It is all I can do.