Note-Inspired, of course, by Blue Wind.

Ilse hated spring and summer. Autumn she could tolerate, it they bought with it whispering winds and the soft crunch of leaves underfoot, and the smell of rain after a storm. Winter was the best time of the year, she thought. Those were the days when she would drink herself into a stupor with the Bohemians, and those long dark nights and days full of cold air and snow. Both the drink and the cold numbed her, and that was what she liked about it. With numbness, you could forget everything that had ever happened.

But when spring came, it slowly nudged away the winter chills, and then she could get as drunk as she liked, but it was never the same. Spring was the worst. It held too many awful memories. And summer, with its long, painful nights that made it impossible to sleep for fear of dreaming. Those were the nights when she dreamed her father came to her bedside again, and she awoke in a cold sweat, crying out a choked scream.

They always wanted to paint her in summer, too, paint her with as little clothing on as possible, because they said the sun gave her a beautiful glow. Like last year, when they'd wanted her as Eve in a tree, almost naked, with a rotting apple in one hand and a coil or rope for the snake, and Henry had leered at her the whole time he was painting until she wanted to snap the canvas in half, and had crooned "Treacherous Eve, deceitful child…oh, my pretty one, my beauty…" God, how she loathed being called beautiful. It reminded her of her father, yes, but it also made her wonder how they thought she was beautiful when it was obvious she had blood on her hands. When they smiled upon her, so forgiving and gentle, and said "Move a little to the left, Ilse" she wanted to scream at them, for how could they not see that she was a murderer?

For she had murdered, there was no doubt about that. She'd been looking for a saviour herself that night, and she hadn't noticed that he needed one as well, and she'd been so harsh with him and hadn't looked back when he called out to her. Why didn't she look back? God, they could have saved each other. And so she killed Moritz Steifel, the little boy who had played pirates with her when they were little, because she was selfish and haughty, and she regretted it so, so much. It had been spring then.

And then Wendla had died, too. Anaemia…well, Ilse knew that just wasn't true. She didn't know what her friend had died of, but she knew for certain that headstrong Wendla Bergmann wouldn't let a simple case of anaemia finish her off. And Wendla was strong, stronger than all the other girls. When they were little, she had wanted Wendla to join her pirate gang because of it. It was a select group of just those four: Ilse, Wendla, Moritz, and Melchior. Boys against girls, and the girls always managed to get the better of them because Moritz was a terrible fighter and Melchi was just too humble.

Oh, God, and Melchior too! He had just vanished, into thin air, a short while after Wendla's death. Their whole pirate band - the children who were stronger and more likely to roll their sleeves up and tackle things than the others - were dropping like flies. The ones in the front line had all been taken down. And now she couldn't survive much longer. They had played as pirates, once, as children, when they'd not realised that the battles were real. She should have stayed behind, and protected them. Brave little Ilse would always go down with her ship, but older Ilse was afraid of the world and all the evils in it, and she had abandoned her crew.

"Ilse! Can you keep your head steady, there's a good girl!"

Ilse held her head up for Cornelius, her red hair whipping around her face with the cool afternoon breeze.

Sometimes she felt like it was spring and summer every other day.