A/N: This is it, dear readers, this is the end. I hope you've enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it, and thank you all so very much for your extraordinary patience during the long delays. This story spanned my entire three years of law school, incredible as it seems. But law school does have a way of slowing one's hobbies down. I'm just glad I got it finished before the next movie came out! Thank you for reading and reviewing, and please do be so kind as to review one last time to give me your final thoughts on this tale!
Canon/History Note: The bit of history included about Kingston is true—the city was founded by refugees after the destruction of Port Royal, and would eventually become the capital of Jamaica. It seemed like just the place for Will and Elizabeth to start their new life.
Epilogue: That Rarest of Treasures
Kingston Harbor, Jamaica, June 29, 1692…
"Oh dearly beloved! We are gathered here in the sight of God, in the face of all these well-dressed fancy ladies and gentlemen, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable state, although by no means fer everyone!"
There was a fine, fair wind off the Caribbean, but it blow inshore, as if to acknowledge the wedding of a pirate's son to a life on land.
Kingston Harbor had been cleared of debris, and although many of the dead were still being buried, and the wounded still nursed, the water was clear again, and sparkled in the late June sun. One ship was anchored precisely in the center of the harbor while its crew was ashore: the Black Pearl, its sails furled away, its deck polished and gleaming, stood like a sentry behind the small gathering upon the beach.
The Pearl's captain, in the proper tradition of captains of sailing ships—even pirates—was also on the beach, uniting his first mate's son and the former governor of Jamaica's daughter in marriage.
"Y'see, friends, for those of us poor, sorry sots who do manage to get ourselves snagged by a lass need to remember a few things—being faithful and all that!" Captain Jack Sparrow addressed the wedding guests. "It's important, bein' faithful!"
The bride, in a simple white dress with white flowers in her hair, was desperately biting her lip to keep from bursting into highly-inappropriate giggles. Well, not that her manner of wedding was terribly appropriate to begin with, judging by the frequent winces of her father, but she supposed for his sake that she should observe some decorum. Her matron of honor, Mrs. Norrington, wife of the Commodore, was also managing some semblance of discretion, although she was laughing silently behind her hand, making it look like her light blue dress was simply fluttering in the breeze.
On Will's other side, Bootstrap Bill Turner winked at her, which nearly set her giggling again, and even Commodore Norrington seemed entertained.
"Because, my friends, love's a beautiful thing! Beautiful, love! We must all cherish it, even them of us what prefer a different sort of love than that which lends itself to marriage, eh?" Jack leered, and Weatherby Swann winced. Again. Anamaria snorted. "You'll see a lad sail to the ends of the earth for love of his bonny lass! Aye, and he'll battle the law and the very demons of hell for her sake! For love's a treasure, friends! Not all treasure's silver and gold, as I meself likes to say! And it's worth more to them that's willing to fight for it!"
Will looked sideways at Elizabeth and smiled.
"Oh, right, now's the important part. Ahem! Do you, Elizabeth, take Will here to be your lawful, wedded husband? To—uh, lemme see—love and cherish, that's right, have and hold, yeaahh," Jack began counting them off on the tips of his fingers, "for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse—not that we don't all hope for more good stuff than bad, love, but this is the sermon—and keep yourself only for him as long as you both live?"
Grinning broadly now, Elizabeth replied, "I do."
Jack winked at her. "Glad to see you finally got over me, darling! Right! Now, do you, Will, take this bonny lass to be your lawful wedded wife? To love and cherish, to have and hold, for sickness or poorer, in better or worse health, and keep yourself only for her as long as you both shall live?"
Shaking with the effort of containing his laughter, Will said, "I do."
"Aw, such an emotional lad! By the authority vested in me by the Code of the Brethren set down by the Pirates Morgan and Bartholomew, I now pronounce you—OY! Bloody hell, I almost forgot!" Jack exclaimed, slapping his forehead. Everybody jumped. "The ring!"
Bill quickly handed his son one ring, which Will slipped rather hurriedly onto Elizabeth's finger. She didn't dare meet his eyes as she did the same with her own ring for him, for she knew that she would start laughing if she looked at him. Still, the gleam of the simple gold band on her finger, matching the one on Will's, and the cool, metal weight of it, was a lovely thing in itself, filling her with a warmth that had nothing to do with the Caribbean sun.
"There we are, now that's better," Jack said. "Let's see, said the vows, did the ring, he does, she does—right. By the authority vested in me by the Code of the Brethren set down by the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew, as Captain of the good ship Black Pearl, I now pronounce you, Will and Elizabeth, man and wife!"
Despite the rather unorthodox officiant, the wedding guests sighed, and Lucy sniffled.
"Now kiss her, you fool!"
Will was happy to obey. And to Elizabeth's pleased surprise, it was her father who enthusiastically led the applause as they broke apart.
"Right-o, then, ladies and gents! Meet the new Mr. and Mrs. Turner!" Jack bellowed as the two of them faced their party on the beach. "Drinks! Drinks all around!"
As Lucy threw her arms around Elizabeth's neck with a squeal, and Bootstrap embraced Will, Commodore Norrington slipped into the wedding party and emerged with two glasses. "Captain Sparrow! Join me in a toast of the bride and groom?"
"Oy, what's this, Commodore?" Jack sniffed the contents of his glass. "Contraband rum, at a wedding attended by your most official self?"
"Worse than that," Norrington said gravely. "Obtained by my most official self!"
Jack saluted him with his glass. "Got yourself friends among the rum runners now, eh?"
"Hardly," James replied, with a glance at the wedding party as he sipped his drink. "Confiscated it."
That got a roar of laughter from Jack. "To you, me good Commodore, as I never had the chance to congratulate you on your own nuptials! Too bad I wasn't around to perform 'em, eh?"
The look on Norrington's face set him laughing again. "I think my tastes differ slightly from Miss Swann—beg pardon, Mrs. Turner's."
"The tastes of that pair differ from a lot of us, mate," said Jack. He nodded to Lucy, who was sampling her own glass of rum with Will and Elizabeth. "So your missus is staying on in Port Royal, then?"
James took a somewhat larger gulp of rum and looked somewhat displeased. "I wish I could give her a better life in what's left of this city."
"There now, man," Jack said, slapping his back. "If she ain't worried, why should you be? Look at those two!" He pointed at the Turners. "Nothing on this shore but tents and debris, but it's enough for them. And we pirates're dying out with the wicked cities, thanks to your navy's efforts." James actually blushed, but Jack waved his regret off. "It's no matter. We've still got the sea, and she ain't getting any smaller."
"Is that the faithful love you spoke of, then, Captain Sparrow?" Norrington asked with a smile, refilling their drinks. "For those unsuited to marriage?"
Jack raised his glass. "Aye-aye, Commodore! That she is! See, you and I're not so different as one may think! Nor the Turners. We all of us got that rarest of all treasures!"
James acknowledged that with a toast of his own. The contraband rum, a bit stronger than the drinks he was used to, made him slightly dizzy in the bright sunlight, but it also had him thinking. "And unlike other treasures, ours can never be plundered or frittered away."
"Right you are, mate!" said Jack, stumbling over to the wedding party to throw one arm around Will and the other around Elizabeth. "And that makes us all twice lucky!"
Port Royal Historical Museum, Jamaica, 1992
Dr. Alexander Cade had read Reverend Heath's harrowing account of the Port Royal earthquake so many times he could recite it from memory, so instead, he went to look at a copy of some of the Reverend's other writings. One in particular caught his eye, a piece from the records of St. Paul's Church that appeared to be nothing more than the Reverend's reminiscences of the years after the town's destruction.
The city of Kingston was founded in the hopes that its site would be better protected, both from the natural dangers that had destroyed Port Royal and the manmade troubles that plagued it. It is true that pirates were never a presence in Kingston as they had been in Port Royal, but the famous vessel with black sails continued to appear in the harbor quite often, to the point that the town's residents named the ship their protector rather than their enemy.
For nearly a year after the quake, the refugees lived in tents, but the town began its first serious signs of growth when Mr. Turner opened a smithy in what would become the main street of the town. The smithy is the centerpiece of the growing community, and merchants and gentry were not long in following. Turner's wife herself was a member of the nobility, or had been until her marriage, but neither the meanness of their circumstances after the quake nor the pressures of her husband's livelihood discouraged her.
The Turners had two sons and a daughter, the first of whom joined the British Navy and reached the rank of captain, the second who took up his father's craft, inherited the smithy, and a not-insignificant estate. The daughter vanished shortly before coming of age, amid great speculation in the town, but all her parents said was that she had gone to sea. However, it is noted in the town records that young Miss Turner's disappearance from Kingston society occurred at the same time as one of the visits by the ship with black sails.
Weatherby Swann left Jamaica with most of the other nobility after the quake and did not return, but dispatch vessels from England brought frequent letters from him, to the Commodore of the fort for delivery to Swann's daughter.
Commodore Norrington and his wife remained together at the fort until Mrs. Norrington's death. Like her friend Miss Swann, Mrs. Norrington forewent many trappings of her statement to remain beside the man she loved, and it earned her great respect among the Commodore's men at the fort. I christened their two children: their daughter Elizabeth, and their son James, who Lucinda brought into the world at the cost of her own life. Commodore Norrington left Port Royal and the Caribbean less than a year later, taking his two children back to England with him.
The ship with black sails is believed by some to be a mere myth, but I myself fancy to have seen it on several occasions. The heyday of piracy well and truly ended with the destruction of Port Royal, and although some among my fellow churchmen felt the earthquake was our punishment for the city's wicked ways, I confess to feeling a measure of sorrow for this strange, undeniably wicked, but yet somehow-alluring way of life. The mysterious ship, called the Black Pearl according to the men on the docks, is said to have never been sunk or captured by any country's navy, and sailed on across the seas as an ageless reminder of an era of lawlessness, temptation, and excess.
No honest man can deny the existence of that temptation, the specter of adventure that gleams like distant treasure. I myself heard a song sung in even the more refined streets of Kingston and Spanish Town, among the staid barracks of soldiers:
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me!