"There is too much blood!  They are both lost!"  The wailing of maids filled the room as the exhausted form on the bed gathered her last shreds of strength for one final push… and suddenly a high thin cry pierced the maids' weeping.  The midwife reverently wrapped the baby in a clean blanket and turned towards the new mother. 

            "You are fortunate, milady," she said kindly.  "A fine son."  The wailing of the maids slowly quieted down.  The midwife bent to hand the woman her son, but stopped when she saw that her eyes were blank and staring.  She pulled away and handed the babe instead to the distraught man who had just burst into the room.  "Raise him," she said simply before turning to close the eyes of the dead of the woman lying on the bed. 

            "No… she can't be…"  He began to sob, cradling his son to him.  The babe's anguished screams echoed through the grieving silence.

I am dead…

The babe was too much.

Choose.

What?  I don't understand.

You must choose.  Will you pass on to the next world, or will you return to the one your son will now inhabit?

How can I…?

You will not be alive, yet you will be aware.  You will be free, and yet a slave.  You will be loved and hated, feared, attacked and defended.  You will live a long, full life, until once more you are killed and sent here to choose again.  Will you return, or will you go on?

How can I leave my son behind?  Of course I must stay—to protect him.

Understand this:  He will not recognize you for who you are.  You may protect him, but your choice could also prove to be his downfall. 

I must be with him again. 

Very well.

            The boy grew.  He grew lean and wiry, with speed, agility, and strength.  His father taught him to think and to sail, and his friends at the pubs taught him to fight.  He grew up without a mother, but the whores of Tortuga took pity on him and adopted him, as he had been the son of one of them.  The son of a pirate and a prostitute, born in a town that was a safe haven for cutthroats and thieves.  Such children do not survive long without protection, and the whores well knew it, and provided that protection.  The boy grew to love the life he lived, always on the brink of madness, a path that many muttered his father had taken years ago. 

            And along the coast, on the far side of the island of Jamaica, newly colonized by the British, in a large town famous for its shipwrights and sailors, a fantastic vessel was built.  Christened the Seagull, she was designed for speed, and for power.  The shipwrights who built her expected a huge offer from the British Royal Navy for the Gull, and spent weeks celebrating after she departed on her maiden voyage. 

            She had been feeling her awareness grow for a long time, as does someone who slowly awakens from a deep sleep and cannot quite remember where they are.  She tested her new form, tough and sleek, well-polished, ornate, and huge.  She felt the awarenesses of the hundred and twenty seven men who walked about on her decks, and she felt the mind of the captain, a strong, military man, and she was afraid.  She could not understand why she was afraid, but she thought that he might hurt her, or someone she loved.  However, she sailed for him, and she felt the pride of her sailors when her reputation as the fastest ship in the Caribbean spread.  She reveled in the freedom of the seas, and flew like the ocean bird she was named for after pirates and thieves.  For some strange reason, she felt regret at knowing that the men she caught would be killed, and sharp stabs of fear and guilt troubled her constantly, although she did not know why.  However, these feelings faded after a time, and she grew cold and heartless, much like the man who captained her.  Much as any human who chases and kills pirates must.

           

            "Jack!"  The boy, though startled, did not twitch or show sign of recognition as he finished picking an unsuspecting victim's pocket before slipping away to find out who had called his name.  He searched the crowd carefully, before he saw Mirette, a prostitute who was among his flock of adoptive mothers in Tortuga.  He wormed his way through the noontime gaggle of thieves and cutthroats on the streets, who were all either inspecting tax-free wares and contraband or recovering from hangovers before their captains set sail again. 

            "'Allo, Mirette," he grinned at her, pocketing his pickings, the mischievous look in his eyes stronger than ever, but his grin faltered when he saw the look of shock and horror on her face.  "Mirette, what's the matter?"

            "Jack… oh, Jack, it's your father!  I heard it from Scuttle… I didn't want you to hear it from him, oh Jack…"  Jack's eyes widened as the prostitute burst into tears.  Mirette had a stout heart and a firm chin; not much could shake her confidence.  Then his father…

            "He's gone, isn't he?"  Jack stated dully, his voice cracking.  He let Mirette gather him into her arms.  "When?  And how?"

            "It was the Seagull," she whispered.  "She's the fastest ship in the Caribbean, you know that.  The poor old Wench was no match for her.  Oh, Jack, I'm so sorry…"  Jack pushed her away, his eyes hard. 

            "I'll get him for you, Mirette," he said fiercely.  "I'll tie a cannonball to his hair and throw him to the sharks.  And I'll capture the Seagull and turn her to pirating.  That's proper and fitting, isn't it?  She's done enough work to kill us and our kind, let's let her work for us for a change.  Goodbye, Mirette."

            The seventeen year old boy left behind a few saddened prostitutes who quickly got on with their lives.  It wasn't much of a family, but it was all Jack Sparrow had, now.

            It took four years for the scheme to be completed.  The first year to devise it while running from place to place, learning to think the way everyone else thought and learning to turn their way of thinking to his advantage.  The second year to find a crew, with the courage and fortitude to stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death.  The third year to find the ship they would need, large enough, strong enough, with enough firepower to cripple a ship of the British Navy.  A ship like the Seagull, captained by a man so evil, in the eyes of the men who sailed under Captain Jack Sparrow, that Hell itself had spat him back out.  They spent the fourth year attacking towns and settlements, thieving, vandalizing, burning, until the law was desperate to catch them.  Then they planted hints, clues, tips that told the men of the Seagull where Captain Jack Sparrow was going to be.

            Naturally, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

            She was excited.  The crew could feel it, but then they were excited too.  They were close, very close, to catching the pirates and earning the glory that successful hunters always earn when they bring back their kill.  Their lust for blood and battle grew, but they had no way of knowing that their Enemy's bloodlust had been growing for four years, carefully tended until it had the strength of a wildfire.  A wildfire fed by a need for vengeance.

            "Sail ho!  It's the Seagull, Cap'n!"  These were the words that Jack had waited four years to hear. 

            "Make ready the guns!"  He roared.  "Keep her steady and fire on my command!"  His crew roared an affirmative and gleefully scrambled to follow orders, eager for the coming battle.

            When the Seagull was in place, both captains roared the order to fire almost simultaneously.  The battle was quick and bloody, and she could feel cannonballs ripping into her sides.  She groaned in anguish as shot after shot was fired from two sets of cannons, and man after man died, both soldier and pirate.  Then with horror she felt grapnels clanking with deadly accuracy, and the terror of having filthy pirate boots walking on her deck.  She listened fearfully as her remaining crewmembers were rounded up and shot one by one, until only her faithful captain remained. 

            "Captain Shore."  The pirate captain bowed mockingly before placing his sword at the throat of his quarry.  "You have murdered many good men, Captain Shore, and you have sunk far too many good ships.  My associates and I—" he gestured elegantly at the rest of his ragtag crew, who laughed cruelly.  "Have sentenced you to death."  He pulled the British captain to his feet and yanked him close to whisper in his ear, "you killed my father.  Now die so that his spirit can dance on your mangled and bloody soul."  And blood dripped one more time onto the deck of the Seagull, a twisted tribute to all of her past victims.

            "I hereby claim this ship and everything aboard in the name of myself, Captain Jack Sparrow, and my fine crew," cried the pirate, and the ship despaired.  "And as she is now a pirate vessel, she needs a proper pirate name, and therefore—"  He grabbed the ale flask from the belt of a nearby corpse and emptied  its contents onto the deck.  "—I hereby rename this ship the Black Pearl."  The crew roared in approval and hoisted their new sails as the smoking husk of their former ship sank into the depths of Davey Jones' locker.

            Over the next several years, Jack made a name for himself and the Pearl, and grew to love his ship more than anything in the world.  The devotion he had for his ship, or perhaps her presence in his unknowing mind, made him grow to be disgusted at the lengths he had gone to for revenge.  He never spoke of that episode in his life again, but the crew remembered and grew angry when he no longer showed a legendary bloodlust.  They mutinied and left him to die on a lonesome island,  and he realized that he would stop at nothing to get the Black Pearl back.  For ten years he followed her, dodging in and out of the noose, until opportunity once again presented itself for him, and once again he sent a man and his crew to their deaths.  This time, he did not regret it.

            She had come to remember a past life in which she had known this boy who grew to be her captain, known him and yet never met him, and she realized that this was why she had felt fear of the Navy, remorse for her pirate victims, and terror that she might kill the wrong man, as she eventually had.  For Jack's father was the man—the pirate—she had killed among countless others, the man she had loved and given a son to. 

            Because even a prostitute on Tortuga is susceptible to love.  Even the love a mother bears for a son.  Especially the love the Black Pearl bore for Captain Jack Sparrow, a love he undoubtedly returned.