Disclaimer: Pirates of the Carribean is not mine. No characters within are mine. Captain Jack Sparrow is not mine. I will keep repeating this to myself until I stop squealing whenever I see him . . . (I am a grown film student! This is just embarrassing! Although, judging from the responses I've seen from forty-five-year-old married women when I mention Captain Jack, it's not necessarily surprising . . . .) I lay no claim to any character belonging to any canon used herein.

Obligatory (and, as-usual, excessively long) Author's Note:

Avast and ahoy, ye scabrous dogs! Welcome to Skybright Daye's first Pirates of the Carribean ficlet! Seein' as how this is a bit of a special occasion, and in an attempt to set this fic off from all the rest of the flotsam and jetsam in this category, I thought I'd liven things up a bit with a little Pirate Quiz.

(My co-muse, Spot [the Ruthless Attack 8-Ball] suggested that a bit of Rum and a brawl would liven things up better, but he was outvoted by myself and the other co-muse, Einstein [the Stuffed Green Alien Plushy]) So here's a few questions to keep in mind while reading!

A) Who is the storyteller?

B) Who is the storyteller's father?

C) Yes or no: Is there canonical basis for making Character B Character A's father?

Keep track of your answers, and at the end we'll tally up your Pirate Points t'see who qualifies as Cap'n of Pirate Lore!!

But for now -- on to the fic!!

And A Silver Sixpence in Each Shoe


Somewhere Southeast of Tortuga

May 24, 17 --

Just After Five Bells (10:30 pm)


It's night on the Black Pearl, a dark, warm night -- but then they all are, this time of year. I sit with my back to the mainmast, waiting for my watch to come around. The Pearl rocks and sways beneath me, a quiet breeze playing in the great black sails. The stars are like a scattering of diamond dust on black velvet and the moon is round and full, bright as a new sixpence.


Without thinking I lean over and slip one of my shoes halfway off, fishing around inside until I pull out a small coin. Then I repeat the action with the other shoe and hold the two coins up to the moon's pale fire. They gleam brightly in the light -- the unmistakable shine of silver.

The only silver he ever gave me.

Two silver sixpence. Mama used to let me hold them and shine them with my chubby child's palms, until they shone bright as a pair of stars. My dowry, she called them.

Or, more to the point, "The only t'ing your good-for-not'ing Papa leave you for a dowry, Bebe."

I don't know why I've kept them all these years. There's been plenty of times when two sixpence would have bought me a hot meal or a place to sleep. But I've kept them safe -- usually in my shoes -- ever since the day my father returned from his big voyage . . . .


He'd left months earlier with the word "treasure" on his lips, and I half-expected he'd come home draped with diamonds and golden chains. But he didn't -- he stumped in through the front door of our tavern with only his own bags draped over his shoulder, wearing the same clothes he'd had when he'd left and looking an ocean older and sadder. Captain Flint, Papa's grey parrot, screeched with delight and fluttered to his old perch above the bar. "Sunk off Tortuga! Sunk off Tortuga! Pieces of Eight!"

"Aye, Cap'n." Papa chuckled wearily. "It's home we are at last, though not with the treasure I'd expected."

I ran to him then, begging to be held -- for, treasure or no, Papa was my favorite person in all the world. At seven years old, I wanted nothing more than to follow in his one-legged footsteps, to sail the seas with the "gentlemen of fortune" whose stories he told me as he tucked me in at night.

Mama had come in from the back room by now, and she frowned as she leaned against the bar -- but she said nothing. It was I who finally begged the story out of him.

He told us everything -- the voyage, the lengths he'd had to go to for the location of the island, and all that had happened once they'd got there -- the mutiny; the mad marooner who had nearly cost Papa his life; the quick, honest cabin boy who had saved it.

And the treasure, more than any man could hope to dream of, gleaming like so many bright stars . . . .

"In my hands, it was." Papa said sadly. "An' it slipped right through. There's nothin' t'show for it, Lass, save these and a handful like 'em." And he'd pressed the two sixpence into my hand. "Nothin' save a few 'andfuls of silver an' gold." Then he chuckled again.

"I 'ad t'leave the silver behind." His laugh deepened, as it did sometimes when something struck him as funny. "Jus' imagine, Lass! 'Twas the silver I 'ad to leave behind!"

I didn't understand quite what the joke was, but I laughed anyway as I clutched the silver sixpences to my chest.

Those and my papa were all the silver I needed.


Mama had expected more, had been lured by Papa's tale of a fortune in buried pirate's gold. She'd thought to live like a Queen on an island somewhere, rich enough to be treated like a lady born rather than a scullery-maid's daughter. The money Papa had brought back was enough to live on for years, if spent right -- but it wasn't the fortune he'd talked of, and it wasn't enough for her.

Not long after that we left Bristol forever, sailing on a swift ship across the endless ocean to the islands Mama had come from long ago. Those were the last happy days -- aboard that ship, with my father always there near me to tell over the name of each sail, the tying of each knot, the thousand tiny details of running a ship. He told me the last stories there, too -- "Bo' sun with England, then Quartermaster with Flint. That was my story, Lass."

We reached Kingston in late summer, settled into a house by the quay, and Mama took a job as a barmaid. Papa took odd jobs as well, but there was little work to be had for a man with only one leg. And Mama's tongue, sharp at the best of times before, had taken on an acid quality that struck to the core.

A liar, she called him. A lazy, no-good freeloader. A seducer of innocent women -- the laugh he gave her for that one was quick and harsh. She cursed the day she'd met him -- and she dragged me into it, as well.

"You give me a child, don' do notin' to care for her! You t'ink you're doin' the Bebe any favors bein' here? You do better to leave her for good -- then maybe she not be so crazy to follow you' t'ievin' ways!"

Finally one night he came home, threw a bag of gold coins onto the table. The bag burst open and the money scattered, rolling all over the place like sparks from a fire.

" 'Tis me pay f'r a voyage." He growled. "See to't ye spend it on the girl, and make it last." Then he'd knelt clumsily to embrace me one last time.

"Ye keep ye sixpences, Lass. They'll make ye a dowry someday, so's ye can marry better than did ye Mama."

That was a kind of a joke -- he'd never married her, never given her his last name or any promise of always coming back to her. He walked out that night, and Mama cursed him for a dead man.

"The good-for-no'ting fool, what he do for you, Bebe? You don' speak his name, Bebe, an' don' be t'inking he'll come back."

And he never did -- but that didn't stop me from watching by the docks, listening furtively to the talk of sailors. I heard his name a hundred times as I grew older, from quick wary men with filthy clothes who sailed on ships that carried no real cargoes. Some said dead -- hung at Salem, at Portsmouth, at Port Royal; shot in a brawl at Tortuga or killed in a shipboard battle off Hispaniola. Others said he'd gone back once more to the cursed island and sailed back with a fortune in bars of silver.

Silver. That was what else those wary men spoke of -- silver, gold, jewels, the plunder of every seafaring nation, there for those who were bold enough to take it. The word pirate they never uttered ashore, not in a respectable town like Kingston. Instead they said buccaneer, privateer, or (most often) gentleman of fortune. That was the phrase he'd used, laughing as he dandled me on his one knee.

"And will ye be a gen'leman o' fortune like yer Papa, Lass? No! A gen'lewoman of fortune, I guess ye'll be!"

I never saw him again, and Mama spoke of him only once more. The night she died his name was on her lips, not with the curses she'd used last time but with tears and a soft, sighing sound like wind in the sails.

I left the house that night with nothing more than the clothes on my back, the sixpence in my shoes, and what money Mama had kept and saved. I cut my hair short with Mama's sewing shears and hid what little figure I had under loose clothes, then ran to the docks and bought passage on the first ship outbound for Tortuga.

Tortuga! It was the Promised Land to me, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a "gentleman of fortune". My father's grandest stories always started there, where the fleet craft of the Brotherhood of the Coast dropped anchor. I knew that at Tortuga I could find a ship that would take me on.

And I did. At first I went by a man's name, but within a few years I realized that the Brotherhood of the Coast cared little for such things -- man, woman, black, white (or both!) -- if you were bold and smart and quick in a fight it was all that really mattered. Tortuga became my port-of-call, piracy became my life. I was a gentlewoman of fortune, just as my Papa had said I would be.

More than once I've had offers, and if I really wanted them to my two sixpence would make a good enough dowry -- but it's another call I've chosen to follow, another love I've given myself to. The same love and the same call that took my father back again and back again to the living that took his leg, his marriage, and most likely his life as well.

It's the love of the sea and the call of the treasure that pulls me, not the sweet lies of a lover or the shine of a pair of bright eyes. I think my father intended the sixpences to buy me a good safe shorelife -- but instead they awoke in me that fierce, hungry desire for treasure that drove him all his days.

I'm Quartermaster myself now, on a ship faster and finer than any my father ever served on. Share-and-a-quarter of any and all plunder, and the trust of a fine Captain to boot. But still the greatest treasure I've ever touched is a pair of silver sixpence, and the story that came with them.

It's six bells, my time to go on watch. I stand, stretching my legs and letting the breeze touch my face. It's a wild life and a free life and I can't blame him for loving it, for following it, for dying of it. I stoop and tuck the silver he gave me back into my shoes. Then I stand again, and the treasure I took from him plays across my lips in a smile. I throw my head back and tell my name to the topsail, letting it loose to play among the Pearl's black sails.

The name he didn't give my mother. The name he didn't give me. The name I took from him anyways, because the silver he gave me wasn't enough. I took Silver from him, as well.

"Anamaria! Anamaria Silver!!"

Then I laugh, and I almost can hear him laughing back.

Anamaria Silver. Born a pirate's daughter, to live a pirate's life and love what a pirate loves most.

The call of the sea, and the feeling of freedom.

And the ever-bright shine of silver.


The End


Okay, kids, let's do the scoring!

Here are the questions again:

A) Who is the storyteller?

B) Who is the storyteller's father?

C) Yes or no: Is there canonical basis for making Character B Character A's father?

If you knew A, give yourself 1 Pirate Point

If you knew B, 3 Pirate Points

If you answered yes to C, 5 Pirate Points

2 extra Pirate Points if you knew A BEFORE the last paragraph of the story

5 extra Pirate Points if you knew B BEFORE the last paragraph of the story

- 7 Pirate Points if you STILL don't know B!

And 3 Pirate Points if you know the rhyme from which the title is taken

So how did you do?

- 7 to 3 PP's : Sorry, mate -- you're a landlubber! Ye need to try brushin' up on yer sea-lore an' spend less time starin' at Orlando Bloom!

4 to 9 PP's : Not bad -- ye qualify f'r a man before the mast. Set yer mind to it an' ye could rise t'Quartermaster yerself someday!

10 to 15 PP's: Ahoy! Quartermaster ye are, an' no mistake! Tis' a fine head f'r charts and tales ye have, matey!

16 + PP's: Captain on deck! Ye know yer pirate lore, mate -- hats off t'ye! Arr!


Ooo-kay, and . . . Stick a fork in me. I'm really, really done.

Hope ya'll had fun with the fic and the quiz . . . Drop a review (hint, hint) and let me know!