Revenge of the Fox

Chapter 1

Author's note** Please keep in mind that I do not own any of the characters of Pirates of the Caribbean, and I am not making money off this.

It was a dismal evening in a rather dismal tavern. The rough hewn benches and tables were battered and scarred, and strewn with dirty dishes and bits of discarded food that no one had bothered to clean up. The fire choked in its own ash, and the cheap tallow dip candles sputtered sullenly. The rain streaked down the grimy windowpanes. The whole place reeked of stale beer. The young nobleman sitting at one of the tables looked completely out of place in his velvet coat and lace cravat. Seemingly unconscious of his surroundings, young Lord Marlby prattled enthusiastically on and on, describing the ship he'd pinned all his dreams of adventure on.

"I've named her the Lady Fortuna, of course," he beamed at his companion. "And a lovely lady she is! We'll have a splendid time in the West Indies, and end up as rich as Midas."

His companion was nowhere near as young or as enthusiastic, but he summoned up a charming smile. "Of course you will! Give me some time to round up a suitable crew, and we'll be on our way."

His lordship pulled out his purse and dropped several silver coins on the table. "Shall I meet you here again next week then?"

"Yes indeed, my lord. Until then." Reynard watched the young fool exit the tavern. The dolt had just spent his entire inheritance on a ship. Well, if the idiot boy wanted to go to sea, then Reynard had no objections. He'd come up with a suitable crew, all right. Even in merry old England, suitable men could be found. Suitable for his own purposes, that is.

Idly he glanced at the pages of the newspaper the lad had left on the table. A name jumped out at him, and he stopped to read the announcement more carefully.

"The Honorable Mr. Weatherby Swann, Governor of Jamaica, proudly announces the betrothal of his niece, Miss Antonia Swann to Commodore James Norrington of Fort Charles in Port Royal, Jamaica. The happy couple met aboard the privateer vessel, The Black Pearl, manned by Captain Jack Sparrow. The bride will be attended by her cousin, Mrs. William Turner."

Reynard sat back mulling the information over. Norrington. Sparrow. Turner. He looked again at the announcement, noting the date of the wedding. Hmmm. Time enough.

--

Once again, the grounds of the Governor's house in Port Royal were decked out in white satin and flowers for a wedding. This time, however, the Governor was more pleased by the bridegroom. Last year, he'd met his long lost niece, Antonia, the only child of his younger brother. Commodore Norrington had rescued her, in rather gallant fashion, and the two had fallen in love. After the initial shock, Governor Swann had been delighted with his niece, taking her to his heart and home. Today was her wedding day. He glanced at his watch. He hoped she'd be ready soon. The wedding was due to start in less than twenty minutes.

--

Antonia sat at her dressing table, while her maid finished arranging her hair. The glossy black locks had been pinned and curled and arranged in an elaborate style just waiting for the sheer silk organza veil that lay draped over the bed. She stood up carefully, shaking out the white satin skirts of her wedding gown. "Thank you, Ellen, Mrs. Turner will help me with my veil. The maid curtsied and went out. Antonia smiled nervously at her cousin, Elizabeth, resplendent in her own pale blue silk gown.

"Were you this terrified at your wedding?" Asked Antonia.

"Oh, Tonia, everything will be fine!" Elizabeth laughed. "Now hold still, I've got something for you." Pulling out a small box, Elizabeth handed it to her cousin. With a startled glance, Antonia took the box and opened it. Inside was a pair of pearl and diamond earrings. "They're from Will and me," said Elizabeth, taking the box back and lifting the earrings out. Leaning forward, she fastened them to Antonia's ears. "A gift to mark your wedding day. I knew they'd suit this dress," she said stepping back to admire the effect.

"Oh, Elizabeth! Thank you so much!" Tears brimmed in Antonia's eyes and she reached out to grasp Elizabeth's hands. "And not just for the earrings. You've been so good to me!"

"Don't start crying," Elizabeth ordered. "You don't want to get married with red eyes, do you?" She leaned forward and kissed Antonia on the cheek. "I'm so happy for you, and so happy for James. You two deserve each other." Turning, Elizabeth walked over to the bed and lifted the veil. As she did so, a movement caught the corner of her eyes. Her head jerked up, and she saw two men slip into the room through the open door to the balcony. Even as her mouth opened to scream, she saw the pistol aimed at her head.

"Don't be making a sound, lass," warned the first man. He came forward toward Elizabeth as the second man started for Antonia, taking her arm and holding a knife to her throat. "Now, you would be Mrs. William Turner, am I correct?"

"Yes," Elizabeth whispered.

"Excellent," said the man. He was only slightly above average height, but his air of authority made him seem taller. Sharp features, black hair and cold gray eyes. "I'm assuming that the blushing bride," he indicated Antonia, "is your cousin Antonia Swann, so there is just one lady left to join our little party. " He came closer to Elizabeth and rested the muzzle of the pistol gently against her neck. "Now, what I need you to do, Mrs. Turner, is to go to the door and call for whatever servant is nearby. Tell that person to go fetch Mrs. Sparrow and ask her to step up here." The pistol pressed harder into her flesh. "If you try to warn anyone that we're here, I'll have my confederate here," he gestured to the man holding Antonia, "cut your cousin's pretty throat. Do ye understand me, lass?"

Elizabeth looked over at Antonia. She was standing still as a statue, her face as white as her gown. The rough looking man behind her held her left arm behind her back, and held a knife against her throat. "I understand," she whispered.

"All right then." He stepped back a pace, and gestured her to the door.

Elizabeth opened the door slightly and looked out. "Ellen?" She called. "Ellen, are you there?"

The maid appeared at the end of the hall. "Yes, ma'am. Do you need anything?"

Elizabeth managed a smile. "Would you go find Mrs. Sparrow and ask her to step up here for a moment, please? Thank you." She stepped back and closed the door again.

"Well done, Mrs. Turner," purred the dark haired man. "Now we wait."

--

"I cannot stand this dress," complained Annamaria. "Why did I let you talk me into this?" She looked with distaste at the wine red silk gown.

"You look lovely," said Gwen, unperturbed. She herself was wearing a brocade gown the color of pine needles, trimmed with gold braid.

"The neckline is too low. I feel ridiculous." Gwen just smiled.

"Excuse me, Mrs. Sparrow?" Said a voice nearby. Gwen turned to see a maid standing there. "Mrs. Turner asked me to fetch you upstairs to Miss Antonia's room."

"To Miss Antonia's room?" Gwen repeated in puzzlement. "Whatever for?"

"I'm not sure, ma'am. Shall I show you the way?"

"Yes, thank you." Gwen turned to Annamaria, "Excuse me, I'll be back in a moment."

"I'm coming with you," said Annamaria firmly. "If you think I'm going to stand around in this crowd alone wearing this dress you're insane."

"Where did Joseph take off to?" Gwen asked as they moved toward the stairs.

"I suspect he's in the stables. I had to force him to come at all."

"Why didn't you let him stay aboard ship if he's so uncomfortable?"

"If I had to come to this thing, he had to come. I wasn't going to suffer alone."

"Annamaria, darling," said Gwen dryly. "You rarely suffer alone." They'd reached the upstairs hallway by this point. "Just point me to the right door," Gwen said to the maid. "I'm sure you have a great deal to do today."

"Yes, ma'am, thank you. It's the last door on the left." The maid smiled, curtsied, and hurried back down the stairs.

Gwen and Annamaria approached Antonia's door. "Elizabeth?" Gwen tapped lightly on the door. "It's Gwen."

The door opened rapidly, and Gwen had only a split second to wonder why Elizabeth's eyes were so wide and face so pale when she saw the pistol pressed up against her friend's temple. Gwen stepped back quickly, but the man holding the pistol spoke softly. "Come in, Mrs. Sparrow, or your friend will regret it." Gwen exchanged a quick, horrified look with Annamaria, but saw no option but to obey the command. Annamaria's first instinct was the reach for her sword, but instead of the familiar hilt, her hand only felt the soft silken folds of her gown. What a time to be unarmed!

Gwen stepped through the doorway, followed by Annamaria. Warily she scanned the room, noting that Antonia was seated at the dressing table, bound and gagged. The first man spoke. "Well, well. I set my trap for one lady, and reeled in two. Who are you, my dear?"

Gwen spoke quickly. "She's my maid."

He smirked. "A maid wearing silk? I think not. I've done some research on Captain Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl. This would be Annamaria Simone, would it not?"

"What if it is?" Annamaria answered coldly. "What is that to you?"

He laughed softly. "I'm Reynard the Fox, sweetheart. I have a score to settle with Captain Jack Sparrow. Not to mention bones to pick with Commodore Norrington and William Turner." Without turning he called, "Men, ready the ladies for their trip."

Several more men appeared from the balcony. Elizabeth, Gwen and Annamaria were quickly bound and gagged, and then all four women were wrapped in blankets. One by one they were dropped over the balcony into the waiting arms of Reynard's men and carried into the woods. Reynard placed a folded letter addressed to Jack Sparrow on the dressing table, and then he climbed down from the balcony and disappeared into the woods with his men.