A Gilded Cage: Sequel to Broken Wings, Part II of the Fallen Sparrows Trilogy

A Pirates of the Caribbean story by Merrie

Disclaimer: Jack, Norry, Liz, Lorelac, Barbossa and all others own me. I would never attempt to claim otherwise.

Summary: As a battle is waged for Jack's soul by all the angels of heaven and all the demons in hell with Barbossa as their warrior, will our Sparrow be able to see a way out of the gilded cage that surrounds him before all is lost?

Characters: Captain Jack Sparrow, Chief James Norrington, Elizabeth Swann, Hector Barbossa, Lorelac and various others.

Author's Note: Heh. Remember me? –crickets chirp- Perhaps not. To those of you who are still with me, wow I love you all to pieces. I think I would have given up on me a long, long time ago. To those of you who are reading this for the first time, welcome! Now, as it's been over a year since I've posted a new chapter, on with the show!

Also, thanks to the amazing and wonderful neondaises for betaing for me. Without her, yeah it would be bad. Thanks, Psnoo!

Rating: M for violence and language.

Chapter 15: Murder and Manipulation

Jack had never before felt such weariness, but he couldn't sleep. Even the knowledge that Barbossa was safely imprisoned under the watchful eye of Norrington's guards wasn't enough to ease his mind. The man had the tongue of a snake. He had already proved that today as he remained…alive? Jack wasn't quite sure just what Barbossa was now; whether he yet lived or was dead. It was a question Jack had asked himself many times after dealing with the Aztec curse. He had died—he had felt the blade slide into his chest and his breath leave him—did that mean that he had been brought back to life with the breaking of the curse? How was such a thing even possible? Then again, Jack had seen many unexplainable things on this earth in his life—many in the last few years alone—and yet the idea of his own mortality was something that was hard to wrap his brain around.

Jack didn't know why he bothered thinking such thoughts. The point was moot now as it had been then. He was cursed; he was dead. The point couldn't be made any clearer than that.

"You should rest, honoured friend of the Chief," Kiquan's soft voice floated over to him. Jack didn't start; he had heard the man's almost soundless approach long ago. "There is an ill wind favouring us now. You're a cursed man."

Jack inexplicably wanted to deny such a thing against all sense but he simple held his tongue with a modicum of effort and nodded. "Yes. I am cursed. I am damned." If they were standing in the moonlight he might have better demonstrated this simple fact.

"Should you bring your curse upon my chief as you have the Turner's I will kill you, Captain," Kiquan said softly though his voice was as hard as folded steel.

Jack briefly wondered if Norrington knew the level of Kiquan's devotion to him. "Many men have tried to kill me, Kiquan. Only one has been successful but it didn't stick, you see?" Jack didn't bother asking Kiquan how he intended to kill him as he was already dead. The man seemed determined enough to find a way.

"I know this man of which you speak. The man we have imprisoned; Barbossa," Kiquan answered with a nod. "He killed you. Do you dream of his blade through your chest?"

What an interesting question. I didn't know Kiquan had it in him to be so ruthless. Jack didn't answer however. There was no need.

"Betray my chief and you will still have nightmares of your death at my hands even after you've faced the torments of the Pit." Kiquan made this a promise, not a threat. "Do we understand one another, Captain?"

"We understand one another, Kiquan," Jack answered with a coldness of his own. "But you've said your piece, allow me mine: Come after me if you dare, I've sent far better men to their graves than you without regret. Savvy?"

Kiquan merely nodded and turned back to attend his Chief.


Port Royal

While the night should have mercifully hidden the damage done to the prosperous port by the pirate raiders, it only seemed to focus its inhabitants' attentions on what they had lost. Many homes and shops still burned, their hope-crushing fires lighting up the night sky in brilliant red as if hell itself had descended upon the town. Many found this more than easy to believe but as a whole the people were strong; unbowed. They had faced such attacks before and they no doubt would again. Such a thought might have sent the most stalwart of optimists spiraling into depression but that was the way of things in Port Royal. To weep over what was lost was fine, but to fall into depression over what was inevitable was never acceptable. Governor Swann was no exception. He had shed his tears for the loss of his daughter but he didn't despair that he'd never see her again. He knew that he would someday see her again, whether in this world or the next didn't matter.

"Governor? I've things for you to sign if you're not busy," his aide Adam called out; standing at the door to the office he had barely left in days.

"No, I'm not to busy," Governor Swann said with a barely restrained sigh. "Please come in, Adam. I'm always ready to see to the needs of Port Royal and her citizens. Especially in times such as these."

"Commodore Groves has requested men to chase after the pirates, sir," his aide pointed out, laying papers asking for such things on Governor Swann's large mahogany desk.

Governor Swann nodded slowly, not for the first time regretting letting Commodore Norrington go. He had initially been against Admiral Kleeson's decision to dismiss him, but he had not spoken up wanting to keep the often uneasy balance between military and state as best as he could. Which was more than foolish now that he'd given himself to think upon it. He had respected Norrington, enough so that he had been willing for the man to take his daughter's hand in marriage. Now he wasn't even sure who this new commodore was, Elizabeth was engaged to be married to a blacksmith, and missing. As was Norrington, he was concerned to note. No one, no matter how much he threatened or begged could tell him where any of them—Norrington, his daughter and her…fiancé—had gone. She was lost to him twice and he didn't know if he'd ever see her again. That was enough to break a father's soul in two.

"Sir? Sir are you alright?" Adam asked, a concerned frown crossing his features.

"What? Oh yes, Adam I'm fine. I was merely thinking long thoughts."

"You were thinking about Miss Swann, weren't you, sir?"

The governor's expression was a bit pinched to hear his thoughts discerned so easily, but he pushed such things aside. Will wasn't a bad son-in-law to be, all things considered. He may not have been quite what Swann had imagined for his daughter, but he was a decent man. At least, that had been Swann's opinion of the boy before he had disappeared with Elizabeth for the second time now. And come to think of it, Norrington was gone then as well. He realised abruptly that he hadn't answered Adam's question. "Yes, I was thinking about her. But there are far pressing issues to deal with here than my errant daughter. The new commodore needs men to go after the pirates, you said?"

"Yes, sir."

"How many men does he think he'll need?"

"As many as Port Royal can spare, sir."

"That's not many at this point, I'm afraid. Though inform the new commodore next time you see him that I appreciate his asking for men rather than simply taking them."

"I will, sir."

"He can have two ships and men. Tell him that any more than that would leave Port Royal vulnerable."

Adam nodded. "Yes, sir. I'll inform the Commodore. I'll make certain he understands sir."

"Make certain he knows that the only reason I'm allowing him to go at all is to ensure that this type of thing doesn't happen again. You can't give these pirates any slack, Adam, or they'll just keep coming back for more."

"No, sir," Adam agreed without hesitation.

Swann nodded, glad for the agreement. "Was that all?"

"The fires are being dealt with, sir. There's nothing much more we can do for now, I'm afraid."

Governor Swann nodded stoically. "Understood, Adam. That will be all."

Adam nodded and left the office silently, leaving Governor Swann to his thoughts.


Tortuga, 1679

Former Magistrate Richard Donnellson pulled his grungy coat closer to his body and tried not to think about what he was walking in. Tortuga was beyond filthy to say the very least. He had been in town for less than an hour and had already been spat upon, puked on and pushed into the mud by the fringes of a bar fight. His coat was stained with more than a few questionable stains that made his stomach turn in disgust. He considered giving up this ill-fated charade and turning back for England more than once as he walked Tortuga's rowdy streets, imagining his wife and child at home safe and sound waiting for him. But then he remembered his mother-in-law and her pleas. He remembered his own quest to bring his brother-in-law Edward John Corentin Alexander Sperling to justice; to force a confession—no matter the kind nor content—of what had happened those many years ago at sea. He would do his duty.

Everywhere he went, every disgusting pub he had forced himself to enter, he had posed the same questions: Do you know Captain Jack Sparrow? And where can I find him? Thus far he had been unlucky with both questions, forced to move on again and again.

'The Faithful Bride,' Richard mused to himself as he looked up at a paint-chipped and faded sign. If it was possible, this establishment looked even worse than its predecessors. But Richard couldn't turn around. He couldn't go home. Not now, not until he had found that which he sought. He couldn't return to his wife and her mother empty-handed. He was still a man of honour—likely the only one in this wretched place—and he would finish what he had started.

The purse of gold in his coat was getting lighter and lighter with each round of questions but he hadn't met a barkeep yet who would willingly part with such obviously horded knowledge without some form of compensation. Richard didn't know what he would do when the coins ran out so he didn't bother himself with such thoughts. It was always wise to start the conversation with gold, Richard had learned, it captured a man's attention far better than a shout ever would. "I'm looking for someone," Richard growled, his voice intentionally gruff as he snapped a few shiny coins on the wet and battle-scarred bar. "Help me find him and there's more where this came from." He didn't have to wait long until the filthy barkeep quickly snatched the coins with greedy fingers.

"Everyone's lookin' for someone, mate. Who are you lookin' for? Maybe I can help you find him," the man offered, all smiles and manners—what few he had—now that gold was on the line.

Richard leaned in so that he wouldn't be overheard. "Captain Jack Sparrow," he whispered, his green eyes cold as he carefully scrutinised the man's reaction to the name. There. A flicker of the eyes. Sparrow was here. Finally, he could end this Godforsaken search.

"I've heard of him," the man said carefully, not willing to give it all up for so little payment. "My memory's a bit poor nowadays though."

Richard kept the disgusted scowl from his face with concentrated effort and placed two more gold coins on the bar to match the first two. "Tell me where he is," he ordered, making it clear he expected to be given what he sought for purchasing the barkeep's services.

The man pocketed the gold so quickly Richard almost wouldn't have believed it had been there in the first place if he hadn't put it on the bar with his own hand. "In the back. Alone," the man said with a gesture of his chin. "His crew's about though." He didn't bother warning this gold-handed gentleman that Sparrow had single-handedly put tougher looking men in the ground for looking at him cross-eyed. It was no loss to him if the red-headed idiot got himself killed. As long as he had his bar and his gold, he was happy.

Richard didn't thank him. He simply headed off in the direction the barkeep had indicated, his green eyes flashing at the chance to confront Edward once and for all.

It didn't take long to find the man he sought now that knew where to look. His brother-in-law was sitting exactly as the barkeep had described him; alone at a small table in the back, a tall tankard of something—likely rum—sitting before him. The whores wandering through the place eyed him with interested but he seemed either unwilling or unable to return their attentions. Richard didn't care which. It was better that they do this alone. "Edward," he growled, coming to stand before the man his darling Eva loved even to this day. "Or is it Jack now?"

"It's Jack," the pirate answered, not looking up from his drink. "And I hope you've said your goodbyes to your wife and children."

"Why?" Richard asked dryly, snagging an empty chair from a nearby table and bringing it up across from Jack to take a seat. "You planning to kill me? I can't say I'm surprised. That's what pirates do, isn't it? Kill people."

"Sometimes," Jack said with a grin that showed off a brief flash of gold. It was something warm and bright to counter the way his eyes remained cold and black. Richard allowed himself to ponder such a contrast for a brief second before shaking the unbidden thought away. "If they get in my way, that is. And you do seem to be in my way. Savvy?"

"Don't you even want to know why I'm here?" Richard asked with a scowl. "Don't you even care that I followed you all the way from England?"

Jack put on a bored expression and took another sip of his rum. "To 'bring me to justice,' I imagine. Isn't that what magistrates do?" Jack asked with such an arrogant smirk that Richard had to forcibly stop himself from striking him.

"I want to know what happened on that ship. I want to know if what they say about you is true. I want to know—"

"If I really did sell out my cousin's crew and get them all killed?" Jack interjected, the smirk never leaving his face.

"Did you?"

"What do you think?" God, that same insufferable smirk. How could anyone stand to be in the same room with him let alone have a conversation?

"I'm asking you." Richard refused to play this game. He wanted answers for his wife and Mrs. Sperling's sake and he was going to get them.

"I didn't do it," Jack said with a casual flip of his free hand in lieu of a shrug. As if being mistaken for one of the most hated betrayers in England was merely something trivial to be put up with. "I didn't betray them. The captain of the ship merely found it amusing to make it seem so."

"Kruller," Richard offered, prompting Jack to continue. He had a feeling if they stopped now, he'd never get the full story. He didn't question why Jack was being truthful with him, the rum perhaps, but he didn't question it either. Not when he had searched so long for answers.

"Zachariah Kruller. Yes. For whatever reason I caught his eye. Perhaps he liked his boys dark-haired. I didn't know the man long enough to discern his tastes that far. He took me in, imprisoned and tortured me until I gave in, and spread the word that I alone had betrayed my family. I don't blame him, really," Jack said with a wave of his hand. "It was an ingeniously cruel plan and I'm sure I brought him my fair share of amusement." He looked pointedly at Richard, his dark eyes flashing like chips of polished obsidian. "I'm grateful to him for the interest he took in me. He showed me a world of freedom."

"He showed you how to murder people in cold blood!" Richard breathed, shock clear on his face at what he was hearing.

"Of course," Jack said with a furrowed brow, as if that should have been inherently obvious from the beginning. "There's no greater freedom than knowing you have the power over life and death and no one can stop you." The words were mocking but Jack's eyes remained cold.

"I'll stop you," Richard declared, rising from his seat. He had heard enough. While Edward might have been innocent of the crimes for which he was accused, Jack wasn't. Never had he heard someone speak so callously about life and death before. Richard had heard of Captain Pardal's exploits and couldn't believe them. How could someone his innocent Eva loved do such monstrous things? He wouldn't believe it. But this man sitting before him was not the man Eva loved. This wasn't her brother. This was a monster that needed to be stopped.

"That's where you're wrong, mate." Before Richard could react; to try and defend himself, to cry out, to do anything, Jack's sword was out of its sheath and slicing effortless through cloth and flesh alike. Richard opened his mouth to speak, but as a man who had been almost sliced in two from his belly to his throat in a vicious upward stroke, he had few words. "No one can stop me," were the last words Richard heard, whispered low and confident in his ear as he slumped to the ground. Just another corpse in a dirty pub in Tortuga; unmarked and unmourned.


Elizabeth knew the slouch (it couldn't be called anything but) she was currently entertaining on the beach was highly undignified but she couldn't bring herself to care. Her hair was in tangles down her back, ready and able to snarl everything nature threw at it in a moment's notice but she didn't feel like brushing it. Her clothes were ragged, her face was dirt smudged but she just didn't care. It was so hard to care about anything anymore let alone her appearance. Her husband was dead, she was pregnant with a rapist demon's children, the rapist demon had been one of her only friends left, her home was likely being razed to the ground, and the only pirate she had ever been truly glad to see dead was walking amongst the living once more. The cosmic injustice of it all appalled her. Why should one good man die and another evil man get to live? Why was her husband dead when Barbossa was given a second chance? It wasn't fair but how could she argue? To whom would she take her case? God? The Devil? So she simply stopped caring. What was the point in a world such as this?

"You don't deserve to be brought up in a world designed to hurt you," she whispered, laying a hand on her still flat stomach. "No matter how you were created, you're innocent, little one. And I'm sure Will would have loved you as his own." If he had been given the chance. If he hadn't been cut down by his best friend. "But Will's gone. Will's gone and he's never coming back. Will's gone." Saying it aloud didn't hurt as much as she thought it should. But that didn't matter. She didn't care.

"Elizabeth? What are you doing out here?" Norrington's gentle yet inquiring voice arrived just before the man himself. Elizabeth didn't answer. She didn't care. "Elizabeth?" To Elizabeth's horror—if she had cared—Norrington took a page from her book and slouched in a clearly undignified manner of his own down next to her. While her gaze was focussed on the sea—when not being turned inward, that is—his rested solely on her. "What's wrong?" She wanted to snort at the question, decided it would be undignified enough, and did. Norrington had the grace to look chagrined. "Alright, I can guess. But at the very least you could indulge my worry." Damn him for that. Was she supposed to feel guilty that he worried? No. She wasn't supposed to care. Damn it.

"I'm fine," she murmured, her voice nearly lost in the crashing waves against the beach. Had she ever realised how lovely the Black Pearl was? She could see it floating peacefully in the harbour off shore, its black hull gleaming in the low sun. Elizabeth half wished its sails were furled so she would be able to see it in its full glory now while the sun was still up and the curse was not yet visible. Master and ship had shared the same fate. Just as Jack was surely cursed once more, so too was his beloved Pearl. It was a shame, but she tried not to care.

"You are many things, Miss Swann but fine is not one of them. Not now," Norrington said calmly. Elizabeth tried not to care but it was getting harder. "You want to know why Barbossa is alive again instead of Will, don't you?" He didn't wait for a response. "I don't blame you. I've been pondering that same question myself. It's an unjust world."

Elizabeth couldn't not care any longer. "Is that all you have to say? An unjust world? My husband is dead and yet that murderer is back! He kidnapped me, pointed a gun at me and he's the one who gets a second chance!" She was screaming now but didn't have time to care.

"Then do something about it, Elizabeth!" Norrington shouted back if only just to be heard. "Fight! Fight for yourself, your child, for Will. Fight to show this bloody world that you're stronger than this! Fight to show that you're not beaten that easily! Fight to show everyone that you aren't some simpering governor's daughter who wouldn't know the sharp end of a sword if she were shown!"

Elizabeth gaped at him. Clearly undignified, but the description was an apt one. Her mouth opened and closed once, twice, three times before she managed to make a sound resembling something other than a dumbfounded grunt. "You—you—oh!" She breathed in utter frustration, her face turning a delicate shade of pink as she fought with the words she wanted to say to him. More than anything she wanted to slap him—hard—but somehow she knew that what he was saying was right. "I do too know the sharp end of a sword and if you even insinuate that I don't again, Norrington I'll be more than happy to provide a demonstration!" she huffed, her arms crossing her chest as she scowled at the sea.

Norrington allowed a brief smile to cross his features. "There you are, Elizabeth. I was beginning to wonder if the sea hadn't reclaimed you. It's a pleasure to have you back."

Elizabeth's scowl melted a little. "You're insufferable," she muttered. "But thank you." She turned and looked at him as she said it.

Norrington inclined his head. "Of course, Miss Swann. Whatever else happens, remember how you feel at this moment. Remember that fire and you'll be able to face anything and everything that comes your way."

"Even Jack?" Elizabeth asked softly, her eyes cast out to sea once more.

"In general or…?"

"The curse," Elizabeth clarified. "You saw him, James. You saw how he was with…Barbossa. How ready he was to kill that man. Not that…not that he doesn't deserve it, but he was different James. Colder. He scared me," she admitted.

Norrington nodded and a pensive look crossed his face. "You have to remember Elizabeth, that Jack is and always will be a pirate. A pirate captain, no less. I'm sure you've read about pirates," he glanced over at her with something between fondness and love in his eyes. "You were always fascinated by them, I know."

"Much to my father's disapproval," she murmured, momentarily cut down by worry for the people of Port Royal—her father specifically—but not letting it keep her for long.

"It takes a strong will to become a pirate captain," Norrington continued, "and a stronger will to remain a pirate captain. Apparently Jack has done so for a very, very long time."

"As Pardal," Elizabeth murmured, still filled with lingering horror over that realisation. She had heard of Captain John Pardal. She had heard horrible things. Horrible enough that Norrington had been willing to kill him.

"Yes, as Pardal," Norrington said evenly. "Though how Pardal became Sparrow I do not know."

"Have any of us asked him?" Elizabeth wondered aloud. "Surely something must have happened. Some change. He's not the same man."

"No," Norrington agreed. "He's not. John Pardal wouldn't have near willingly faced the gallows for saving your life. He wouldn't have saved you. He wouldn't have been worth saving. But that doesn't mean that John Pardal and Jack Sparrow are different people. Jack was a killer once. He's a killer still. He can become a man like Pardal again."

"I think the curse is making it easier," Elizabeth murmured. "Easier to not care about things such as life and death when he knows he can't be killed. It's easier to blame a thing like a curse for the evil in the world when in truth all it is is an excuse for our own failings." The words were out of her mouth before she could think to apply them to her husband's death at Jack's hands. She didn't want to think upon it right now.

"Then we have to find a way to stop it," Norrington said with authority, rising to his feet and offering her a hand up. Elizabeth knew it couldn't, wouldn't, be that easy but she had to agree. They had work to do.


"You don't say much, do you?" Barbossa drawled at one of his native guards, eying him casually from his place on the ground tied to some kind of exotic tree. The guard didn't answer.

"They don't talk," Jack murmured, not looking up from sharpening his sword as he sat on the sand not far from where Barbossa was tied.

Barbossa's eyes swiveled from his silent guards to Jack and a sly grin spread across his face. "Despite circumstances, one might find our little predicament ironic, Jack."

Jack's eyes rose slowly from his work. "Oh really?" he asked, willing to humour the man for lack of other amusements. "And how's that, Barbossa?"

"Are you too daft to see it?" Barbossa asked with a raised eyebrow as if he couldn't quite believe his former captain's blatant stupidity and ignorance of the obvious. "You're cursed. I'm not."

Jack's eyes grew cold but his mouth turned up in a smile. "Bet you wish you had that plate of apples now, eh mate?"

Barbossa gritted his teeth but otherwise didn't react. "How long has it been, Jack?" he drawled, changing the subject. "How long has it been since the curse returned? Can you still feel the sun's warmth? Can you still taste food? Can you still feel a stirring in your loins when you look at Miss Swann—" Barbossa laughed to feel Jack's freshly sharpened blade at his throat. "You're far too easy to goad, Jack," he chided, seemingly uncaring of the blade that threatened to slice off his Adam's apple.

"As you were so eager to point out, you're no longer cursed, Barbossa. You can die just like everyone else. You're not immortal any longer," Jack said coldly, the blade steady and unshaken at Barbossa's throat.

"You're not going to kill me, Jack. You need me. If you were going to kill me you would have done it already." The smugness on Barbossa's face was nearly enough for Jack to try anyway.

"Maybe not, Barbossa," Jack acquiesced, moving his sword away. "I need to find out why you were sent back. I'm tired of reacting to these bloody curses. I'm tired of being cursed. I'm going to find out whatever this beastie has in store for yours truly and stop it from happening before it does. Simple as that. So no, I won't kill you, Barbossa. But that doesn't mean that I can't make your life very unpleasant," Jack whispered harshly.

"Oh? And what would the charming Miss Swann and the good Commodore think about that, Jack? Would they be horrified to find out what kind of a man you really are?"

"I'm not—"

"No, you're right. If you had been the man whose crew I joined in the very beginning, you never would have allowed a mutiny. You would have killed me for even trying. But you're weak, Jack. You're a fool who parades upon a stage for all the world to see. You're not a pirate. You're a mockery," Barbossa spat the word out as if it left a foul taste in his mouth.

Jack's only response was to bring the butt of his sword down hard on Barbossa's temple, knocking the man out cold. He spun away and walked swiftly down the beach, not bothering to acknowledge either of Barbossa's guards. Barbossa was their problem, not his.


"We had a deal," Lorelac pointed out needlessly, prowling the confines of his prison with unease. "I agreed to serve you in exchange for my freedom. I was under the impression that beings such as yourself were above such petty things as lying."

Quiet, worm. Your buzzing irritates me, the being called Rasalom muttered back, though not sounding as displeased as its words might otherwise indicate.

Inwardly, Lorelac's pride chafed at such a tone. He was a god! He was Lorelac! He was above the puny creatures of this world! He was to be respected and feared and yet he was treated as less than an animal. He was treated as one of the pathetic mortals he loathed so deeply. Yet he held his tongue. He had been chained and muzzled all for the mere promise of freedom. What a fool he had been! Just as he opened his mouth to tell Rasalom their bargain was finished, that he would find freedom for himself, he was once more cut off.

Silence! Your salvation comes even now.

A strange sensation was tugging at Lorelac's consciousness, urging him to turn his attention once more back down to the mortal realm where he remained. He did so and waited. Nothing. No salvation, no freedom, nothing. He had been about to complain—he was not known for his patience—when a dark figure emerged from the jungle to stand at the beach. His face was cloaked in deceit and shadow but Lorelac could feel deadly intent and purpose when it was directed his way. The man, for that was what he had to be, opened his mouth to speak to the waves.

"I pledge myself to thee, Lorelac, o god of mischief and storms, of death and destruction. I am ever your faithful servant." The man removed his cloak and walked out to sea clad in nothing more than a simple loin cloth and the swirling intricate black lines of dozens of tattoos. He kneeled in the waves. "I have done your bidding, my lord. I have heard you calling. I have heard your pleas."

Pleas? What pleas? Lorelac knew that this had to be the same man who had sacrificed for him earlier but he had not deigned to speak with him. Was the mortal mad?

I spoke to him. Pay attention.

"I have retrieved the crystal, lord! I have stolen from the pirate that which keeps you prisoner! It is yours, lord! I will smash it and you will be free!" The man produced a shining blue crystal on a delicate silver chain and held it triumphantly in the air. Lorelac couldn't believe it. This man, this mortal was freeing him? Before Lorelac had time to question the mortal's intentions further, the crystal was shattered upon a sharp rock and he found himself being pulled down into oblivion.


Cold. He…no, his feet were cold. Feet? He had feet? He looked down to see a pair of legs standing in…water. His legs. He looked up to find himself standing face to face with a mortal man. The same mortal man who had smashed…who had smashed the crystal! "You!" he yelled, his voice booming for he had not yet remembered how to control it.

The man dropped face first into the sea in prostration, offering fealty to the tattoo-covered naked man standing before him in the sea.

Lorelac, yes he was Lorelac again, tilted his head and eyed the mortal. Surely he would drown soon with his face in the water like that. "Get up, servant." The man quickly obeyed, coughing up sea water. "You have freed me and I would not let you so easily die. You will be rewarded for your loyalty."

"Yes, my lord," the man whispered, his voice quavering with devotion.

Lorelac looked down at his hands, his hands, with something akin to wonder. "I am flesh." But was he still a god? He turned his attention away from the mortal, who was now professing his name to be something like 'Kiquan' and that he would be his eternal servant, to the sea. Lorelac reached out to the clouds he saw in the distance, to the moisture he knew would be there, and flexed for lack of a better term.

Minutes later, the skies above the madly laughing naked man turned black and thunder assaulted their ears and lighting danced all around him, blinding the mortal and sending him huddling back to the edge of the jungle for protection against the storm's rage.

"I am Lorelac!" Lorelac yelled out to sea, his voice lost in the roar of the storm above his head. He threw his arms outstretched to embrace the warm rain that saturated, plastering his long black hair to his tattoo-covered shoulders. His delighted laughter was cut short by the whisper in his ear that he somehow had no trouble hearing above the storm.

Remember, Lorelac. You serve me now. I granted you your freedom and I can take it away just as easily. Now, go to the mortal and cover yourself. I have work for you to do. Rasalom smiled as the storm quickly dissipated and Lorelac moved to do what he was told. Everything was going exactly as planned.


A/N: Well golly. That only took what, a year and a half to write? What can I say? I'm a slow writer. –innocent grin- To all of you who have stuck it out with me for this long, I love you. Seriously. Without you guys, I would have left this story gathering dust. Thank you so, so much! As to readers of my other fics; I won't be deviating from this one until it's finished. So my House and OUATIM fans, sorry for the wait and thank you ever so much for your patience. Hopefully, the wait won't be too much longer.

Next chapter, the finale (I think) to this particular story: Lorelac walks the earth, Rasalom pulls the strings. Barbossa pushes Jack to the edge and Elizabeth and Norrington strive to bring him back. Oh and did I mention Will?