A scandal in Port Royal

Disclaimer: PotC does not belong to me

It was, of course, the greatest scandal in Port Royal that year. The fact that it took place exactly twelve months after the greatest scandal of the previous year did in no way make it any less so.

The Turners had remained a loving couple throughout their first year as each other´s (as the lady´s growing waistline quietly testified), so it came as no surprise to anybody that they decided to celebrate their anniversary – nor did it come as a surprise that the Governor´s daughter would celebrate it by having a party in the Governor´s mansion.

Everybody who was anybody was present – from the town´s master craftsmen in their one good set of clothes to fine naval officers in fine full-dress uniforms to wealthy plantation owners (not to mention their wives) who had come to show off both expensive jewellery and eligible offspring.

Among the guests was one James L. Norrington, Commodore of the Royal British Navy and friend of the hosts (even though he had, in fact, been one of Elizabeth Turner´s scorned suitors). It was whispered in the corners that he was a lonely man who buried himself in his work and also that he was known to be unnecessarily rude to those of Port Royal´s mothers who sought to introduce him to their unmarried daughters.

The party had been going on for some hours and the nervous atmosphere that is the usual starting point of such social gatherings had been eased by way of alcoholic beverages and dancing to a fine string quartet. Everybody was busy chatting with everybody else when a new guest arrived.

Now, every family – even the best of them – has a black-sheep-cousin or an eccentric uncle, so the guests – who were all in possession of impeccable manners – did not comment on the new arrival´s wild looks or his somewhat swaying walk or even on the fact that he was very obviously armed.

Later the host couple would inform the aforementioned fine naval officers that they had not been aware of the plans of one Captain Jack Sparrow – for it was none other than he – that they had not heard from him at all since receiving a rather extravagant collection of gifts and a letter filled with his best wishes on their wedding day, yet here he was, walking amongst Port Royal´s finest, as if searching for something – or someone -, only interrupting his search to duck if one of those selfsame officers happened to look in his direction.

Then Captain Sparrow´s eyes settled upon Commodore Norrington, standing alone next to the punch bowl, and if anybody had been looking at him just then, they would have seen a smile ghost across his lips.

He then pulled his pistol and walked straight up to the good Commodore, who seemed to be quite surprised to find himself suddenly looking at this particular pirate. His surprise did in no way sem to diminish when said pirate first aimed at his head, then leaned in to cover his lips with his own in a rather passionate kiss. Then he took a few steps backwards, smiling, while still aiming at him.

Now, even though this turn of events would surely have produced a lot of gossip, then it was hardly material for a true scandal, since it was common knowledge that Captain Sparrow was what polite society would term extremely eccentric, and since Commodore Norrington could hardly be expected to try to fight off an armed man – although later, miss Christabel Vaughn (who was an insufferable gossip and therefore never found herself wanting for invitations for tea) would swear that from where she had been standing it had appeared as though the Commodore was kissing back, and mr. Edward Burgess (who corresponded with at least one person on every continent and one in every major European city) would make mention (in a couple of letters ment strictly for men of the world such as himself) of the flushed state of the Commodore´s face when Captain Sparrow stepped backwards and of the fact that his tongue flickered out as if to seek some taste still on his lips.

Still, these statements might well have been influenced by later events, and there is little doubt that this night´s occurence would have been forgotten in favour of others, such as the plantation owner Charles Tanner´s marriage to a former slave girl less than half his own age (whom cruel tongues whispered was in fact his bastard daughter).

But then Captain Sparrow, lifting his pistol in a hushing gesture directed at the dumbfounded Commodore, spoke:

"Seems to me, Commodore, that you´re not having yourself much of a life hereabouts, if you´ll pardon me saying so. All work and no play, and – if the rumours are true – paper work at that. I wonder, when was the last time you actually went on a proper voyage? And then every night to come home to an empty house and an empty bed – that doesn´t sound like any fun at all in my ears.

Now, I am going to give you a choice, Commodore. Either you can stay here in Port Royal and lead that dull life of yours until you die from it, or: You can come with me, leave this existence behind you and sail away with me into the sunset – as it were. There would be nothing dull about that life. And you have my word, that if you come, then that kiss will be the meerest taste of what I´ll do to you, savvy?"

In the silence that followed you could have heard a pin drop – or, as it were, the widow Mary Talbot (a most prim and proper lady) who simply fainted at such improper words. What you could not have heard were the loud encouragements that a couple of much younger ladies in possession of romantic dispositions and unusually open minds were giving in their thoughts, though both of them were far to well raised to as much as consider actually giving voice to such words.

Then Captain Sparrow bowed deeply to the assembled guests, sent the Commodore – who had yet to make any noise whatsoever – one last flirtatious smile, whirled around and left the party. Not a soul tried to stop him.

Surprisingly short time passed before the party was resumed – a couple of elderly gentlemen (including the Governor) escorted the widow Talbot to a quiet corner where she could refresh herself with a glass of fine wine, while younger gentlemen sought to calm younger ladies who had – oddly enough – apparently begun to need calming only after nothing more appeared to be going to happen.

Only Commodore Norrington seemed to still be affected by Captain Sparrow´s odd behaviour. He was quiet and seemed thoughtful, and he completely ignored his fellow officers who had turned to him for orders. After a while, when no orders appeared to be forthcoming, they went to help the young gentlemen calm the young ladies, leaving the Commodore alone.

An hour passed, then another, and still the Commodore did not rejoin the party, but kept to himself. He appeared to be pondering some weighty matter. Then, around midnight, he apparently made up his mind. He went to make his excuses to the host couple, then left the Governor´s mansion. That was the last time anyone ever saw or heard of Commodore James L. Norrington.

The next morning the Commodore´s housekeeper would tell that her master´s bed had not been slept in that night, in fact, he had never returned home from the party. Marines searched the entire town, then the entire island, leaving not a single stone unturned, but it was as though he had simply vanished into thin air.

But in the months to come stories would begin to reach Port Royal – by way of rumors, official reports, mr. Burgess´ fellow correspondents and other, more obscure channels. The stories told of new pirate who had joined Captain Sparrow aboard The Black Pearl, a tall man with a proud bearing and emerald-green eyes. The stories told of the two men being fiercely loyal to one another, leaping to each others defence when neaded (though apparently quite capable of having huge arguments and swordfights of truly epic proportions). Some of the stories mentioned the word `matelotage´. Some of the stories went into further detail.

It was, of course, the greatest scandal in Port Royal that year.