[a/n1:  Hello all!  This is my nth PotC ficcy, and is acting as a sequel to The Darkness of Confusion, to which I was very happy to get a good response.  This will most likely be much longer than its prequel, and goody, no evil voice this time!  XD  It's not truly necessary to read TDoC before this story, but you can if you want.  Please Read, Review, and Enjoy!]

DISCLAIMER:  I do NOT own Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl or any of the characters included in the package.  I do like to play with them and often end up giving them back worse for the wear.  (Especially Captain Jack Sparrow!)  ;

CLAIMER:  I do, however, own the plot of this story and all my OC therein.  Some stay around, some don't.  That's life, ne?

Part 1:  Truths, Lies, and Curses Unearthed

            The dark entrance to the immense triangular structure loomed ominously, a morose blotch against the bright sand and sky.  The sun silhouetted the wedge-shaped building and showed every chink of stone on the outer edges.  The rest was cast into darkness only bested by the blackness in the ingress.  A gentle wind stirred the sand around the feet of three men standing before the blackened opening of one of the greatest wonders of the world.  They stood in a crooked horizontal line, the tallest and most confident stood closest to the pyramid, while the other two trickled off to his side in a diagonal fashion to put more space between themselves and the pyramid.

            "Let's not waste anymore daylight mates."  The tallest man spoke, his legs braced casually to encourage comfort in his stance.  The light wind roused his sandy hair, blowing it across his face and occasionally obstructing the view of his green eyes.  He lifted a torch with one hand and lit it without a problem, indicating it was common practice for him.

            "But sir, the place is-"

            "Cursed?" the first finished with a knowing grin.

            The youngest of the group who resided the furthest from the oddity before them allowed his jaw to fall open slightly, at a loss for words.  The way the other had simply used the word 'cursed' caused his insides to roil.  He clamped his jaw shut and swallowed dryly, his gray eyes betraying his emotions.

            The man holding the torch chuckled slightly, finding amusement in the shock of the younger.  "Sorry my friend, but curses don't exist.  They're nice little legends but are really just stories based in myth used to protect ancient places and things of great import."

            "Please sir, let's not test fate-"


            "Sam, sir."  The largest man's protest did not go unnoticed as the previous speaker's eyes flashed in irritation.

            "Sam, do relax.  There is nothing that exists to prove the validity of this so-called 'curse'.  Come with me."  He ventured forward into the opening, the flickering orange light of the torch illuminating an oval sphere of brightness around its carrier.  Eventually, he came to a turn in the corridor and the lighting given by his torch waned and died altogether.

            Time crawled slowly on as the two anxiously awaited the return of the small expedition's leader.  Occasionally the silence would be broken by awkward conversation, which quickly trailed off as it served no real purpose.  After all, it always seemed to spiral back to the mysterious structure before them.

            The sun sank nearer to the horizon, bringing with it the green flash of sunset and the rising of the celestial bodies of the night.  The land still glowed weakly, the sand reflecting the last rays of the day in a beautiful but eerie dance that unnerved the men further.  It also caused the entrance to the pyramid to glow with an almost supernatural blackness.

            "Think we should go…uh, find him?"  Dozell asked nervously, looking to the older man for an answer.

            Samuel swallowed weakly, weighing his options.  With their leader away, all responsibility and power fell to him.  His fear of the unknown and his loyalty to their leader conflicted within him, constantly changing his view of the situation.  As the light faded further, panic rushed his uncertain decision from his lips.  "He has been in there for a long time…"  The excuse to enter sounded frail and hollow to him and he silently cursed himself for his weakness, but Dozell didn't argue.

            The younger man stepped forward, resolute.  He purposefully—if not hesitantly—made his way into the darkened rectangular entrance and the chamber that lay beyond it.  Samuel hastily lit the lantern they had brought for camp and, after a last look back at the mountains of sand, chased after Dozell.

            The two paraded down the narrow, stuffy catacombs, gawking alternately at the large statues of strangely formed humans that littered the corridors and the paintings of unmentionable cruelties depicted on the walls.  At some point that Sam didn't immediately notice, Dozell picked up pace, wandering deeper into the darkness.  The expanded length between the sounds of footsteps ahead of him alerted him to the fact that Dozell was now running, ignoring the broken pottery and other shattered relics that made the path treacherous.  Sam picked up pace as well, taking in deep breaths of foul air in order to supply his body with enough oxygen to keep up the pace.

            "Doz, come back, the place is-"

            Sam's statement was cut off as he bulleted into a lean form that in turn jarred forward a few steps.

            "Cursed?" Doz supplied, still breathing heavier than normal, but his gaze fixed on the spectacle to their left.

            The pair had wound their way through the maze of tunnels and connecting passageways blindly, only to find themselves staring into a dead-end room.  Samuel held the lantern high with a shaking hand, casting a faint glow of yellowish light over the entirety of the miniscule chamber.  The walls were decorated by millions of colored figures over the sand-colored stone, going as high as the light reached and then some.  The most commonly recurring of the carvings was a man bestowed with what seemed to be a jackal's head.  Surrounding the prominent figure were etched hundreds of normally painted humans.  By their grieved expressions, they were either mourning the loss of someone or awaiting a judgment of vast proportions.

            Resting in the center of the intricately decorated room lay a carefully carved chest large enough to hold a man.  Atop the chest, shedding a dying light upon a single symbol was a torch on the brink of smothering.

            Doz slowly inched towards the chest, his boots crunching softly on the sand and fragments of pottery.  He gripped the torch with numb fingers, put it on the ground, and let out the breath he didn't even know he had been holding.  His fingers brushed over the edge of the lid before the heels of his hands rested on it.  With a deep breath, he applied pressure, lightly at first, but increasingly more, until-

            "Dozell, get away from there!"

            Doz jumped back from the chest at the yell, breathing heavily.  He turned a pale, sweating face to the room's only doorway and found their leader standing with a fresh torch in hand.

            "No use opening that, I already looked.  Nothing more than a dead man.  Fascinating sight, but we've got bigger fish to fry."  As he disappeared back into the corridor, Sam and Doz scampered after him, leaving the burial chamber in darkness.

            The group continued their poorly lighted march down the strangely marked corridors of the pyramid, following their leader like horses following the lead animal.  Sam and Doz constantly cast wary glances about the walls, keeping their gazes fixed on the statues for as long as they could see them before the effigies were plunged into the shadows from whence they came.

            "Just a little further, mates," the leader said casually, sensing the fear and uncertainty in the men plodding along behind him.  "And relax, there's nothing here worth distressing over."

            Even as he finished, the small group arrived at a small channel that turned sharply away from the main passage.  Around the frame's edges, several figures were carved into the stone.  Most were painted black, but some were highlighted in red, setting them manifestly apart from the monotony of the others.  As their leader proceeded into the duct, Sam and Doz froze, refusing to pass the threshold.

            "Oh really," the leader grumbled, turning to face his companions.  "Don't tell me the two of you are nervous about slipping into this narrower route?"

            "Sir, these read out a warning…I don't think it is wise to pass."  Doz pointed to the inscriptions bordering the entrance and stepped forward to trace the red emblazoned symbol of a small bird with his index finger.

            The leader sighed and joined his men in looking at the cryptograms.  "Well Dozell, since you seem to be the expert on reading this ancient language, do you mind telling us what it says?"

            "Well, I'm a little rusty, but I can pick out enough words to know this is a warning of some kind.  Here, in this first bit of these two parts," he pointed to the topmost and bottom sections of inscriptions.  "It mentions something about a 'black treasure' or a 'divine stone', more specifically not to remove it," he explained, pointing to a set of symbols.  "And the parts after that are, to sum it up, about not holding yourself in too high of a regard unless you wish to perish in the sea or suffer some sort of terrible fate…" Doz trailed off as his eyebrows knit in confusion.

            "Well, what next?  I know for a fact that wasn't all that's there, Dozell.  What are you holding back?"

            "Nothing sir, but the middle sections don't make any sense…they stick out from the rest of the text like a sore thumb."

            "What do they say, Doz?"  Sam questioned, his tone implying that he wasn't really all that eager to hear.

            "This second section refers to four elements, but it speaks of them as if they were living.  Wind rousing sparks, fire consuming all, water extinguishing fire, and lightning seeking its revenge…"

            "Very strange—and superstitious—indeed.  What of the last part?"

            "That, in my opinion, is the strangest, and yet I can translate it completely.  It says:  'The skies will darken.  The seas will churn.  The Guardians will roam, destroying land and life.  Turn to the Sparrow to endure the storm.'"

            "What is that supposed to mean?  Doesn't seem like much of a warning to me."

            Sam turned wide eyes on their leader in confusion at the statement, while Doz continued staring blankly at the carvings, his mind obviously somewhere else.

            "I wonder Dozell, where did you learn to read Egyptian?"

            Doz jumped out of his thoughts at the question and looked nervously at his leader.  He couldn't unveil the truth; he had come too far.  He'd have to lie if he were to ever reach his goal.  "I uh, um, I…my father did extensive research on dead languages and through his studies I picked up some as well, sir."

            The leader nodded, having accepted the lie for the truth.  "Very good job, son.  Now let's get going."

            "Thank you sir, but is it really wise to proceed?"

            "Sir, s'a bloody death trap!  Warnin's are meant t' be heeded."  Sam's accent grew thicker as his paranoia increased.

            "Oh do relax Sam."  After he shunned their fears, the leader continued through the archway, disappearing into the shadows as an unexpected breeze doused the light from his torch.

[a/n2:  Please review, it is much appreciated as it keeps me writing because I know I have something to look forward to once I post!]