Just Another Execution Day
By: Koorino Megumi
This drabble was written (rather late) in honor of my friend Kilerkki's birthday. I hope it was a great one, Ki!
Even though this drabble was inspired by a historical event, I won't pretend that it's actually historically accurate. That aside, I hope you enjoy it!
"There was at least one episode in which English pirates, caught marauding off the Atlantic coast of Central America, were tried and executed by the Inquisition not for their crimes of piracy, but for being Protestants" -Vigrinia Garrard-Burnett, On Earth as It Is in Heaven: Religion in Modern Latin America, p. xviii.
For Captain Jack Sparrow, this was not the first--and certainly wouldn't be the last--time he stood before the gallows.
It was the same old story. Naturally, he never slipped up--it wasn't his way--but a bad situation, or perhaps a good deed (such as the rescue of a certain drowning woman he couldn't help but recall) would occasionally lead him into the custody of the law enforcement. And from there, well...he prided himself on the fact that he had lived a life that no officer of the law didn't want to bring to its end.
The story of how he'd reached the gallows this time was utterly unexceptional. He and his crew had simply "borrowed" several items off a dock at a certain unremarkable port. This act had been followed by a commonplace battle at sea (and, of course, between the Black Pearl and any other ship, it was obvious from the start who would emerge as the victor), which had involved a subsequent chase, which had somehow landed him at a port in Spanish territory. He hadn't been forced to land--the Black Pearl would never succumb so easily--but at the time he'd been rather tired of watching others putting holes in his ship. Not to mention one would find it difficult to get rid of borrowed goods for fair compensation if they just kept running through the sea.
What he hadn't bargained for was that the owner of aforementioned unremarkable port that he had borrowed several items from had a Spanish son-in-law. And thus, attempting to sell the goods in Spanish territory had led to a less-than-favorable outcome. So here he was, before the Spanish Inquisition. He had to admit, it was nice to have a change in prosecutor now and again. After all, it gave him a certain amount of notoriety to stand before the dreaded Inquisition and still escape.
Of course, he hadn't quite gotten to the escape part yet, but he would get an incredible idea shortly, he was sure. He was Captain Jack Sparrow. He always made an amazing escape. His escapes were already the things of legend--it just wouldn't do for his reputation not to.
So here he stood, hands bound, a guard on either side of him, the executioner only paces away, and a whole audience of people behind. Not to mention the panel in front, one member just now standing to pronounce his sentence.
"Captain," he muttered irritably, "Captain Jack Sparrow."
"Having considered the evidence, this panel his come to its sentence. You are to be executed."
Jack debated whether it was worth fighting off a yawn. It would be better for his image if he did. It wasn't that he minded looking unconcerned about the sentence, but the most important part was coming up next: the charges.
Admittedly, not many of the incidents that he had been involved in had occurred in Spanish territory (though he imagined the Spanish would not soon forget his impersonation of an officer of their navy). He hated the thought that some of his best charges would be missing, but when one was already the thing of legend, one had to put up with such shortcomings occasionally. And hopefully the Spanish, since they'd surely heard word of at least some of his exploits, would throw in a few for good measure on the end of the others. After all, he knew that authorities enjoyed stamping lists of charges a mile long on people like him. It made them feel important and powerful, to do in a pirate of such obvious repute.
Not that any of them would ever actually do him in, of course. Jack began scanning his surroundings, keeping his gaze idle even as he calculated the best route. Escapes were easier in territories where his allies roamed, but being alone had never stopped him from escaping before, and it certainly wouldn't now. Not to mention the Black Pearl couldn't be far from shore--his men were very good about keeping on top of when he was supposed to die. And for some reason the authorities always liked to hold such events near the shore. It was really too convenient of them.
But Jack's attention was pulled from an inattentive officer holding a gun in an enticingly careless manner back to the matter at hand by some words from the magistrate that he had been waiting to hear.
"The charges under which this sentence has been determined are simple..."
Jack leaned forward in unconscious anticipation. Would they start with the navy officer, perhaps? And what other crimes had he carried out in Spanish territory? With so many, it was often hard to keep them all straight.
"...he is a protestant."
The man who had given the proclamation was small and stout but held himself with a proud bearing, his beak of a nose raised in the air. No, he was certainly not the joking type. But still, Jack could not quite get even his sharp mind around those words.
"Ye're hanging me for what?"
The man eyed him and then repeated, very slowly, in his heavily accented English, "Because. You. Are. A. Protestant."
"Oh, this'll be some story t'tell," was the first thing he thought to mutter. Then, eyeing the offending officer, he straightened up, trying to look as authoritative as he could with his hands bound before him. "Now you see here, mate. Me name is Cap'n Jack Sparrow. I know we aren't exactly from the same region, so t'speak, but I'd think authorities as...illustrious as you obviously are would've heard that name b'fore." It was quite a good speech, in his opinion, considering how he currently felt. His restraint should be commended. But then again...well, he was a pirate, not a saint! "An' you could at least have the decency to kill a man for something a tad more dignified than that!" He narrowed his eyes. "How d'you even know if I am one?"
The man snorted, rolling his eyes and ignoring him. "Because of the crimes of this heretic, he will be hung by the neck until his death."
Oooh, no pirate with a speck of honor could let that one go by untouched. "I object!"
The man glanced at him this time, raising an eyebrow and looking annoyed. "You can't object."
"I reserve me right to object! I'm British. That doesn't make me a bloody protestant!"
"The decision is final."
"Now, you see here, mate. I'm a pirate, savvy? Not a saint! An' if that's your only charge, then what did your fine men bring me in for? Me accent?" He raised an eyebrow. "The chests of rum didn't happ'n t'get forgotten because your reverent selves got a little thirsty, did they?"
The man positively bristled in response, and Jack couldn't help giving an innocent smirk. He'd finally succeeded in obtaining his attention.
"But of course, your eminences wouldn't've done any such thing, eh? So if the rum's not forgotten, where's the charge?"
"The charges are not debatable," the man stated tightly. Then abruptly, he burst out, "You hang in any case! What difference do the charges make?"
Jack's eyes widened. "What difference? What difference? See here, mate, I'm a pirate cap'n. You think me kind do what we do for our health? What's the point in a man making a name for 'imself if 'e can't even carry it with 'im?"
The man scoffed. "You'll have no need to carry anything with you where you'll be going."
Jack couldn't help smirking in response to that show of obvious ignorance. "Is that a fact?"
The man looked a bit disconcerted, but he countered it by puffing out his chest self-importantly. "Let the execution proceed."
Jack had to admit that he was a bit disappointed in himself for his apparent inability to get the authorities to give him the charges he deserved, but at the same time, the problem was just as attributable to the obvious incompetence of those in charge. Clergy. Really, he shouldn't be surprised in the least.
On the other hand, this was his cue to begin the next in a long line of famous Captain Jack Sparrow escapes. He had a very simple tactic in mind, but, taking his faith in clergy and their subordinates into account, he was positive it would go off without a hitch. Honestly, you'd think that eventually they'd learn not to hold such events in such close quarters.
So as the executioner began to approach him, Jack quite unobtrusively slid a foot forward, tripping the burly, oversized man and sending him sprawling flat on his face.
From there it was easy. In a second, the careless soldier's gun was transferred to his bound hands, where he gripped it clumsily. There was no way he could fire, but naturally the young man drew his sword in response to the pirate's attack. Here came a moment in which Jack's smooth movements came in handy. Expression a mixture of concentration, surprise, and recklessness, the pirate captain actually leaned forward as the man struck at him, twisting his body and putting up his bound hands. Eyes wide, and wincing as the sword grazed his wrist, Jack still broke out in a smirk as the rope binding him was neatly sliced and fell to the ground at his feet. The young solider might have been careless, but the pirate had to admit that the boy certainly had vigor.
"Good energy, boy," Jack commented approvingly, raising the gun with his now-freed hands, "But you'll want to improve your guard."
The boy's eyes widened, and he raised his hands in surrender.
Jack sighed. "Just between us," he continued, leaning in toward the boy's face and causing him to wince back, "You might want to work on your confidence, too, lad."
And then, while the onlookers were still stunned, he broke into a run, going straight for the panel of clergy. After all, clergy members tended to lack two things: weapons and balls. Which was quite handy when one was attempting to escape with his life. Even if there were armed guards in the vicinity, grab a priest as a hostage, and a pirate could do whatever he wanted.
No hostages turned out to be necessary, however, as the Inquisition apparently hadn't expected someone to try something as audacious as an escape attempt (an obvious testament that they really didn't know who they were dealing with), and the guards, who were more ceremonial than anything, clearly weren't the best trained or the most prepared. Or willing to get anywhere near the clergy with a weapon.
"This..." Jack started as he headed toward the edge of the outcropping, ready to pull an old trick and get himself back to the Pearl, "...is a day that you gentlemen will all remember. This is the day that..."
He was interrupted by a shot from the very man who had laid charges upon him, who had apparently grown frustrated and liberated another of the young soldiers of his gun.
"Hey!" he cried in indignation, "I am not a bloody protestant!" And to the sound of more gunfire, he jumped over the side, letting his own weapons go as he dove into the waters below.
And so Jack finished the day over what was left of the Black Pearl's stash of smuggled rum, telling the crew the great tale of his amazing escape from the Spanish Inquisition, starting from the long list of charges that they had subjected him to and finishing with his incredible acrobatics as he dodged the bullets of no less than 20 armed men firing on him simultaneously as he struggled to break his bonds on a sharp rock.
But once the story was over, the crew was mostly out with drink, and he was close to being the same, he decided to himself that this was the last time he would set foot in Spanish territory. The lack of glamour just wasn't worth it.
...unless, perhaps, he was disguised as a member of the clergy. Which would, he couldn't help but think, be quite worth it to try.
Jack smirked at the idea. But then his mind began to wander, and he started to hum off-key to a familiar tune as the world before him wavered and swayed. Singing that song while drunk had become a bit of a tradition for him--one that he always enjoyed, even if those who had the misfortune of being with him at the time didn't. But finally, another day of infamous adventures came to an end for the pirate captain as he collapsed on the deck with the line, "Really bad eggs!"
All in all, he reasoned the next morning, it hadn't been that bad of a day. And dressing as a clergyman again, well, that would be an experience, wouldn't it? He was already here, after all, so why waste the opportunity? Captain Jack Sparrow was never shy of making himself a new claim to fame.
And so with a smirk, he began what he knew would be yet another exciting day.