The sound of the beating drums was audible even from the centre of the town.
Anamaria kept her head down low and her hat tilted forwards as she walked the streets. There really wasn't much point, seeing as how the streets were completely empty anyhow. Everyone was at the hanging, just as they had been yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before that... it seemed to her that the hangings had been taking place over a matter of years, not weeks. It made her sick to see such ordinary people cheering at the deaths of her friends, watching the pack mentality kick in, that animal bloodlust fill their eyes as they shouted for them to 'hang the murdering cockroaches already!' The Pearl might have been a ship of pirates but even they didn't possess that brand of viciousness.
She wasn't naïve. She had been to hanging before; she knew the effect such an event had on the crowd, but this depth of malice was above and beyond that she had ever heard of. Then again, perhaps she shouldn't be surprised. After all, it wasn't often you got to see the entire surviving crew of the infamous Black Pearl being 'brought to justice' so to speak, one or two each day spanning a time frame of more than a fortnight.
Well, the entire crew save one.
A noise to her right cause her hand to automatically reach for her pistol, before registering the rather thin dog that was scavenging for food in the gutters and letting her hand fall.
She took a deep breath and loosened her sword in its scabbard as she wove her way down the alleys that had become familiar over the past two weeks. She had attended every single hanging out of respect for her crewmates, though she knew she would only have one shot - (excusing the pun, she thought grimly) - to make a rescue attempt for one of them. Today was the day. The last man was to be hanged in less than half an hour and Captain Jack Sparrow would live to raid another plump little merchant ship if she had anything to say about it.
Turning a corner, she was greeted with a crowd of people all with their back facing towards her. She could hear the droning voice reading out the long list of crimes and put it to the back of her mind as she began skirting the crowd. Reaching a position from which she had a decent vantage point, her eyes scanned the masses.
Most were peasants, come from the slums of the town for a bit of entertainment and a chance to yell abuse without the chance of retribution from the victim. To her right were the wealthier residents of the port, all dressed in their best clothes. It made Ana's lip curl to watch them fanning and primping themselves daintily as they waited eagerly for her captain – her friend – to be put to death. This was an outing for them: they would watch Jack swing because they had nothing else to do. Well, not if she could help it.
But looking up, her heart sank. The security was tighter then ever it had been for Marty, Quartetto, Gibbs and the rest. Positioned all along the battlements were what must have been at least fifty soldiers in their trademark red coats. More, many more stood guard around the gallows themselves. Taking a closer look at the civilians, she could now distinguish quite a few fingering what looked to be swords and pistols under their nondescript coats and searching the crowd.
Those men – redcoats for sure, brown clothing or not – were looking for her. Everyone knew that the Black Pearl had a woman for a First Mate and her and the crew's loyalty to Jack Sparrow was well known. And now they were waiting for her. She would be lucky to escape alive herself, let alone making an attempt to rescue Jack. And blast it, they were well aware of that fact and knew perfectly well that she was aware of it too.
Only now did she allow herself to look at the gallows properly… to look past the red jackets surrounding the structure, past the weedy little man reading from the scroll he clutched in his hands, past the bulky form of the hangman… and really see the man standing there, wrists tied and head down. His black hair fell down across his face, bandana gone, the assortment of beads and coins for once lying still and silent. He looked like he should be penitent, even fearful, but he stood relaxed and when he looked up to regard the crowd, it was with a calm eye and a steady gaze.
The voice had finally stopped and the hangman stepped forward to start wrapping the rope around his neck. She hurriedly glanced around again, but there were simply too many redcoats. Her heart sank and she struggled to swallow the lump that rose in her throat. She had watched the others die and done nothing because she had known she could only save one and she had chosen Jack. But now he was going to die too and she was powerless to stop it.
The hangman was tightening the noose when Jack turned his head slightly and locked his eyes with hers. His lips curved and for the first time since she had known him, his smiled lacked its usual mischievous lilt. Instead, it was a sad smile, his dark eyes solemn as he nodded his acceptance of the fate he had been dealt.
She choked back a sob and fled. He knew that there was no way for her to get him out of this and had told her wordlessly to escape while she could.
Her hat tumbled off her head as she shoved people heedlessly out of her way. She barely noticed as someone – one of the disguised soldiers – grabbed for her and missed, his exclamation of recognition lost in the people's growing anticipation. Breaking free of the mass of people, she flew down an alleyway and around a corner, where she stumbled to a stop and leant back against the wall, breathing heavily.
The drum roll picked up pace and she briefly entertained a fantasy in which a certain rash blacksmith would intervene and put things to rights. But this was not Port Royal and this time there was no Will Turner or Elizabeth Swann to save the day. No crew to come back for him. No Black Pearl to carry him to safety. Just her and her failed attempts to find a way out for him.
She paused in her thoughts to listen for a second, then stiffened as she lost the fight over her tears. She bowed her head as her body was wracked with sobs – she would be easy game if any of those soldiers found her, but she found she didn't care.
The drum rollhad stopped.
Wow, the second movie is out in six days. I can't wait! Watching the trailer multiple times put me in the mood for writing a little story. Not particularly cheerful I know, but please review anyway to tell me what you thought. It's been a while since I wrote a Pirates of the Caribbean 'fic, so I want feedback. Please. I'm not ashamed to beg.
Tell me what you think of Dead Man's Chest so far as well. I'd like to hear your thoughts.