Dear Readers,

I've been wanting to write this ever since I saw the second movie. What you see before you is the prologue: feel free to skip over it once I add chapters, but be forewarned as you'll probably miss important foreshadowing.

This is to set the scene and to start the majour Norrington-centric plot going. (yay!) Here, the story is told carried by two characters who interact with Norrington before Chapter 1 takes place: Lord Beckett and Tia Dalma. Each section of the prologue (collectively known as the "Eulogy of Hope and Despair") is written by a different person, e.g. Beckett' s POV is in Despair, Tia in Hope. Norrington also makes a few appearances in here.

Tell me what you think-- I love getting feedback!

--cy.

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.eulogy of despair.
Lord Cutler Beckett

I have never been one for lengthy introductions. Much as I should like to revel in the excesses of my victory, I cannot: recent events have thrust upon me a most pleasant task to attend to. Mercer has already been dispatched to the docks as I ordered, the wheels of a greater scheme are starting to churn into movement.

Inspection of the map on my wall proved to further my enthusiasm. My fingers left ghost-trails around the Isla de Muerta, the Isla Cruces, then islands for which there were no names recorded. To think that after so many failed attempts I held the keys to the kingdom, that I was now the sole master of an endless expanse of sea; it quite boggled the mind.

And to think this happened only an hour before; I am richer now, sipping tea in my office in an insignificant port town, than the wealthiest shah in Persia or most miserly lord in Britain. How very strange.

Earlier this morning, a man entered my office and, much to my disapproval, promptly proceeded to soil my carpet in boots laden with mud and entrails appearing to be from a pigsty. Most revolting and in very bad form, my dear commodore.

Despite this somewhat molted and moldy mockery of yourself, you did me a great service: procuring for my benefit the heart of one Davy Jones. Ah, what a sweet taste domination has, what triumphant flavour!

You see, my friend, every man has a price he will willing pay. It is what I have been trying to explain to them all along. I have bought out scores of people: the governor, his daughter, a blacksmith, curriers and butlers--the list is immeasurable. Does it not seem so illogical that another man might follow in their footsteps? How is it possible to blame them, when I can provide them with what they most want, save what they most cherish, all in exchange for something they hardly realize the worth of?

Yet, one affair stands out in my mind. There once was a man reduced to something less than a man, who scorned my logic and methods, preferring not to deal in "fiendish trickery and outright manipulation of the human mind".

Ah, but who is being manipulated now, my no-longer commodore? Who is begging for the life you once had, something that you would have given up quite readily for something else, more valuable to you back then?

I have spent my life learning from the faults of others so that I could avoid such mistakes. You have given me an excellent example of what I never must do. For that, perhaps I shall thank you. For all else though, I shall despise you.

You held the world in your hands and you did not know it. Or, if you did, you were too far blinded by your anger to make use of that.

I have no sympathy for you, Mr. Norrington, none whatsoever.

You have sold me the greatest weapon the ocean has to offer for a cheap repayment: restoration of yourself to a former glory, if indeed it was glory. In your hands held the power to ask of me the world, and I would gladly have given it you. Now you are privy to no thought of your own, anything you hide shall never remain hidden from me: you are property of the East India Company, and though you bear no brand to show it, you are my pawn as well.

Fair trade, as I have known it to be called, is more than often not as fair as one might wish. I have swindled others out of lesser fortunes; they at least were aware of their gamble. You, however, were aware of nothing.

So, fly. Fly away as far as you can, on the fastest ship you can, you can never escape this disgrace which has marred permanently the honour you toiled so hard to retrieve without blemish. Escape as best you are able, you shall always be drawn back to me. There are some marks that can never be erased, curses never lifted, games never won, as I am pleasantly sure you will discover.

Perhaps some day you will genuinely wish for a release; I would not doubt it. You, after all, raised the bet too high and are paying the price. Fly, my dear commodore, fly, and enjoy your brief taste of freedom: I guarantee it will be short-lived. Fate, circumstance will always drag you back here.

Standing here, gazing out my window unto the miniature ships and people, I smile to myself as a child might, confident of his superiority over his playthings. I shall watch them then, a moment more, before I begin to tug the puppet-stings on their limbs and make them dance jarringly to my tune.

Ah, I shall savour this taste. It is one of the best teas I have ever had.

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. eulogy of hope .
Tia Dalma

Nestled away in the marshes and swamps, I don't get many visitors coming to me without a purpose. Not that it's a bad thing; it just means that there is a reason for each journey, a reason perhaps the traveler might not want me to see. But I see it anyway. If I couldn't, why else would they come?

So many people have arrived at my home as of recently. The world hasn't gotten any worse: just the people living in it. It is one of the reasons I no longer venture out into the turbid seas, which though they are clear are more muddied and troubled than I have ever seen them.

I might divine what might happen next, if for my own amusement, if you hadn't walked in, dripping and exhausted. I am not surprised: the crab claws inform me that there will still be more coming to my door. Perhaps you've heard of some of them?I don't get many like you, though, those woefully ignorant of the sea and its power despite having lived on it their whole life. What could someone like you, a man who has everything, want from me, Commodore?

I can spin any story you like, cure any ailment you have, restore what has been lost... provided something is given in return. Long have I been known throughout these lands for performing miracles you could barely dream of. Trinkets and poultices crowd the walls of my home, magical rings (one is missing and I do not need to consult the oracles to know where it has gone) clutter the shelves, and various body parts of things once living hang from my rafters.

You have seen all this evidence and yet you are still skeptical, asking me what I can do for you. My dear boy, what can't I do for you?

Ah, I see. You want to know the story about Davy Jones. It has become very popular. But for this you must give something in return...

You understand this well, I can tell from your eyes that you know well what you have to pay for what you wish to attain. Curious, how your face darkens so when I come to the part about his heart. But what revelation is there that am I not invited to see?

You love a woman, it's clear. And you, like Davy Jones, are considering an extreme alternative.

Perhaps I ought to tell you it is too late for that. Something, perchance Destiny, whispers to me that you won't listen: the strings of fate are already entwined around you, you have stayed too long in the tide not to resist being pulled away by it. Very well. There is something I can give you, I have it here for that, which I beneath the--no, it's not there.

And in trade, what do I want? Wait and see. I believe you know, even though you deny it.

Now, as you think that over, I shall return to searching for what I wanted to give you before. Everything ends up in this room somehow: my kitchen has its own tide of destiny, I believe. Here, this is where it must be. Remedies for love-sickness, seasickness, the last terrible assault on your digestion, distilled jealousy, bottled pride, an extra jar (perfect!), a glass ey-- aha! There.

Why the hesitation? You'll never make it out to sea if you don't have a boat, or am I mistaken? You are far too easy to read, boy, I need no charm or glamour to see what you are trying to conceal. I see you understand.

That is the price required of you.

It is too much? I don't think so. When you consider the-- I smile toothily and pause here, not maliciously at all --circumstances, it's a steal for someone of your rank and means, eh commodore? Something you've already lost, something you hope to be rid of, it is not so hard to trade.

There, I knew it. You are willing to part with that, no?

A throw of the claws, a touch of destiny, and the game is begun. I wonder, as the lonely boat leaves and dissolves into darkness, will you take the same path as he did overcome by pain and self-loathing, or will you journey on, too afraid to give up what you most wish to lose but is still most precious to you?

I smile and gaze out on the candle-lit water. Your story should be an interesting one, commodore. Darkness snares you, binds you, threatens to engulf you: what will you do? Look into the heart of the beast as another has done or bow down to it?

I look forward to seeing you again, should you decide to return from World's End. Perhaps I shall have another story of a broken-hearted man seeking solace to tell, perhaps I shall be told of a hero's sacrafice or, if you are unlucky, of a coward's failure. Will you, like the phoenix, rise from the ashes of your defeat? Or will you find yourself bound too closely in another pact?

Mankind is as limitless as the ocean. An eternity of paths spread out before you now, all ready for the taking. What remains now is for the adventurer to settle on one and stick with it to the end, heedless of anything but his own will. I cannot wait to hear the stories.

The choice, after all, is yours.