Notes to the reader: (updated Nov. 2007!)
--All right, mates. Finally, an update! Letting you know of some changes that'll be happening… first, I'm going through and updating the story as I go, making it more nautically correct (now that I've actually crewed a ship and have some semblance of knowledge how they work), as well as deleting these pesky A/Ns. Everything that you guys need to know, hopefully, will be addressed here or written in replies to reviews…
--I do actually have a life outside of the internet… and it does in fact require most of my time and energy just to keep it on the healthier side of insane. Please don't shoot me if I can't update every week or seomthing. --''''
--If you haven't read the Bloody Jack series (by L.A. Meyer) … do it! They're amazing books! But I think you can still read this story and have it make sense, anyway…
--This story takes place just after Under the Jolly Roger (book 3), where Jacky Faber "escaped" from her captivity and certain execution for piracy (or privateering under a revoked Letter of Marque), and is now sailing for Boston in naught but a lifeboat.
--Yes, I know there are two more books out. I started writing this one before the fourth came out. So there, it shows how old this 'fic truly is.
--And considering that this is my first story involving Jacky or any POTC characters, please don't sue me or anything if you don't like how I've portrayed them! While you're at it, don't sue me for copyright infringement either, since I do not own Jacky or the POTC characters…
--One more note. UTJR ends in the year 1805. You're beginning to see the trouble here, aren't you? That takes place at least a hundred years after POTC. So for sake of argument, or more like for sake of plot, I'm going to rewind Jacky back to the days when Sparrow roamed the waters… More specifically, two years before the main plot of COTBP.
(that last part was in italics because I've gotten a lot of questions about it)
--There will be characters from other tales that get cameos in here. For example, a minor charrie from In the Belly of the Bloodhound, and another pirate from a classic work of fiction by Robert Stevenson. I claim no rights to them. I do own a few charries in here, however, you'll probably recognize them because you've never heard of them before... XD
--Many thanks to: LA Meyer (for introducing us all to the Wonderful World of Jacky!), Kyogi Ruka (for being my ever-so-critical editor), all of my fabulous reviewers (every one of you rock my world!), and KTTC forums (because they provide me with much entertainment, debate, and friendship, and if naught for them I would've never known of my true love, the Lady Washington)
…and many thanks to you for reading all that. If you so desire, read on, my friend!
The Further Misfortune of our Beloved Jacky Faber
Prologue, aka the Third-Person Preamble
Beyond the place where sight and thought coincide, beyond the realm of sane visions, in that world of broken images and distorted views, of smoke and lies and mist… there begins this tale. You may have heard of such a place, where fog and mist cover all and the sensation we call sight is naught but a glimpse of what might be. Many times such ghastly vapors in the air are associated with bogs and swamps, or perhaps even sacred lagoons, but nay, none of these land-based locations is where our story begins. This tale is that of a pirate, and thus, it is set in the middle of the bloody Atlantic itself.
Alas, said pirate is not one of the gentlemen of fortune that I am quite sure you know and love - Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa, Joshamee Gibbs, William Turner, or other such characters. In fact, the term gentleman of fortune would not even be the proper name for our hero, seeing as she is a young woman! For, as you probably know by now, but I am still required to say, this tale revolves around one infamous pirate by the name of Jacky Faber.
And somewhere out there, in that twisted realm of mist, with naught but a lifeboat to protect her from the Locker down below… Jacky was growing desperate.
Not only did she probably have an entire fleet of the British Navy chasing after her (how could she not, with a reward of two hundred-fifty pounds on her head?), but she had gone for at least a week without food, and based off her dire thirst (rather than keeping track of time), Jacky figured that she hadn't tasted water in over two days.
It had been yesterday morn when Jacky entered this bloody mist. At first she had tried to paddle around it, but it seemed to follow her. No matter how north or south she paddled, it always remained just to her west – between her and America. Seeing as she had no compass, and was thus forced to use the sun or stars to tell direction by, she was at first quite apprehensive about entering just a ghastly field of vapor. Yet, in the end, her rumbling hunger got the better of her, and she pushed westwards, into the mist.
Now, here she was. Jacky Faber, captain of the late Emerald, was lost, starving, and dying of thirst on that very sea that had formed her career, her passion, her life.
Chapter 1: Through the Mist
A day an' a half I've been rowing in this bloody mist.
Three days since I've tasted water.
Nine days since I've eaten. (Heh, if you could call biting a few pieces of hardtack "eating".)
Eleven days since I've seen Jaimy.
God knows how many days until I reach land.
I clench my teeth, leaning forward and gripping the paddles tighter. I can't afford to think like that. Not here. Not now.
Just focus on the task at hand, Jacky, that's what I tell myself. Stop your whining and focus on rowing. Forget those blasted sores on your hands! Pain won't conquer Bloody Jack! …but, God, it's getting harder and harder as the days go on. I can't keep doing this forever!
I feel the panic arising in me again, and take a few deep breaths to calm myself. I was not finished yet. This mist could not go on forever. Sometime, I had to break out of this God-forsaken strip of water. All I had to do was keep rowing…
When I had started out from the Wolverine eleven days ago, it had seemed like everything might actually work out. After being accused of piracy, captured by the Royal Navy and sentenced to hang by the neck… I was free, at least for the time being, and I was finally square with my beloved Jaimy. I had a lifeboat, too, which was most certainly better than nothing. I thought I would simply flag down a merchant ship and catch a ride to Boston, but no. I found out once again that I was foolishly wrong. I've been at sea for eleven days, and I haven't seen one bloody ship. Then this fog came, and it's gotten so hard not to give up the small remnant of hope that I once had.
At this point, I'd be glad to be found by any ship… so long as it's not one of His Majesty's, that is.
I pause my rowing and pull the paddles in, allowing myself a short rest. I can't help but think how much easier this would be if only I had a little wind… But no, the air's been still for several days, forcing me to use paddles to go anywhere. Right now the sail is folded up, just in case a hint of a wind comes back, but I'm already beyond the point of hoping for something as fortunate as that.
I glance upwards. Thick greyish smoke swirls above me, just the same as always, blocking the sky from view. It has been light for several hours, so I guess that I'm approaching noontime. With the hottest part of the day coming on, I know that I'll only dehydrate myself further by pressing on.
Maybe if I just lay down for a while, things will be easier when I wake up… A little sleep won't hurt, now would it?
I'm actually starting to take these thoughts seriously. I take my head in my blistered hands and let out a suppressed groan. I know that if I let myself sleep now, who knows where the sea will have swept me by the time I awake? Yet my eyelids are drooping, my throat is parched and cracking, and my stomach is complaining louder than it has since my orphan days in Cheapside… It would be good to forget my troubles for just a few hours. I close my eyes, my head starts to fall…
No! Jacky, damn you, stay awake!
I snap my head up, and determine to do something – anything – to keep myself from nodding off. I stare off the larboard side of my boat, searching for something, God knows what, but something out there. I can't be alone on this sea, with naught but water below me, can I? My eyes sweep past the prow of the boat, and then over to the starboard side. A shadow passes by. I glance behind me, past the stern, then back to larboard.
My mind finally registers what my eyes caught a glimpse of. I whip my head over to starboard, anxiously peering out. There it is again, a dark form of some sort, nearing at an approximate twenty-degree angle. I instantly put my oars back in the sea and steer around so that I'm running parallel to this… thing. I paddle as fast as I can, as hard as I can, nearly hyperventilating, when suddenly, a bit of luck shines true. The mist clears, just a little bit, but enough to see a ship approaching me. I let out a joyful whoop (more like a wheezing croak, considering my condition, but it's the thought that counts), and hurry to raise my sails.
A ship! At last!
The ship approaches nearer, and I stand up, waving an oar in the air and hollering to the best of my ability. Not exactly the wisest course of action, I know, I know. I could capsize, or the ship could very possibly not see me and merely run me over… or many other unfortunate things could occur, but I shall not think about them right now. All I care about is the hope of being picked up out of this bloody mist! Hmmm, perhaps my luck is finally changing for the good, because the mist clears away just enough so I can see the hull of the ship. It looks old, worn… but sturdy enough. And, glory, she's real all right! Not some trick of the smoke or my imagination, and that's good enough for me.
I sit down in my lifeboat and start rowing again, imagining all the sorts of things that might await me… water, plenty of food (even maggot-infested tack sounds nice at this point), a bunk or even a spot between two of the guns where I might sleep, some fresh water, a ride to Boston, and glorious water! I think I might drink a whole barrel if I don't contain myself.
I let out a crazed laugh, just from the relief of it all. As if in a perfectly timed response, the mist clears a bit more, and I make out a man standing near the bow of the ship. He apparently sees me, too, as he gives me a slight wave, then calls to his crewmates. Three more men join him on the prow, then one more, a burly fellow with a strange-looking hat, pushes his way to the bow. I hail him, and he gives me a signal in return, instructing me to pull up along the starboard side of the ship. I signal my understanding, and then get back to work with my oars.
Let's see, a few strokes this way, turn a little bit, edge a little closer… one, two, one, two, one, two, there you go, Jacky! You've got it now. Turn a little bit that way… and nearly there… got it!
A line falls down from over the rail, and I hastily secure it to my lifeboat. The Jacob's ladder comes tumbling down slightly afterwards. I make sure the sails are securely tied down and double-check the line attaching to my boat, and then I grab my trusty sea-bag from the cabin and scamper up the ladder, eager to be on a ship again. Make no mistake, my little lifeboat has proven sure and faithful to me these past eleven days, and I'm grateful to her for that. But then I remember the feeling of the roll of the waves under my feet, the wind sighing as it passed through the rigging above me, and the deep groan of the boards around me… and I smile to myself, imagining life on a ship once again.