Hey you. Thanks for clicking and showing some interest in the story! It's an idea I've had close to two years now, and I'm glad to be finally getting it on the site. I hope you'll read and review, and I do respond to all of my reviews. It's only right. Yes, I'm an avid fan, loved the sequel, and I will be there May 24, 2007 when the third one is released (8 PM show! woot!).
Anyhoo, takes place about six months after Jack is rescued from World's End, ya da... Will and Elizabeth are not married yet. Still engaged. And Lord Beckett (the snot) and Governor Swann are running Port Royal jointly for the time being (though they don't like it one bit). Okay, I'll let you read. I hope you like it! Thanks again!

- Dis/Claimer -

. Prologue .

Eight minutes.

A figure blew passed the window of the blacksmith's shop in the alley, and Will looked up just in time to see it disappear out of sight. He put down the ax he was finishing and walked over to the window carefully, pushing the thick wooden shutters aside to look down the alley. It was completely empty, save for the stray cat hissing at him atop a barrel. He bent his brow, looking up towards the other end.

Nothing.

"Master Turner! I've finished!"

Slowly, Will leaned out of the window with his eyes still alert and fixed on the alley. He knew he had seen someone there.

Seven minutes.

He forced his eyes away from the still darkness of the alley and walked back into the main of the shop. He spotted his young apprentice next to the small coke oven, and Will picked up a sword as he approached him. The boy stiffened a little as Will came up beside him, laying his sword next to his in comparison. To his surprise, Will smiled.

"My congratulations," he said. "You have just made your first sword. A fine job done."

Nathaniel grinned at his compliment, lifting the sword. Will saw the excitement in his eyes. He felt the same way after successfully making his first sword for Mr. Brown years ago. The method seemed to work. Will's smile grew at the memory and the reflection of himself standing in front of him.

Six minutes.

"Keep it," he told him.

The fifteen-year-old boy looked up at him uncertainly. "Sir?"

"Go on," Will insisted. "Take and keep it before someone else does. It's something to be proud of."

"Thank you so much!" Nathaniel said.

Will nodded his consent as he picked up a rag and cleaned his hands from the long day. Nathaniel hurried to collect his things on his way to the door; he put his hat on his head and wrapped his scarf around his neck. He turned back to Will, tipping his hat.

"Good evening, sir."

"Good evening," said Will as the boy opened the door and passed outside. The November chill passed through briefly, and he shuddered. It was getting much colder at night now, and he had forgotten his own scarf.

Five minutes.

He proceeded to do the customary rounds around the shop before he closed. He straightened up the woodpile next to the brick oven; hung up the horseshoes he would need for Mr. Tirings the next morning, washed up, and unlit the oil lamps around the shop.

Three minutes.

He slipped on his coat, making his way over to Mr. Brown's donkey Mary to calm her for the evening. He petted her gently until she kneeled on the floor in a large pile of fresh straw. Will added even more to the pile.

"You'll need it tonight, girl," he said, buttoning his own coat.

One minute.

He smote the last lamp next to him, starting up the stone stairs to the door. As his hand went to reach for the handle, a loud, long creak came from behind him. He spun around, looking around wildly in the dark. His eyes then fell on the dim light at the back of the shop. The back door was swinging open freely without a breath of wind to help it.

Forty seconds.

Mary immediately stood up and made noise excitedly. Will reached instinctively for the sword he kept hanging next to door and brandished it to the unknown dark. Somebody was in here, and he had been right about someone being in the alley. Now they were in the shop. He felt threatened.

Thirty seconds.

His arm stopped moving the sword about as he tried to look through the darkness to see a glimpse of a moving figure. He wanted to shoosh Mary so the he could listen, too, but it might give him away. Slowly, Will took a step down towards the center of the shop. His eyes were sharp, his back was straight, his hand was ready. He waited. A hunk of wood fell from the woodpile ten feet away. He looked in the direction, but he saw nothing but the log falling.

Fifteen seconds.

He was getting angry with himself and the intruder. He had no clue where the man was, and Will did not like not having the upper hand. He felt not only threatened, but vulnerable.

Ten seconds.

The figure moved out of the shadows behind him. In the light from the alley that reached this far across the shop, the sword he raised shined dully. His footsteps made no sound as he came up behind the blacksmith slowly. Then, he pointed the sword directly out in front of him until the tip gently touched the small of Will's back.

Five seconds.

Will straightened. He took a deep breath, thinking of anything to do.

"Turn around," a familiar voice said.

Four seconds.

Will went obey the voice seemingly, but he tried to raise his own sword in defense. Instead, the attacker took a surprise swing at him with his sword, and Will dropped his.

Three seconds.

The man came forward swiftly, grabbing the collar of his coat tightly. He was now prodding at his stomach with the sharp blade. Will gave the man a look of disgust.

Two seconds.

"You won't get away with this," he said angrily.

One second.

Their eyes locked. Then, the figure pushed the sword forward, penetrating Will's coat, shirt, and skin. The blacksmith's eyes grew, but the anger did not leave them. The darkness around him began to spot his vision until it engulfed him, and the man let him slip to the ground, looking at him without pity. His body hit the ground with a soft thud as the intruder pulled the sword from Will.

"I believe, Mr. Turner," he said, "that I just did."

The man thrust it into him forcefully once more.

Without a second look back, the man moved towards the back entrance silently and quickly. He stepped out into the stagnant air of the alley, shutting the door without much sound. Mary kept bucking and crying out.

As this happened, Nathaniel came running back up to the front door to the shop. He pushed on the door, thankful that Will had not left yet. He rushed inside.

"Sir! Of all things, I left my... sword..."

He slowed, taking in the eerie silence that filled the vast hollow space of the shop other than Mary's outlandish behavior. He had never been in the shop when it was this dark and empty before. He stepped forward cautiously, making for the nearest lamp next to Mary's bed. He went over, taking the lamp from its sitting place and lit it. He kneeled next to Mary, cooing her.

"It's alright," he said. "No reason to be afraid of the dark."

Mary did not cease her bucking, and Nathaniel was getting frightened.

"What's wrong, girl?" he asked, trying to hold her down. Mary bucked more. "It's okay."

Suddenly, the boy took a hard hit to the face and flew backwards after Mary's hoof collided with his cheekbone. He touched his stinging face in surprise as he sat up. He looked at the donkey in utter confusion. What had her so riled?

Nathaniel was about to try to stand up when he placed his hand in some sort of thick warm liquid on the floor behind him. His brow furrowed in bewilderment. The only thing he could think it to be was grease or oil of some sort. He lifted his had in disgust, but his hand was not black.

It was a deep red.

Nathaniel's breathe quickened as he looked at his hand. It was blood. Not his own blood, though. He wasn't bleeding.

Frightfully, the boy slowly turned his body around and screamed.

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