Chance Encounter: Pirate Kingdom of Troy
Note: This is a sequel to Chance Encounter and if you haven't read that, you might not understand some bits. It is advisable to read that first.
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Balian, Legolas, Will, Jack, etc, but I don't. I'm just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them, savvy?
Chapter 1: Many Meetings
Will Turner, captain of the Flying Dutchman, gazed out across the vast expanse of ocean as the sun rose in the east. On the other side, the sun would be setting and his dear Elizabeth would be getting ready for the evening. He wondered how she was. How long had it been? Six years, three months and thirteen days. He missed her so much. She owned his heart in every sense. It was strange how Davy Jones had lost his humanity when he cut out his heart and yet, Will Turner had not. He had asked Calypso about it once but the Sea Goddess had failed to give him a coherent answer. Will smiled wistfully. There were so many questions in the world and not nearly enough answers. His smile turned into a frown as he spotted two figures in the ocean. They did not look like the usual souls of those who had died at sea.
Will pulled out his telescope and put it to his eye to take a better look. There were indeed two people in the water, waving their arms to attract his attention. They seemed to be drowning. That was odd. The dead usually floated serenely in the water or in boats, waiting to be taken to the other side. They would certainly not be drowning.
"Mr. Turner!" he shouted to his father and First Mate. "Men overboard on the starboard side!"
"I'm onto it, Cap'n!" said Bootstrap Bill, steering the ship towards the two people. A line was thrown to them and they were hauled onto the deck, coughing up seawater. The two contrasted each other perfectly with their colourings. One was as dark as a Spaniard and the other looked as if he had been made from sunlight.
"This is my third shipwreck," said the dark man. He had a foreign accent.
"Maybe you should stay on dry land when you get there," said the one with golden hair.
The darker one of the two looked up at the curious crew. He was about to thank them but his voice died in his throat when he took in Will's face. Will was astounded, for this man whom he had taken from the sea had exactly the same face as he did, save for a long red scar down the side of his face.
"Balian?" said the golden-haired man. "You didn't tell me you had a twin brother."
The one called Balian didn't respond. He stood and stepped towards Will. Seawater dripped from his hair and clothes and ran down his face. "I thank you all for saving our lives," he said "but please, tell us where we are, and who you are."
"You're...you're at World's End," said Will, not taking his eyes off Balian. "I'm Captain Will Turner of the Flying Dutchman. This is my crew. We ferry the souls of those who died at sea to the other side." He looked Balian up and down. "You don't seem dead to me."
"I'm not," said Balian. "At least, if I am, I don't remember dying."
"Is your heart still beating?" asked Will.
Balian felt for his pulse. "Yes," he said. "It is."
"This is strange," said Will.
Balian's companion also had the same face as Will and Balian and he seemed a lot more wary about Will and his crew. He introduced himself as Legolas, and Will gleaned the remaining information from Balian. Legolas was an elf, the man told him. Will had always thought of elves as small, pixie-like creatures but apparently, he had thought wrong. Balian was French, which explained the strange accent. What it didn't explain was how they could understand each other when Balian told him that he did not know a word of English.
"I think there are supernatural forces at work here," said Will. "It certainly wouldn't be the first time. Some higher being wants us to understand each other. Our meeting, therefore, was not a coincidence."
"Is there anyone who might know why we're here?" said Legolas.
"Perhaps," said Will.
Captain Jack Sparrow drained the last drop of rum and peered wistfully into the bottle. "Why is the rum always gone?" he muttered. No one answered him. He didn't expect an answer. After all, he was sitting in a leaky dinghy floating in the middle of nowhere. He put his empty bottle down and took out his scrap of chart and his compass. The chart didn't make any sense at all, and the compass' needle kept pointing in different directions, which meant that something was wrong, usually. What he needed was someone who knew every inch of the sea...
Calypso. That name suddenly popped into his mind. Calypso was the Goddess of the Seas. She would know. Jack Sparrow licked his finger and held it up to see which way the wind was blowing, then he looked at his compass again. The needle had stopped moving.
Barbossa was angry. No, to be exact, he was furious. Knowing that he had been thwarted by one of Jack Sparrow's idiotic ideas was not a good feeling. Recently, he had heard news of that rum-soaked pirate from the island of Tortuga and he was now tracking him through the Caribbean. He peered through his telescope. There. A lone dinghy was sailing doggedly across the azure water. Barbossa smiled. This was the day they would all remember as the day that they caught Captain Jack Sparrow.
Calypso's old abode looked abandoned, but Jack knew better. This was the Sea Goddess' temple and the best place to speak with her. He settled himself in a spot that was relatively uncluttered and crossed his legs in a meditative position. Creatures of every denomination had established themselves in this tiny wooden shack. The pirate flicked away an over-inquisitive flying insect that had landed on his shoulder. He closed his eyes and concentrated his thoughts...
Balian spluttered and coughed up seawater. Everything had happened so quickly that he had not had the time to register what had happened. One moment, the sun was setting and then there was an eerie green flash of light. The next thing he saw was the rising sun. Legolas was glaring at the captain for not having given them ample warning. The elf was soaking wet like the rest of them but he was decidedly tidy. He looked as if he had been bathing with his clothes on instead of being dunked in the ocean. Balian brushed his wet hair out of his face and peered up at Will.
"We're back in the land of the living," said the captain.
"Oh," said Balian. He didn't know what to say.
"You said we're going to find answers," said Legolas who was still scowling. Balian wondered if his friend's sea-longing was affecting him again. The elf wasn't usually this short-tempered.
"We need to go upriver to find them," said Will "and I cannot step onto land until my ten years are over. I'll take you to the island. Will you be able to find the way by yourselves if I give you directions?"
"We can try," said Balian. "We'll come back to find you if we can't."
"Just don't maroon us on the island," said Legolas darkly. He didn't trust these people. They felt wrong, especially the captain. His sea-longing was stronger than ever. He decided not to tell Balian for fear of worrying the young man.
"I give you my word as the captain of the Flying Dutchman that I won't maroon you," said Will, wondering what he had done to win the elf's mistrust.
Life was going on as usual in the city of Troy. Vendors displayed their wares on the streets. Children ran about underfoot, laughing in their play. Inside the palace, King Priam was seated on his throne, reading a letter from King Menelaus of Sparta. He handed the document to a tall, broad-shouldered young man with well-formed features and a neatly trimmed beard. "What do you make of this, Hector?" said the old King after his son had read the letter.
"I think we should accept his offer, Father," said Hector, heir to the Trojan throne and light of the Dardan lands. "Menelaus is an honourable man. I believe he is sincere in his desire for peace between Sparta and Troy. If you will allow me, I shall go to Sparta to negotiate with Menelaus."
Calchas, High Priest of Troy, listened intently to the conversation between the King and his son. Hector was so unlike Priam, who had absolute faith in the gods and their priests. Hector tended to question every omen and he viewed Calchas with suspicion. The High Priest knew that his days of power were drawing to an end if he did not act soon. Priam was old. He could not have many more days left on earth. Hector would replace him as King and Calchas' influence would diminish as the new King would not trust him enough. And now, here was the perfect chance to get rid of Hector once and for all and replace him with his hapless younger brother, Paris.
The High Priest planned to send a message to Agamemnon, High King of Mycenae and Menelaus' older brother, asking him to order Menelaus to kill Hector in exchange for control over Troy. Or maybe they could tamper with the ship. Poseidon was unpredictable. Who knew when He would decide to curse travellers?
"What do you think of this?" Priam asked Calchas.
"I think the prince should be allowed to go to Sparta, for the sake of our two nations," replied Calchas. "The gods will it."
"Then you shall go to Sparta, my son," said Priam, turning back to Hector. "You shall go and forge peace between our two nations. Paris shall go with you. He has been asking me to give him a commission. I have been reluctant to do so but since he will be under your guidance, I will not worry. This will be his opportunity to prove that he is worthy of tasks of greater importance."
Hector hesitated. Paris? He loved his brother but he was not oblivious to the younger man's flaws. Being a younger son who had been overindulged since birth, Paris was an irresponsible young man who left a trail of broken-hearted girls and women behind him wherever he went. But then, maybe all Paris needed was a chance to be responsible.
"I shall inform Paris of your intentions," said Hector, bowing his head in deference to his father.
Balian eyed the dense sunless forest around him warily, expecting the trees to begin moving any moment. Ever since the battle of Helms Deep, the blacksmith had treated forests with suspicion and had given them a wide berth, much to his elven friend's amusement.
"Relax, my friend," said Legolas as he manned the oars of their longboat. "The trees are not going to eat you."
"They killed the orcs," said the man. "Are we there yet?"
"We should be almost there if the instructions that your friend Will Turner gave us were correct," said Legolas.
"I don't know why you don't like him," said Balian. "He seems decent enough."
"He's a pirate, and I can feel there's something wrong with him," said Legolas. "The shack's just ahead and it seems we're not the only ones who have come here to find this Calypso." There was a little sailboat floating just outside the shack. Compared to the Flying Dutchman, it looked like a toy. The two companions tied their boat to a tree and stepped on shore.
It was dark inside the shack. Only the weakest rays of sunlight came in through the grimy windows to penetrate the gloom. Balian moved as carefully as he could, trying not to disturb the piles of clutter. There was a click and he felt something cold and hard against the back of his head.
Jack heard something, but it was not Calypso. He was not alone in the shack. There were two other people. It was too dark to make out their faces. He crept up behind one of them and put his pistol to the back of the man's head. His hand was on the butt of his other pistol, ready to point it at the stranger's companion who had gone out of sight. "Put your hands in the air," he growled.
"Are you Calypso?" said the stranger. He made no move to do as he had been told.
"I don't think it matters what I am and what I am not, mate," said Jack. "I got me gun trained on your head and if you don't do as you're told I'll blow your brains out, savvy?"
"What's a gun?" said the stranger. Jack was speechless. Who on earth did not know what a gun was? Before he could say anything, he felt the cold caress of a blade on his throat.
"Release him," said the other stranger. Jack had to admit, he was good. There weren't many people who could sneak up on Captain Jack Sparrow and put a blade to his neck without him knowing until it was too late.
"You know, son, I can probably blow his brains out quicker than you can cut my throat," said Jack.
"Do you want to test that theory?" said the second stranger.
"Do I get a say in this?" asked the first stranger. He turned his head to glance backwards. "I really don't want to be part of this little experiment. And what is a gun?"
"Will Turner?" said Jack as he caught a glimpse of the man's face. "What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be on the Dutchman."
"I'm not Will," said the man who looked like Will "but he sent us here to find answers."
Jack got a good idea. Maybe he couldn't find Calypso, but Will was the next best thing. He was the captain of the Flying Dutchman and master of the seas, albeit the seas on the other side. He would probably know where the Fountain of Youth was. "I have the answers," he told them "and if you'll be so kind as to take me to the good captain, I shall divulge them when I see him." He removed the pistol from the first stranger's head and he felt the blade being taken away from his neck.
"What's your name?" he asked the first stranger who seemed the friendlier of the two.
"Balian," he replied.
"That's a stranger name," commented Jack.
"What sort of name is Calypso?" asked the other stranger.
"I have no idea," said the pirate. "Gentlemen, shall we?" He indicated the longboat.
Barbossa spotted Jack, but the twice-cursed rum-soaked pirate was not alone. He was in a longboat with two other men, one of which looked suspiciously like William Turner the Second. What was the captain of the Flying Dutchman doing with Jack Sparrow? Wasn't he supposed to be at World's End ferrying the souls of the dead? He decided to trail the longboat and was unpleasantly surprised when it stopped beside a very familiar looking ship. So the Dutchman was on this side again. Had Turner decided to become the terror of the seas as Jones had been? It hadn't even been ten years yet and the last time he had seen Elizabeth Swann-Turner —which had been only a few months ago— she had still been very faithful to her husband.
The crew had also spotted the Dutchman and they were very nervous. "What should we do, Cap'n?" said Pintel.
"We wait," said Barbossa.
The three men in the longboat climbed onboard the ship, only to be greeted by yet another William Turner. This was getting very strange and Barbossa was itching to find out just who was the real captain of the Flying Dutchman.
"Will," said Balian. "We've brought Calypso. He said he would give us answers if he saw you."
Will was only half listening. Behind him, Bootstrap snorted with laughter. The younger Turner's attention was focused on the very familiar newcomer, who grinned.
"My dear William," said Jack. "How lovely to see you, mate."
"What are you doing here?" asked Will.
"Your friends brought me here," replied Jack.
"You tricked them."
"It's their fault they were gullible enough to be tricked."
"I take it this is not Calypso," said Legolas.
"No," said Will. "Calypso is decidedly female. This is Jack Sparrow."
"Captain," added Jack. "It's Captain Jack Sparrow."
"You said you would give us answers," said Balian, stepping forward to look Jack in the eye.
"Sorry, mate," said Jack with a shrug. "I lied."
"Pirates," muttered Legolas.
"What do you want, Jack?" said Will. "And no, I am not joining in on one of your harebrained schemes again."
"Well, William, let me tell you something. Last I remembered, you were the one who...oh bugger." Jack's eyes were focused beyond Will. He was gazing with dismay at something on the horizon. Will turned to see what he was staring at.
The Black Pearl in all its splendour was sailing towards them. "Jack," said Will. "Did you and Barbossa have another disagreement?"
"Captain Turner!" called Barbossa as soon as they were within speaking distance. "I believe you have a certain pirate on board!"
"We're all pirates here, Barbossa!" replied Will. "Which one do you want?"
"You know exactly which one!" said Barbossa. He had Sao Feng's charts in his hand and angrily, he unfurled them. In the centre was a circular hole where the map had been.
"You marooned me on Tortuga," said Jack from behind Will "so we're fair and square."
Balian gaped at the pirates. How could they be so deceitful? In all his life he had never met someone who was as accomplished in the skill of lying as Jack Sparrow and he wondered how men could have so little honour.
Before Barbossa could retort, lightning flashed across the sky, followed by roaring thunder. A jagged bolt of lightning snaked down from the gathered storm clouds and struck the water between the two ships. A whirlpool formed where the lightning had struck and it drew the two vessels in towards the centre.
'Not again,' thought the blacksmith. 'I've only just arrived.'
Here's the first chapter. The story will get more interesting once Balian and his friends meet Hector and Paris.