Legends of the Pirate King…

A little more than a year after the events of AWE, Elizabeth makes the mistake of teaming up with Jack to solve the questions of her future. When a handsome and dangerous friend joins them, complications arise which link Elizabeth's painful past to her unsure present. An epic story of Elizabeth and her adventures as Pirate King, JE. New characters, new settings, and a whole lot of drama. Rated T for a few later chapters. Please enjoy, and review! Oh, and Disney obviously owns all the characters we love to speculate about.

Ch. 1

A thick haze of smoke had settled over the room, and the earlier commotion had died down after Slim-Fingered Kreg and his men left. "Come on, lads," had been Kreg's dark enticement, "I know where we can get our hands on women worth paying for." But the heavily-made-up, good natured girls of Black's Tavern weren't insulted. Kreg would be back another night in better spirits, when he hadn't lost a fortune at the cards or been foiled in a shipping scheme. Kreg was predictable.

The chatter mellowed into more comfortable silence, only occasionally interrupted by an old hand in the drinks with a story or song to share before he chewed his way towards pensive pondering. Marta, a slender golden-haired lass familiar to Black's Tavern, was unusually restrained as she tended the fire and kept mugs full of ale. Port Morgan, offbeat but dazzling on the island of Ile a Vache, had seen its share of heart-breaking beauties, but Marta was the town darling and the daughter of Isadore Black herself, the illustrious and somewhat cagey owner of Black's. Whose daughter Marta was Isadore never would say, though rumors flew endlessly about Black Beard himself, or worse. "Who could be worse than Blackbeard?" Isadore would remark dryly in her thick native accent, and no one would respond. Rumors that Isadore had once gutted a man for questioning too close were also rampant in Port Morgan.

"Kreg insulted her," one crusty sailor whispered to another, nodding at Marta with a knowing wink.

The other, his eyes heavily rimmed in kohl, flattened his brown palms across the worn wooden table, inwardly scoffing. "Is that so? And how can you be sure the lass didn't insult him, eh?"

The sailor shrugged. "She didn't leave with him. Usually does." He glowered into his mug as Marta approached, the graceful sway of her hips dividing the sickly glow of the fire behind them.

"More ale?" she asked in a distracted tone. The sailor nodded, but the other pulled Marta closer with a reassuring brown hand.

"Listen to me, darlin'. This old man swears on his life that cheap Kreg insulted you tonight. Now I told him that couldn't be the case, for a lass as healthy and merry as you to be let off by a thieving imposter."

"It's no business of yours," Marta murmured, but she didn't look away from the man's endlessly dark eyes, a void in his shadowed face. An enigmatic grin lit them briefly, and he landed his hand down on the table with a sudden laugh.

"Like her! Just like her. Perhaps too fair, but the voice so similar…" He turned back to Marta with mirth. "You remind me of an old acquaintance. A very famous one. Perhaps you've heard of the Pirate King?"

A sudden gust fluttered through the windows, and the room seemed to lean in closer. Marta was not the only one thoroughly intrigued.

"Pirate King?" Marta repeated. Indeed she had: the Pirate King that only recently had been talked of in towns and ports across the Caribbean and perhaps beyond, in stories of devastating villains and far-fetched adventures, but what had caught Marta's ear was the most astonishing part of the tales: the Pirate King was a woman.

"Wot, the Pirate King pretty as our Marta?" The sailors and drinkers cried. "We don't believe it!"

"Do," said the dark stranger, with another of his disquieting grins. "The Pirate King once seduced and betrayed the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow to his death, as I hear. It would take quite a beauty to accomplish that."

Silence, and then, "Jack Sparrow? That scoundrel owes me thirty doubloons…" The room dissolved into querulous discussion. "I'd heard she was married to Davy Jones," cried one. "But Davy Jones is dead," groused a well-respected, one-eyed elder. "The Dutchman isn't the terror it once was, or I'm no Captain." "Widowed and disappointed in love, mark me words," suggested another. "Nothing else could cause a woman to live such a life, with no husband, in these dangerous times."

Oh, I think it would be grand, Marta thought breathlessly. She turned to the stranger. "Am I really like her?"

With another laugh, the man leaned forward and kissed her deeply on the mouth, the salty taste of liquor remaining on her tongue. "For certain, sweetheart. But you'll not live such a life, promise me that. If all the pretty lasses disappear for a life of high adventure, there'll be no more reason for a man to return to land."

So you are a man of the sea, Marta thought, savoring the taste he had left on her mouth. "Are the tales of this Pirate King true, then?"

"Every one, my girl."

"Oh," Marta whispered in delight, "Will you tell me?"

The man swallowed the last of his mug, and paused to admire Marta's flushed face, her lips a scarlet ribbon of anticipation. "I think you and I will both have to have a lot more to drink first."

"How much more?" Marta asked impatiently. And pulling a jug nearer, she began to hum, "Drink up me hearties, yo ho…"

Captain Jack Sparrow broke into a smile. "That jug will do for present." He slid his arm around her waist and began to talk in a coarse, soothing voice. "Once Upon a Time…"

"You can't start a pirate tale with 'Once Upon a Time'," Marta said reproachfully. "Start with 'One Dark and Stormy Night…'"

Jack frowned. "Very well. One Dark and Stormy Night, a young lady by the name of Elizabeth Swann was kidnapped by a fearsome crew of cursed pirates…"

Another wind gusted through the room, bringing scowls and talk of hurricanes as the tavern emptied. Long into the night Marta sat on the knee of Jack Sparrow, drinking in the wild stories he told, before leading him with an ardent smile up to her room. And outside in the windy dark, an agile, sure-guided ship sailed into harbor, on the very wings of the storm.

"The Black Pearl!" cried the villages, shutting their windows as if to a bad omen. In Marta's tiny apartment, and unaware of the warnings, the fair haired lass twined her slender limbs eagerly around the Captain, sated in pleasure. Outside, a cloaked maiden watched the lone candle flickering in Marta's window, a poignant smile lighting her weary face.

"Yes, close your doors. Shut your windows. The Pirate King has come."