The crew was on edge as Captain Swann, Captain Barbossa, and Captain Sparrow all Parlayed with Lord Cutler Beckett to determine our fate. We all studied the armada that was to fight against us apprehensively, hoping that the new King of the Brethren Court, who was none other than Miss Swann, would be able to make some sort of deal with the head of the East India Company that would spare our lives.
As the longboat returned to Black Pearl, I could see that Captain Jack was no longer with them, yet Will Turner was. I turned to Pintel in confusion, and my friend shrugged and shook his head. Looking back at the people in the longboat, Pintel and I saw Barbossa give us a nod as they neared, signaling to prepare for the ritual that would free the sea-goddess Calypso from her human bonds. This also indicated that the Parlay did not go in our favor.
As the crew led the tied up Tia Dalma above deck, I heard Captain Swann say, "We'll need to use the Black Pearl as a flagship to lead the attack," as she boarded the ship.
"Oh, will we now?" Captain Barbossa replied sarcastically, his own plans already underway.
"All right, Mrs. Fish," Pintel said. "Come on."
Tia Dalma walked up the steps and onto the deck slowly and without expression. I wondered if she realized she was about to be free, or if she feared that the Brethren Court had determined another fate for her.
"Barbossa, you can't release her!" Turner exclaimed. I could see why he would worry. There was no guarantee that the sea-goddess would aid us once she was free. It was even possible that she would turn on us. I shuddered at the thought.
"We need to give Jack a chance," Miss Swan insisted. Biting my lip, I kept from speaking my mind about what I thought we should do. I agreed with Captain Swann, but since Miss Swann and Mr. Turner were now being held at gunpoint to make sure they didn't try anything, I said nothing. I didn't want a gun pointed at me, especially since I was no longer valuable without the Piece of Eight of the Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea. That wooden eye itched terribly, but it felt even more odd for my eye socket to be empty.
"Apologies, Your Majesty," Barbossa said, partly out of respect and partly out of mockery of Miss Swann's newfound title. "Too long my fate has not been in me own hands." He lifted the Piece of Eight from around the Pirate King's neck. "No longer."
Pintel held a bowl containing seven of the Pieces of Eight before Tia Dalma, and Barbossa dropped in the last two items into the bowl. Tia Dalma's breath was quick with anticipation. I hoped she was planning our enemies' destruction, though a small voice of doubt told me she was planning our own.
"Be there some manner of rite or incantation?" asked Mr. Gibbs.
"Aye," Barbossa replied. He waved his fingers over the nine Pieces of Eight as he said, "The items brought together, done." I caught Miss Swann's eye, and she glared at me for a moment, as though blaming me, before looking back down at the Pieces of Eight. I had kept Captain Barbossa's Piece of Eight safe all these years, but that didn't make it my fault that Barbossa was going against her wishes. I still felt a little guilty all the same. "Items to be burned…" Mr. Gibbs poured some rum over the items to help with that task. "And someone must speak the words: 'Calypso, I release you from your human bonds.'"
Pintel echoed the question running through my mind when he asked, "Is that it?" It all seemed far too simple to release an untamed heathen god.
"'Tis said it must be spoken as if to a lover," Barbossa replied. The crew all grinned, and even Tia Dalma appeared pleased to hear this. I didn't quite understand—I was sure that most of the Pearl's crew had never had a lover before, and Barbossa was no exception. Harlots and whores were not the same, or even similar, to true lovers. Captain Barbossa wasn't going to say it right.
"Calypso!" Barbossa exclaimed loudly and powerfully. "I release you from your human bonds!"
Everyone flinched a little and turned away, almost as though expecting the items to suddenly explode. I didn't wince or look away. The items did not even burn, and I knew why. It was obvious. Captain Barbossa didn't say it right. He had no idea how to speak to a lover, for he never had. He spoke with far too much power and authority. Tia Dalma looked vaguely annoyed, and Barbossa appeared confused.
"Is that it?" Pintel asked.
"No, no, no. He didn't say it right." The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. Everyone turned to me, most in wonder, simply amazed that I had spoken, while others turned to me with amusement. Barbossa appeared as though he would laugh. I swallowed hard as he stared me down. "He didn't…" I looked around for support. Even Pintel offered none. Memories of a pale brunette suddenly began resurfacing in my mind. "You have to say it right," I said more confidently, turning back to the Captain, images of the woman I loved flashing before my eye. I felt pain in my heart as I remembered the grief I had caused her when I ran away from my post in the Royal Navy, turning a pirate and disgracing myself.
I noticed that Miss Swann was looking at me differently than she ever had before. She almost appeared to be able to read my memories—my love—through my eye. I swallowed again, turning to Tia Dalma, who was giving me a mystified look. Even she had never read beneath the outer skin of a pirate I wore. I hesitantly stepped forward. "Calypso," I said quietly and shakily, thinking of my love. I almost saw her in Tia Dalma's eyes as the goddess gazed at me. Leaning closer, I moved aside some of her thick black hair and whispered, "I release you from your human bonds."
I said it right.