"Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." I stood at the front of the ship, singing quietly. I always loved this song. "We extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack. Drink up—." I gasped as a hand suddenly grabbed my shoulder.
"Quiet, missy!" I turned to see Mr. Gibbs. "Cursed pirates sail these waters. You don't want to bring them down on us now, do ya?" I rather liked Mr. Gibbs—ever since I boarded this ship, he told me fascinating stories of pirates and heathen gods, much to the displeasure of my father. But he could be a little frightening, such as this moment.
"Mr. Gibbs, that will do." I looked beyond Mr. Gibbs to see the Royal Navy officer standing behind him. Lieutenant James Norrington appeared as serious as ever. Did the man ever smile?
"She was singing about pirates! Bad luck to be singing about pirates with us mired in this unnatural fog, mark my words."
"Consider them marked," the Lieutenant said. "On your way."
"Aye, Lieutenant." As Mr. Gibbs walked away, I swore I heard him mutter something about it being bad luck to have a woman onboard. I'm not sure that I counted as a woman, yet. I was still a girl.
"I think it'd be rather exciting to meet a pirate," I remarked. I was very surprised to see the stone-faced Norrington smile at this comment. It was a nice smile—he should smile more often.
"Think again, Miss Swann." It took me a moment to realize that he was not referring to the frequency of his smiling, but to my wanting to meet a pirate. "Vile and dissolute creatures, the lot of them." Norrington stepped up beside me, making me feel suddenly small. Lieutenant Norrington was very tall. "I intend to see to it that any man who sails under a pirate flag or wears a pirate brand gets what he deserves. A short drop and a sudden stop."
I didn't understand this last comment. Turning to Mr. Gibbs for a hint, the sailor pulled on the cloth tied around his neck and lolled out his tongue. I gasped when I realized that Norrington was referring to a hanging.
"Lieutenant Norrington, I appreciate your fervor," my father said, stepping forward. "But I;m concerned about the effect this subject will have upon my daughter.;
"My apologies, Governor Swann," Norrington said, walking away.
"Actually, I find it all fascinating," I said, hoping to allay my father's fears. Apparently the comment had the opposite effect.
"Yes, that's what concerns me."
I turned out toward the sea, and my eye caught a parasol floating toward the boat. A rather strange thing…but then I saw a boy. "Look! A boy! There's a boy in the water!"
The crew rushed to look where I was pointing, and upon catching sight of the young boy on a piece of driftwood, Norrington began shouting commands to the sailors around him. "Man overboard! Man the ropes. Fetch a hook. Haul him aboard." Lieutenant Norrington knelt by the boy once his orders were carried out. "He's still breathing," he said in relief.
"Mary, Mother of God," Mr. Gibbs gasped. Once again, the crew rushed to the side of the boat. A horrid sight awaited us—a vessel, completely destroyed, with the remnants still burning.
"What happened here?" my father asked.
"It's most likely the powder magazine. Merchant vessels run heavily armed." Norrington was obviously attempting to keep panic from spreading as Mr. Gibbs gave the more likely explanation.
"A lot of good it did them. Everyone's thinking it, I'm just saying it. Pirates."
During this conversation, I wandered to the unconscious boy, wondering what his story was. What had happened to his ship? Was it really pirates? I heard Lieutenant Norrington giving commands again. Perhaps he didn't smile enough, but he was certainly good at his job.
My father asked me to take care of the boy, so I followed when a sailor moved him out of the way. I gently reached down and brushed aside some of his hair, when he suddenly awoke and grabbed my wrist, his breath quickening in apparent fear. "It's okay. My name's Elizabeth Swann."
"W-Will Turner," the boy replied.
I smiled. "I'm watching over you, Will."
The boy's breathing slowed, and he lost consciousness again. His movements revealed a medallion on a thin chain about his neck. I removed it to take a closer look. A skull gleamed at me and I whispered, "You're a pirate!"
I was startled by a voice suddenly sounding from behind me. "Has he said anything?"
I hid the medallion behind my back as I turned to face Lieutenant Norrington. My first thought was that Norrington would have the boy hung if he found the medallion. "His name's William Turner. That's all I found out." Norrington nodded and ordered nearby sailors to take Will below deck. I retreated to the back of the boat to examine the medallion again. As I looked up from the medallion, I saw a black ship with black sails almost completely hidden in the fog. A Jolly Roger flew from the mast.
I opened my eyes. Slightly confused as to where I was, I looked around nervously. Then I realized that I was in my bedchamber in Port Royal—it had only been a dream of something that had happened many years before. I sat up and went to my dresser, emptying its contents onto the surface before opening the secret compartment at the bottom where I kept the medallion I had taken from Will Turner. I looked up at the mirror and fastened the chain around my neck, getting lost in thoughts of the past. I mostly thought of Will—we had been such dear friends, but then he became "proper."
A knock brought me out of my daydreams. "Elizabeth?" my father asked. In my haste to grab my dressing gown, I clumsily knocked over a chair. "Are you all right? Are you decent?"
I quickly stowed the medallion down the front of the bodice of my nightgown. "Yes. Yes."
Governor Swann entered the room, accompanied by two of our maids. "Still abed at this hour?" The maids blinded me as they opened the curtains. "It's a beautiful day. I have a gift for you."
My father revealed a lovely new dress. "Oh, it's beautiful!" I said with a smile.
"Isn't it?" my father agreed.
Suddenly suspicious, I asked, "May I inquire as to the occasion?"
"Does a father need an occasion to dote upon his daughter?" I grinned and went behind the dressing screen in my room. As I began undressing, my father continued. "Actually, I um…I had hoped you might wear it to the ceremony today."
"Ceremony?" I asked, not really paying attention.
"Captain Norrington's promotion ceremony."
I frowned and peeked out from behind my dressing screen. "I knew it!" My father had long tried to get me interested in the man. Of course, I was, in a way. I did like Captain Norrington. But I didn't feel anything more than friendship for him.
"Commodore Norrington, as he's about to become. Fine gentleman, don't you think? He fancies you, you know." I gasped as the maid pulled the corset tight.
"Elizabeth? How's it coming?" my father asked, sounding a little worried.
"It's difficult to say." I was glad that the conversation had turned away from James' feelings toward me.
"I'm told it's the latest fashion in London."
"Well, women in London must have learnt not to breath." I gasped again, taking in as much air as the corset would allow—which wasn't much. I heard someone else enter the room.
"Milord, you have a visitor."
As soon as I heard my father's footsteps fade, I said, "Estrella, would you please loosen this horrid thing?"
"But that's not the style, miss."
"I'd rather breathe than be fashionable," I said, still gasping for air. "Just a little bit, at least."
"All right, miss."
A few minutes later, I headed downstairs. Will seemed to have just shown my father a sword. "Elizabeth," my father said with a smile. "You look absolutely stunning."
"Will." I smiled as a hand went to where his medallion was still in hiding. "It's so good to see you," I said as I walked down the stairs. "I had a dream about you last night."
"About me?" he asked, his eyes lighting up.
"Elizabeth, is that entirely proper for you to—."
Ignoring my father, I continued. "About the day we met, do you remember?"
Will smiled. I loved his smile. "How could I forget, Miss Swann?"
"Will, how many times must I ask you to call me Elizabeth?"
After a moment's hesitation, Will said, "At least once more, Miss Swann, as always."
"There, see? At least the boy has a sense of propriety." I noted my father's use of the word "boy." He was subtly pointing out that Captain Norrington was a "man." In this case, I agreed. "Now, we really must be going."
If Will wished to behave as society commanded, then fine. I would treat him as his position, and mine, dictated. "Good day, Mr. Turner," I said with no trace of a smile. With that, my father and I left for Captain Norrington's promotion ceremony at the fort.
I was very glad I had asked Estrella to loosen my corset. It was rather hot, and I was sure that shallow breathing would have certainly caused me to faint as I stood watching James walk between the rows of soldiers to get his promotion. I watched with great interest when he unsheathed his new sword and he did quite an impressive series of movements with it. I smiled slightly, imagining him dueling with a pirate Captain.
As all the upper-class men and women of Port Royal mingled after the ceremony, I found myself abandoned by my father and instantly approached by Commodore Norrington. "May I have a moment?" He offered me his arm, which I accepted, and we walked up onto a platform on the battlements of the fort. The view of the ocean was marvelous. I could see a few Royal Navy soldiers talking with a sailor on a nearby ship in the harbor. He appeared rather weathered, dirty dreadlocks coming from beneath a tri-corner hat—what stories he could probably tell!
"You look lovely, Elizabeth," James said, pulling my mind back to the battlements.
"Thank you," I said with a smile. I noticed that James appeared quite nervous.
"I, uh, apologize if I seem forward but I must speak my mind." I wondered what was coming—a profession of undying love? A proposal? My heart nearly stopped as I considered that possibility. How would I answer? "This promotion throws into sharp relief that which I have not yet achieved." He turned to me. "A marriage to a fine woman." My breathing was slightly harder to find. "You have become a fine woman, Elizabeth."
I leaned against the stone beside me as I took a few deep breaths. Glancing nervously down to the rather treacherous water below, I silently thanked God that my corset wasn't any tighter, for surely I would have fallen, perhaps to my death.
"Elizabeth?" I looked back up at James, who, for being the powerful and commanding man he was, was appearing rather anxious.
"I-I…" I knew that my fairy tale ending with Will could never happen, especially since Will—Mr. Turner—was now conforming to society. And James was a fine man. It wasn't as though he was an enemy, or I didn't like him. He was my friend. The look in his eyes showed that my silence was making him very insecure. Unable to say anything else, I simply said, "Yes."
James' face lit up and he smiled. He really should smile more often. "Excellent."
A few days later, my fiancé and I were walking through the streets of Port Royal. Many women were whispering behind their hands and pointing at us, and a few of the younger women were giving me quite dirty looks, jealous that I was to be the wife of such a man as James.
"Commodore Norrington. Miss Swann." I turned to see Mr. Turner exiting the blacksmith's workshop. He looked at where James and I had our arms linked. "I heard about your engagement. Congratulations." His eyes, however, did not reflect the pleasure in his voice. "I hope you will be very happy together."
"I'm sure we will, Mr. Turner," James said.
The donkey in the blacksmith's shop suddenly brayed, and I could hear a contraption moving inside. Mr. Turner looked at the door. He nodded to us. "Good day." He hurried into the shop.
James began leading me away. "Just a moment." I unattached myself from him and briskly walked into the blacksmith's shop. Mr. Turner was calming the donkey, and he jumped slightly in surprise when he turned and saw me.
I pulled the medallion from inside my bodice, where it had been for days. With a tug, I pulled it from my neck and held it out to Mr. Turner. "It's yours."
Mr. Turner stepped forward and took his hesitantly. After a few moments' examination, he smiled. "I thought I lost it the day they rescued me. It was a gift from my father. He sent it to me." He looked up. "How did you get it?"
I bit my lip. "I took it."
Mr. Turner's smile faded as this sank in. "Why?" he finally asked.
"I thought you were a pirate." Mr. Turner blinked in surprise. "And James would have had you hung."
Mr. Turner shook his head. "I'm not a pirate," he said with a small smile. I didn't return it.
"I know." And with that, I left.