Hello, FantasyBard here. Going back over my Pirates trilogy, I saw that there was a lot of grammar mistakes that I would have liked to fix, but never had the time. Now that it's summer, I was going to make this a little project of mine. Plus, if anyone wants to reread the story, that's perfectly all right with me. I hope that this makes the story a little easier to read.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean. I do not own in now, nor will I ever own it. I am making this for my own pleasure, and am gaining no sort of monetary gain from it.
Rates T for scenes of Sensuality/innuendo and action violence.
Prologue: Fog Bound
The fog hung over the Atlantic Ocean like a thick white blanket. The shroud of white seemed to be a solid mass, though it was as thin as air. Through the tendrils of fog, the mighty prow of the H.M.S. Dauntless, rode the waves. Water lapped at its bows as it passed smoothly through the water. It was very eerie to be trapped in this fog, because you had no idea what lay beyond that wall, and what might happen with each passing moment: it might be smooth sailing or it might be rocks that would scuttle the ship and force the crew to take desperate measures. What made it worse was that the fog seemed somehow, unnatural. The day had started clear and sunny. The fog had come up suddenly, with no warning whatsoever. It caused the more superstitious of the sailors to shudder and say a quick prayer to the fates against evil.
A sound suddenly sliced through the ominous silence. It was the sound of voice, the voice of a young child singing.
"We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot. Drink up me hearties, yo ho"
At the front of the ship, a young girl sang into the fog. She was twelve years old, a little young to be singing such a violent song, but this young girl was no ordinary young girl. She continued to sing, her mind totally absorbed in her fantasies. She didn't notice the figure that was creeping up behind her, noiseless and threatening.
"We extort, we pilfer, we filch, we sack, drink me hearties, yo ho-"
She gaped in fright as a hand clapped onto her shoulder. She whirled around and was confronted with the sight of a grizzled sailor. "Quiet, missy." He said in a gravelly voice that was harsh with warning, "Cursed pirates sail these waters." He looked at the fog around them, as though expecting to see a pirate ship appearing out of the mist at any moment. He turned his eye back on her and shook her slightly, as though trying to drive his point home. "You don't wanna bring 'em down on us now, do ya?"
The cold sound of a military voice interrupted his next words, "Mr. Gibbs that will do."
Elizabeth Swann, (for that was the name of the girl who had been singing) looked past Joshamee Gibbs to see three people standing a little way from them. One was a tall and good looking man of about twenty-one, wearing the uniform of a Lieutenant. It was he who had spoken, and it was obvious just by seeing and hearing him that here was a man who was used to having his orders obeyed. A little ways back from him was a man who looked to be in his mid-forties. His face was kind and gentile, though perhaps indicating that he could be befuddled very easily. The third person of the party hitherto described was another girl, of about fifteen. If girl was even the right word, for she seemed very grown up for her age. One might have said, from a just a cursory glance that she was rather uninteresting, even plain. Her hair was a shade of blonde that was neither particualarly lusterous nor golden. Her body was not slender, nor was it plump. Her eyes were a soft grey color and they too held a quiet intelligence and strength that added to the image of a maturity. In short Emma Swan was no more ugly than beautiful, she was just ordinary. One was probably also able to tell that she didn't really mind that at all.
Gibbs turned around and tried to defend his actions. "She was singin' 'bout pirates. Bad luck to be singin' about pirates with us mired in this unnatural fog, mark my words."
Lieutenant James Norrington was singularly unimpressed. "Consider them marked." He replied coolly, "On your way."
The tone of his voice left no room for argument. "Aye, Lieutenant." He muttered as he passed the little group. Sulkily, he added under his breath, "Bad luck to have a woman onboard, too. Even two miniature ones." When he was sure that no one was looking, he took a pull from the flask he wore about his neck. If the Lieutenant, or the captain ever caught him drinking on duty he would be flogged for sure. He caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye of the elder Miss Swann, watching him carefully. He tried, unsuccessfully, to hide the flask from her view, but she had already seen what he had done. However, to Gibbs' surprise, she made no move to report him. She merely smiled at him and turned back to face the prow. Gibbs huffed and went beck to his duties; perhaps having a woman onboard wasn't so bad in some cases after all.
Emma had indeed seen Gibbs drinking on duty, but she chose to not bring it up, despite the fact that it was against regulations. She liked Gibbs, even if he was gruff and a bit to superstitious for his own good. Besides, why punish him when he meant no harm to anyone? Every man has their little sins, and Emma didn't want to be the one who brought them to light.
Her little sister, Elizabeth, who always tried to act older than her twelve years, said to Norrington, "I think it would be rather exciting to meet a pirate."
Norrington probably wouldn't have tolerated that tone of voice from any of the men he commanded. With Elizabeth, though, he merely smiled indulgently. "Think again, Miss Swann." He said, as he came up to stand beside her to look at the surrounding water. "Violent, dissolute creatures the lot of them. I intend to see to it that any man who sails under a pirate flag or wears a pirate brand gets what he deserves." His smile widened, as though he were enjoying an inside joke, "A short drop and a sudden stop."
Elizabeth was confused by this, until she looked over at Gibbs, who helped to clarify what Norrington had just said: a man being hanged.
Elizabeth gasped. Her father, Governor Weatherby Swann, quickly stepped in front of Gibbs and said with evident concern, "Lieutenant Norrington, I appreciate your fervor, but, I'm concerned about the effect this subject will have upon my daughter."
Emma had to smile at Elizabeth's miffed look. Their doting father was a bit protective of both his children, a fact which very often annoyed Elizabeth no end. But than, Elizabeth was sometimes to adventurous for her own good, so maybe it was for the best.
"My apologies, Governor Swann.' said Norrington, formal as always in the midst of his superiors. He bowed slightly and walked back onto the main deck
"Actually, I find it all fascinating." said Elizabeth, with the enthusiasm of a girl who didn't know the truth behind half of the stories that she read.
"Yes, that's what concerns me." Leaving Elizabeth's side, he followed Norrington, stopping for a moment to say to Emma, "Try and get her mind on something else, will you? You'll be able to dot it faster than anyone else."
"I'll try, father." said Emma.
Emma walked up beside her sister, slightly amused to see her fuming with temper. "Oh, come now, Elizabeth. You mustn't blame father for being protective. You know what he's been like ever since mother died."
"I just wish that he wouldn't treat like I'm still a child."
"Elizabeth, the last time I checked, you are still quite young."
"I know, but I'm not a helpless babe either. I just wish that he would accept that."
Emma refrained from saying that there was more to piracy than anything that was published in books, a much darker side. In all probability, Elizabeth wouldn't listen.
Elizabeth and Emma were almost totally unalike. Whereas Emma was quiet, studious and patient, Elizabeth was rash, adventurous, and lively, already a handful at ten years. At fifteen years of age, Emma's education had been more extensive than most girls her age or class received. Her knowledge went beyond music, dancing and embroidery. She was also a student of history, philosophy and politics. However, she had one gift that couldn't come through years of study: an innate understanding of the human character. She could tell a lot about someone just by looking at them, and before even sharing two words with them, she knew what they were like. Elizabeth, though she was very bright herself, had a hard time sitting still. She much preferred to read stories, especially stories of piracy. Her active imagination had given way to some rather unusual games back home in England and had caused their father, not to mention her nursemaids, no small amount of headaches. Nonetheless, despite the differences between them, the sisters were incredibly close and nothing had been able to stop them from forming a close friendship.
Elizabeth was silent for a moment, than she said, quietly, "Do you think, is mother were alive, she would be coming with us right now?"
Emma shook her head, as she put her arm around Elizabeth's shoulder, "I don't know, Elizabeth. She had a strong mind, but her heart was weak ever since she had influenza as a girl. When she suffered that relapse, she just couldn't take it. If she had remained healthy, however, I don't think that anything would have kept her from making this trip. You and she were very much alike, always looking for a new adventure somewhere beyond the horizon."
Elizabeth smiled, though it was sad, "I miss her."
"So do I, Elizabeth. But she is watching over us. And she always will be."
That brought an end to the conversation, for there didn't seem too much else to say. They were sad to be leaving England, and all the memories that were associated with it, but the prospect of a new adventure and a new life to build caused even the most saddened part of them to be giddy with excitement.
The silence was broken when Elizabeth spotted something in the water below them, something that wasn't supposed to be there: a parasol floating by the ship on the gently rolling waters. Of all the strange things that Elizabeth had expected (and hoped) to find on this voyage, this certainly hadn't been one of them. She poked her sister in the ribs to get her attention and pointed to her discovery. Emma was just as surprised by Elizabeth at this odd discovery, and together the two watched the parasol, following its course as it passed by the ship.
"What could a parasol be doing this far out at sea?" wondered Emma, softly to herself.
Elizabeth gave her a look. "What?"
"It's a perfectly valid question." said Emma, defensively," It had to have come from somewhere and we're miles from land, so..."
She couldn't finish that sentence for her eyes had shifted from the parasol back the way it had come. Her eyes grew wide and she gripped Elizabeth's shoulder, "Elizabeth, look!"
Elizabeth looked where her sister was pointing and gasped. There, barely floating above the water, a mess of lashed together driftwood, upon which were huddled two apparently unconscious figures.
Elizabeth's reaction was instantaneous. She turned and shouted to her father and Norrington, who were conversing in low tones a short distance away, "Look, a boy, there's boy in the water!"
"No, not one. Two. There are two of them." Emma amended, not taking her eyes off the two boys.
Men flooded to the sides to see what had created such a stir. "Men overboard!" shouted Norrington, "Man the ropes, fetch a hook. Haul them both aboard." There was a mad scramble to obey his orders and the rescue was not long in being completed.
The two Swann girls watched with interest as the boys were taken onboard, wet from time in the sea and still unconscious. Emma worried for a moment that their act of good will had come too late.
"They're still breathing." said Norrington, checking the vital signs of both, "Miraculously. There's no telling how long they might have been adrift..." He stopped and looked curiously at one of the boys. "Sir," he said to Swann, "look closely at this one, tell me if you see anything odd about him."
Swan bent over and he too must have seen what Norrington saw, for his eyebrows jumped a few inches and he seemed like he was about to speak, when Gibbs, who had been scanning the water, whispered in horror, "Mary, mother of God."
Emma, puzzled went to the railing along with the rest of the crew, and what she saw caused the blood to freeze in her veins. The burning hulk of a ship, before hidden by the fog, was now horrifyingly clear. The ship resembled the skeleton of a long dead beast rather than a vessel made from wood and timber. Blackened and still burning pieces of wood were scattered everywhere in pieces, and, in the rubble lay the tattered remnants of a British flag.
"What happened here?" asked Swann, once the initial wave of shock had passed.
"Most likely the powder magazine, "said Norrington, always the one to offer a matter-of-fact opinion, though he was clearly moved by the disaster before him. "Merchant vessels run heavily armed.
"Lot of good it did 'em." said Gibbs, who hadn't taken his eyes off of the wreckage, but now turned them on everyone. "Everyone's thinkin'; it, I'm just sayin' It." Back to the ship, "Pirates."
A frightened murmur ran through the sailors who were within earshot and Governor Swann laughed in obvious nervousness, "Now, there's no proof of that. It was probably an accident. "
But, he wasn't very convincing. The fear couldn't be dispelled. The burning wreck looked like it had been destroyed just recently and the pirates who did it could still be a short distance away. If they should happen to come upon the Dauntless, the navy ship could very well meet the same fate. The things that might be done to them didn't bear thinking about.
But, one man aboard that ship wasn't letting his imagination run wild on him and was thinking clearly. Lieutenant James Norrington had started out as a midshipman aboard his father's merchant vessel and he knew what kind of things the sailors would be feeling. It was up to him to keep them in line. One good way to do that was to give orders. If they had something useful to do, it would keep their minds panicking alternatives.
"Rouse the captain immediately. Heave-too and take in sail, launch the boats. We need to search for survivors."
The stupefied silence that had been binding the men to the deck vanished when Norrington's voice, clear and commanding, was heard. They fell to their tasks with alacrity, relieved that they had some sort of job to do.
However, James was the only one who knew that there was very little chance they would be able to find survivors. The fact that there had been no cries for help coming from the burning hulk, not even a single groan, was clear proof of that. It was becoming all to clear to him. They had come too late. If someone had survived, they would have heard something by now. He suspected that the children that they had pulled from the sea would be the only people that would be found alive from a vessel that could easily hold one hundred at the very least.
James balled his fists in rage, as he fought to keep his buried emotions under control. So many innocent lives snuffed out without so much as a second thought. He had no doubt that Gibbs suspicions were true. Pirates had committed this atrocity, cutting and running after taking everything of value. Typical of the murdering, cowardly scum. The sight before him was a perfect example of why he was so determined to rid the world of every last one of the animals that called themselves pirates. It was a purpose that burned in him day and night, because he knew the worst that pirates could do. He had seen it and felt it himself. He wanted tragedies like this to be avoided, so that mothers would still have sons, husbands would be able to return to their wives, and orphans, like himself, would still have someone to call father and someone to call mother.
But, now, was not the time to submit to rage or vengeance. He needed to be cool and calm now, for the sake of the men who looked to him or leadership. So, once he had gotten his temper under control, he walked to the waiting longboat to overseer the loading of the men onto it. He had the veneer of a collected officer, but no one could have known that behind that mask was human being who had a heart that beat like any other. And it beat now for vengeance.
Emma didn't notice the mad scramble around her to get a rescue underway. She and her sister were drawn to the children that had been taken from the sea. They were wet through and shivering even in their sleep. Emma felt an intense wave of sympathy for the two. They had been through something that would have killed anyone else, that much was certain.
As the midshipman picked up the two children, Governor Swann bent down and spoke to both Elizabeth and Emma, "Elizabeth, I want you to accompany the boy, and Emma, look out for the girl. They'll both in your hands for the rest of the voyage."
"Wait, girl?" asked Emma, her brows knitting together in confusion.
"Yes, one of them is a girl. Heaven knows why she would be dressed as a boy for I'm sure that neither myself nor Lieutenant Norrington knows why. Perhaps when they regain their strength, we'll be able to find out more. Take care of them."
"We will father." said Emma, as Elizabeth nodded solemnly.
The two refugees, nestled under blankets, were now able to be viewed in close detail by the Swann girls. Emma was able to identify the girl by her finer features and less stocky build, and took to watching her at once, while Elizabeth hovered over the boy, whose sleeping form she was strangely drawn too.
The girl suddenly stirred and opened her eyes. She saw that she was in a strange place and tried to sit up, but she was weak, and fell back to the deck with a moan. A soft hand settled on her shoulder, and stroked her forehead. "Hush, little one, don't try and move. It's all right, no one will hurt you."
The girl blinked and tried to focus on the face above her. The voice, the touch, they both seemed so familiar somehow. "Mother?" She croaked hoarsely.
Emma felt like her heart was breaking. Had this poor girl's mother perished in the wreck? If that was so, than she hated to disappoint her. "No." She said, quietly, "My name is Emma Swan. What's your name?"
"M- Marie." She said, instinctively trusting her, "Where am I? Where's my brother? Is he safe too?"
Emma began to wonder if Marie's whole family had been lost aboard that ship and if she were not the only one who was left. But she couldn't tell the girl that, not yet, at least. "I don't know, Marie, but as soon as I learn something about him I will tell you." It wasn't a lie, she truly didn't know if any of Marie's family were alive, though she hoped they were.
Suddenly, the boy gasped and came awake, grabbing Elizabeth, who had been stroking his hair, by the wrist. He gazed up at Elizabeth with wide eyes, frightened by his strange surroundings, but also knowing in an instant that he had never seen a more beautiful creature in his entire life. Had he died, and was this girl one of the guardian angels that his mother had told him and his sister about.
Elizabeth was startled by the sudden, violent awakening of the boy but she wasn't afraid, "Its okay." She reassured him, "My name is Elizabeth Swann."
"Will Turner." The boy gasped.
"I'm watching over you, Will." Elizabeth said softly.
Will's head fell back and he closed his eyes. He looked like he had slipped back into unconsciousness, but than he called softly, "Marie, Marie."
Somehow, Marie managed to drag herself over to his side and put a hand on Will's shoulder, "I'm right here, Will. Everything will be all right. We're safe." She glanced up at Emma and Elizabeth, "We are, aren't we?
"Yes, of course you are." soothed Emma, "Sleep now. You're both safe, Marie. You have my word."
Marie seemed to need only that for an answer. Her head sank down to her brother's side and she fell back to sleep.
Emma was so absorbed for a moment in the caring of the two children that she didn't notice what Elizabeth was doing until she heard her say in a breathless voice, "You're a pirate." She looked up to see that Elizabeth was clutching something in her hands, an awestruck look in her eyes."
"Have they said anything?" asked Norrington, behind her.
Elizabeth nearly jumped out of her skin, and turned, hiding the it was behind her back, "His name's William Turner and her sister's name is Marie. That's all we've found out."
Norrington nodded, matter-of-fact as always, "Take them below."
Sailors came forward and gathered up both the children to take them to below decks, where they would be better protected from the elements. Emma came up behind her sister and asked, "Elizabeth, what did you find?"
"Nothing." said Elizabeth, still trying to hide what she had found behind her.
"Elizabeth." said Emma sternly.
Elizabeth sighed and handed over the medallion to he sister. When she wanted to, Emma could be almost as imposing as her mother used to be.
Emma looked at the gold medallion and turned it over in her fingers. A skull looked at her, surrounded by strange and complex symbols which Emma didn't recognize, but which she immediately found to be threatening. There was something about the medallion that made her feel distinctly uneasy.
"Where did you find this?" she asked her voice tense.
"It was around Will's neck. I-I didn't want to tell Norrington about it because I wasn't sure if it meant that Will was a pirate."
"You mean, perhaps Will and Marie might have served on the pirate ship that attacked..." Emma let the sentence hang in the air.
Elizabeth nodded, "I couldn't let Norrington hang them. They're just children."
Emma was about to say that Norrington would never be so heartless in his pursuit of piracy as to even think of hanging a child, but the words stalled in her throat. She suddenly realized that she couldn't take her eyes off the medallion. She began to feel a strange buzz in her hand, a buzz that moved through her fingers, up her arm and traveled to the rest of her body. She hated the very feel of having the medallion in her hand and yet, she couldn't let go of it. She almost felt as if the medallion were trying to reach her in some vile way and she didn't want to fall victim to whatever that influence might be.
She handed it quickly back to Elizabeth, "You were quite right. Take it to the prow of the ship and throw it into the sea."
"What?" said, Elizabeth, surprised and puzzled that her sister would make such an odd request.
"Destroy it, Elizabeth."
"But, couldn't we hide it and give it back to Will-"
"No!" said Emma, sharper than she had intended it to be. Seeing Elizabeth's hurt face, she knelt down in front of her and said in a softer voice, "I'm sorry, Elizabeth, but you have to understand why I ask you to do this. Whatever that medallion is and wherever it came from, it is evil. We can't have it with us any longer. It would be a danger for all of us."
"Why? I don't understand."
"One day, you will." said Emma, "For now, please trust me."
Emma smiled, visibly relieved and followed the sailors who were taking Will and Marie below. Had she known what would have happened next, she wouldn't have been so quick to leave Elizabeth to her own devices.
Elizabeth went to the front of the ship. As the rest of the crew was still preoccupied with finding survivors from the burning wreck, no one noticed her examining the medallion more closely. She couldn't understand why Emma was so anxious to be rid of it. She was too young to feel the strange buzzing that had so unnerved her sister and wouldn't have been able to understand it if she had. Instead of looking at it with apprehension, she gazed at it with an intense spirit of curiosity. What did the strange letterings and carvings mean? And the skull? They obviously stood for something and they obviously were meant to go together in some pattern, but how and why?
She held the medallion up to her face to get a better look at it. But, when she did, the skull on the medallion became the skull of a pirate flag. Startled, Elizabeth peered into the mist and saw a ship that she was certain hadn't been there before. The ship, black and grim with its tattered sails resembled something out of her deepest might. It seemed to move without the aid of the wind, for despite the wretched condition of the sails, it was moving away at a high rate of speed, as though intent on making a quick get away.
Elizabeth instantly linked the fleeing ship with the burning ship that they had just passed. But terror so rooted her to the spot that she couldn't scream or give one word of warning to the crew of the Dauntless behind her, she found that it was hard even to breath.
The flag undulated and sifted in the wind turning to face her, the skull seemingly grinning at her with eyes that were unable to see her and yet could stare straight into her soul at the same time. Elizabeth shut her eyes tightly to block out the horrible sight.
And, when she opened them again eight years had passed in the space of seconds and the girl had become a woman.