Random one-shot inspired by discussion of mermaids at the Black Pearl forum. Barbossa considers the dangers of Whitecap Bay in private.
Reflection Upon the Deep
Timeless they were, and because of it, only half-believable. That, however, didn't make them any less real.
Or any less deadly.
Barbossa sat as his desk in the Providence's cabin, his hat and wig tossed carelessly upon a nearby chair as he considered what he was asking of his men, what he had ordered from them.
Fools they were, the ones who smirked and jibed and seemed eager to head for Whitecap Bay, strutting about and each declaring he'd be the first to claim a kiss.
Fools they were as well, the ones who scoffed and sneered and boldly declared that nothing within the sea would scare the likes of them away, and certainly not some creatures from an old bedtime story meant to frighten children.
There had been one though, who appeared to have sense enough. Groves had sailed long and far enough to know better, and although the stalwart officer had quickly banished any trace of the emotion from his countenance in front of the crew, Barbossa knew what he'd seen flash behind Groves' eyes for the briefest moment when their destination became clear.
Not that he'd fault the man; it merely meant that his Lieutenant Commander had a certain understanding of exactly what lay before them, and that he also understood that Barbossa still would not sway from their heading.
For ahead lay what Edward Teach desperately needed, and likewise in scope, although different in nature, what Barbossa desperately wanted.
Barbossa attempted to wiggle toes missing for some time now, and became irritated once again that despite the lie his leg told him, there were no toes, no foot to obey his command. He'd heard it said that revenge was a dish best served cold, but the hatred he bore for Blackbeard had chilled his desire for revenge as cold as ice and honed it just as sharp.
Not that Groves, or any other who sailed upon the Providence understood what drove their leader so fiercely. Assumption that it was an order from His Majesty himself which motivated Barbossa deluded the crew well enough, but had they any idea of what they truly were about to face, many would wonder if the order of a mere king would be enough to cause a man to face that threat.
But Barbossa's own reasons were strong enough that he'd take the chance and endanger himself, his crew and his ship. He knew exactly what swam in the wind-driven waves that lay ahead, and he'd already deemed the prize worth the risk. When he considered all for a moment and then asked himself if he was afraid, the answer he gave himself was yes.
But not of the mermaids.
Fear of failure was his answer, for exacting his revenge upon Edward Teach was all he had left. After what he had been through and what he had lost over the years, from the moment he took a coin out of the Aztec chest, to the moment his own blade bit again and again in desperation at his own leg while he sought to escape that blackest magic with at least his life, there was no sense in being afraid of something as mundane as Calypso's handmaidens.
Sea creatures they were, but also she-creatures, and any pirate worth his salt knew enough to be wary of females of any sort. In Barbossa's case it applied to women, goddesses, and whatever had silken tresses, full breasts and a lilting laugh. Regardless of what parts lay beneath the waves, mermaids possessed all of the above, and it was that more than their fangs which made them dangerous.
How many of his crew might be about to find that out the hard way, he didn't care to guess.