A/N: Just a quick opening, this chapter and the next few are a little slow, mostly introduction to the characters, but please read on to chapter 5 and 6 because that's when things get very interesting. Thanks, Ange.
Marietta stood at the stove in her kitchen and hummed and sang as she cooked tea for her sister and herself. Living on the outskirts of Tortuga proved to be a challenging sort of existence, her sister had long ago turned to being the pleasurable company of men in the taverns, and it was only once a week now they ever met up.
"Some men have died and some are alive and others sail on the sea," she began to sing the familiar tune and turned to tend to the other pot on the stove. Tortuga was a surprisingly bountiful place. Full of doctors who had been accused of different crimes and lawyers and navy men, and as a herbalist she had made an honest living far away from her sister's profession; Doctors would recommend her and lawyers would suggest her to curse a wrongdoer. Everyone lied in Tortuga; if she couldn't curse at least she could get money for nothing.
"Mari," she heard her sisters' voice calling from the front door as she made her usual entrance, "Mari, I have to talk to you."
Being careful not to scald herself, Mari placed the herbalist brew on the table to cool and set small dropping bottles out next to the saucepan. Every week Sophia came around with some new urgent problem that Marietta would have to deal with. She had been taking care of her younger sister for years now; it was time for Sophia to handle every slight and wandering eye on her own.
"In the kitchen Soph," she sang out as she poured the herbal infusion into the bottles, "I will not be tracking down every pirate, naval officer or failed magistrate because of their words to you this week Sophia. Unless it's important, I don't want to hear it over dinner."
"You'll want to be hearing it then," Sophia gasped as she took three long strides into the room and to her usual place at the table, picking up a small bottle and sniffing and inspecting the contents, "first a bit of gossip and then to the news. You'll wish to be putting that down Mari, and I dare say you being seated would be helpful also, I have no thoughts for smelling salts or herbs to waken the unconscious."
Marietta raised an eyebrow and gave Sophia a look that had made stronger minded pirates rethink their standing, yet Sophia just smiled and caught her breath, drinking from a cup of water on the table.
"Label these while I finish cooking and tell me your piece of 'gossip' while you're at it, then if I'm in a good mood I'll listen to your news."
Sophia nodded and tied pieces of parchments with titles and prices to the necks of the small bottles with pieces of string, "it was all over the taverns the other night, a ship with black sails was seen by one of the girls pulling into a small cove past the cliff out near the forbidden hills as she was leaving the company of a certain doctor-like acquaintance of yours," she babbled quickly and with a star-struck smile on her face, "anyway, who should we hear had been roaming taverns all night but a certain devilishly handsome captain and his crew. Can you believe Marietta, Captain Jack Sparrow was roaming Tortuga last night, and in whose company did he stumble upon…mine."
Marietta served out the stew she had been cooking and placed it on the table in front of Sophia, who had managed to label a grand total of three bottles. So far the news had been less interesting and somewhat more worrying than she had expected. Jack Sparrow was a legend alright; here one day, long enough to win a heart and gone the next breaking it and then coming back to steal it again.
"Interesting, how did he win over you then? We both know that you charge a pretty penny more than half of the whor…ladies in all of Tortuga," Mari asked as she began to eat, waiting for Sophia to finish her mouthful before gesturing for her to answer the question.
"Well there was a gentleman – that's a questionable title – that did not have enough coin to be honoured with my company and he became somewhat forceful and persistent. Mister Sparrow just happened to be nearby and gallantly came to my rescue, he offered to buy me a drink and I accepted. A few drinks for us both later and he was telling me his story, I told him how we came to be in Tortuga and he made his move. Honestly Mari I said no, he may be handsome and suave but I know his reputation. He said no hard feelings and bought me another drink; to be quite honest that's all I remember, I think I was rather drunk."
Sophia finished off her story with a gay laugh and went back to eating her stew. Mari looked on in disbelief, not quite believing that the girl in front of her existed, wondering if it was just a figment of her insane imagination.
"Well that was lovely Mari, but I better be off, didn't you say you were going somewhere late this week?" the girl never failed to surprise her and as she buttoned her coat and took her dishes to the bench, tying two more bottles as she went, Marietta finally thought to answer her question.
"I'm sailing to Port Royal tomorrow actually," she said to her sister, still in disbelief that she could be so…Sophia, "Taylor and Will Turner have invited me to stay for a week, Taylor just had another baby and is in need of my services as a friend and a herbalist."
Marietta smiled at the thought of her best friend and her husband, happily married and with a family, yet Sophia's face showed disinterest and she played with the string on the last bottle.
"Oh how nice," she said absentmindedly, "do say hello for me, and congratulations. She'll most likely be using you as a nanny as well, either way Mari do be careful and have a lovely trip, let me know when you get back."
Mari smiled and hugged her sister, collecting the small bottles in her hands to be placed out in her store room as Sophia walked towards the door. "Oh Mari, I'll drop by tomorrow and say goodbye before you leave. What's in those bottles by the way?"
Marietta smiled at the routine question and picked up a bottle, "most of them are for sea sickness and hangovers but I brewed this one up just for you. It contains rosemary and rose petals, so it's supposed to be lucky for love. The lavender is just as perfume because I know you like it, apply it to the insides of the wrists and just under the ears on your neck," she tossed the bottle to Sophia who just grinned a devilish grin, "and I'm leaving at eleven so come before then."
She smiled as she heard the door slam shut and hurried into the hall to lock it. As she moved back through the house and into the store room she added her cures to the correct shelves and prayed her house would not be raided while she was away.
Cleaning out the leftovers from the stew into bottles to be preserved, she packed the dishes under the countertop and doused the lamps. As she made her way to bed she pondered the journey she would be taking to Port Royal. She stayed up late fretting over the thought of travelling across the sea.
"Mari! Marietta," Sophia's yelling became quieter as she grew closer to her sister, her timing was impeccable as usual, she arrived at five minutes to eleven at the dock, "Mari, I just came from the doctor, and I have bad news."
Her sister did not look unwell neither upset and so Mari counted this as another exaggeration on her sisters' count, "what is it? Are you sick Sophia, do you need me to stay?"
"No nothing of the sort, but this will put me out of work for years," her sister regained her normal breathing pattern and put her hand on Marietta's arm, "I'm pregnant Mari, and not by want either. I think its Sparrows; I don't remember anything after that last drink. I need your help and I know you think I need to take care of myself, but this is something only you can do."
Mari was having trouble focusing on her sisters' words. She would do what she asked, probably at great price to her personal values and she conveyed that through a dazed nod.
"I'm in love with someone else so I don't want to marry him," Sophia stated with confidence, "I think that this gentleman may have me and will provide for me and my baby, but I need you to find Sparrow and tell him Mari. I won't keep him from his child but I won't force him to it either, he's heading to Port Royal to visit his blacksmith friend, I don't know the name but the Turner's probably will, please Mari, now go and have a good time."
Sophia hugged her and turned her toward the ship, sending her on her way. Mari walked on board and then waved back at her sister. She would find Sparrow and give him the news and a large angered piece of her mind as well.
"By the way," Sophia yelled from the shore, "Slap him across the face for me when you find him!"
As Sophia shrank into the distance Marietta could hear her laughter echo around her head and eventually see the lone figure be joined by a young man on the beach. Sophia would be ok, she would go to Mari's midwife friend and her suitor would see to her safety. Now all Marietta had to worry about was that bloody rum filled pirate!