Chapter 11 - Do we have an accord
"We will need ta mind Barbossa more closely if ta Black Pearl is to survive, Lady."
Calypso watched the winds swell the Pearl's sails carrying her quickly towards the horizon. Behind her the Navy men cursed and wondered at the change of weather.
"Him mind nat be broken yet but death sits close at him shoulder."
The Lady nodded as she watched the ship fade into the distance, her faint smile unchanging.
Calypso narrowed her eyes as she watched the departing Pearl,
"The crew be nat far from mutiny, will tat serve our purpose? Barbossa knows more tan they about ta direction of ta fountain and Jack Sparrow, if it be in ya mind ta deliver ta Black Pearl back to him then mutiny be best avoided."
The Lady said nothing and Calypso frowned,
" But ta visitor's ship is strange ant fast, is one ship nat enough?"
The light around the Lady glowed gold and silver but there was no further answer, other than the flick of her fan as she spread it towards the sky. Calypso could see the medallions on it shining in the sun, two ships were painted there, two ships and two captains, and something else she could not fathom, something shrouded in mist. What the Lady chose not to show? Or something still so uncertain that even she could not determine its' course?
That thought was unsettling, but unchangeable.
The sea goddess inclined her head in acceptance,
"Very well, I wilt nat ask why that be needful, nor whose fate it be tat ya be showing me."
She looked back towards the three ships,
"Tis best tat we keep ta Navy busy for a mite longer if Barbossa is to be safe away, he caan nat be trusted to wint ta day any langer."
As she spoke the seas heaved and the wind shifted again, and high above the pursuing ships dark clouds suddenly gathered.
The Lady inclined her head in thanks and disappeared into the quickly failing light.
Calypso smiled as she watched the sailors hurry to prepare for the storm. She let it grow slowly as she watched, for she bore them no ill will, not yet, and would not demand their destruction. But it would be pleasing to show them a little of their powerlessness in the face of her will; once the thought would not have occurred, but she had been in human form long enough for the taste of such power to still be sweet.
The Pirate Lords had a lot to answer for.
"In my world there is no goddess of the sea, no cursed gold, nor undead sailors. There is no Davy Jones." Elanor gestured towards Jack with her glass, "Oh there is a legend sure enough, the story of The Flying Dutchman is popular amongst those who like tales of the sea. But he never lived, never cut out his heart and put it into a chest."
Jack seemed to think about that for a moment whilst rolling a small gulp of brandy about his mouth and looking in silence towards the woman sitting beside him, her legs dangling alongside his own, hair stirring like a wind blown halo. A brandy bottle was set carefully on the deck between them, along with the remnants of some very odd, and palatable, biscuit and a lump of something she called pate.
She had heard his story in patience, asking just a few questions, but questions that gave him no reason to doubt either her intellect or her experience. Only once had she shown any reaction, other than tolerant curiosity, and that had been a moue of distaste at some comment about Beckett, an expression that he judged to be more about the man in question than his own words. He hadn't wanted to examine why that one gesture had so pleased him, or brought him such relief. But gradually the tensions between them had eased, whether because she had decided to believe him or because she had set him down as sun maddened fool he couldn't be sure. When she had produced first more food, and then the brandy bottle, he had decided that, for the moment, it didn't really matter. Now, it seemed, that she was in the mood to talk a little more about herself, a good thing if only what she said had made more sense.
Finally he swallowed the brandy,
"Are you sure of that?" he gestured towards the ocean with his glass, "Tis a big place after all."
She stared at him with wide eyes and a falsely innocent smile,
"Captain Sparrow, my parents were both physicists and they taught me early in my life that little is what it seems to be," she waved her glass towards him, "and that half of what should be in the universe isn't there. So why should things being there when they shouldn't be there be any harder to accept? And, as one of my favourite authors had someone say, 'there is the quantum; there's always the bloody quantum.' So no of course I'm not sure of it."
Turning her eyes back to the sea she took a deep swallow of brandy,
"I'm not sure of anything in the damned universe and never have been. It doesn't worry me, I don't do certainty and I don't need it." She looked sideways at him again, eyes shining with unexpected mischief, "fortunately for you. Of course it makes me a great trial to my few friends and my remaining family, and a downright affront to almost everyone else I meet."
He considered that with a slight frown, licking the remnants of a meat smeared biscuit from his fingers with obvious pleasure while he did so; then, raising his glass to clink against hers, he grinned,
"Here's to disappointing relatives, and discomforting everyone else luv."
She stared at him for a moment then returned the salute,
"Agreed." She swallowed another sip of brandy, "but it doesn't change anything. In my world it is very unlikely that Davy Jones was ever anything more than a story. But here, assuming even a small portion of what you say is the truth," she narrowed her eyes at him, the mischief turning momentarily to ice, "and I'm reserving judgement on most of it," she looked away again "then he is real. So are Aztec curses and mythical sea beasts."
She took another drink and was silent for a moment or two, before drawing a deep breath,
"And that, Captain Sparrow, raises some very uncomfortable possibilities. Very uncomfortable indeed." Her eyes turned down to stare at her glass as if seeing it for the first time then she downed the contents in one gulp, before refilling it, "It may be even harder to get home than I thought."
Jack stared at the sea in silence for a moment before taking another swallow from his own glass, the soft bite of the spirit reminding him that this was not what he was used to, another telltale of the strange world she claimed to hail from. But he was not a fool and navigation came naturally to him and with it all the implications of her story,
"You mean, I suppose, that you might not have sailed in a straight line." He turned to look at her, squinting against the falling sun and the ropes of hair blowing across his eyes, "not just in time but across some other current too."
For a moment surprise showed in her face and then her mouth twisted in wry smile, then she raised her refilled glass in salute,
"Very good Captain Sparrow, I mean exactly that."
She turned back to the sea,
"In my world we would call that current a reality. If I have crossed realities as well as time then your world is not just a precursor to mine, it is another variant completely. A parallel story if you like, two worlds running side by side starting in the same place, perhaps, but drifting apart over time."
He was quiet again for a moment, considering that, and wondering just how many glasses of brandy she had now consumed; certainly as many as he had for the bottle had been full when they started it and now it appeared to be nearly empty. Was that what had loosed her tongue, or did she have some other reason for talking so freely? Her expression gave nothing away and she seemed no more the worse for drink than she had at the first glass, whatever else she might be the wench could hold her drink. Something to be allowed for in their future dealings. He looked back towards her in time to meet a sardonic glance and he had the uncomfortable feeling that she knew just what he was thinking, so he smiled brightly at her before turning his mind back to what she had just said. Reconsidering her words brought an uncomfortable thought and a frown,
"So which one is real. This one or the one you come from?"
Elanor watched his consideration of the brandy bottle and the noted the look of faint regret that flashed across his face before he caught her looking at him and turned on that brazen, and unashamedly wicked, smile. She suppressed a sigh, dealing with him would be so much easier if only he hadn't been as much a game player as she was herself. History had never been an abiding interest for her and she couldn't recall what games of chance they played here, but somehow she was sure that he played a reasonable game of chess. He could also follow an argument too and as he thought her words through his dark eyes were bright with thought and hard with calculation; there was no teasing or playfulness in him now, just a deadly seriousness. No, she couldn't complain at how quickly he followed her meaning, if she had to mow down someone she might have done worse given the difficulties of the circumstances.
"Both are real in themselves, but unreal to each other," she said, and then shrugged at his raised eyebrows, "It might be that your world is a spin off from mine, or mine may be a spin off from yours. Or it could be both, I suppose. Each of our worlds could have forced the other, mine by a belief, even a need for the extraordinary, yours by an equal need for something else. Maybe if we need or want or believe in something badly enough we can make it happen somewhere, create worlds where they are real. Who can tell what permutations might occur or what the ramifications might be."
She watched the sun play in the golden depths of the brandy for a long moment while he just stared at her in frowning silence, then she turned to face him with a slight, depreciating, smile,
" Or maybe I'm just imagining all of this, and you don't really exist."
Her smile widened as she saw the downward turn of his mouth as if he had just been insulted.
"I seem real enough to me!"
A small laugh escaped her,
"Of course if you are all in my fevered imagination then it probably means you are also some unexpressed portion of my own personality. Not an idea I'm predisposed to prefer," she said dryly.
That brought a complicated shrug from him and a look that was somehow hurt, a hurt that appeared genuine enough to cause an unexpected stab of guilt, after all he had not asked to be here and he had given her no real reason to offer him gratuitous insult. She had caused this situation, however unintentionally, and she was accepting his story because it was no more absurd than Ariadne's analysis. So she sent him a slight smile of apology before turning back towards the reassurance of the sea and sky,
"As I said there's always the bloody quantum so who knows?"
Jack wondered for a moment what this 'bloody quantum' was, it sounded interesting and possibly valuable, which made it all the more interesting; but then her words settled in his brain and he got sidetracked on the thought of some of his own desires and the worlds they could create. He grinned and raised his glass to hers again,
"I'll drink to that luv. A world where Hector Barbossa fell overboard and got swallowed by the Kracken, where Cutler Bloody Beckett died at birth and where goats give rum not milk!"
She had managed all of three hours sleep before wakefulness claimed her again.
Captain Sparrow had been escorted back to his bunk, provided with medication for his anticipated headache and left to his own devices. After the amount of brandy he had consumed she was sure that sleep would have accounted for most of the intervening time, but there was little else he could do given that she had secured all hatchs and doors after she had left him.
Returning the bottle to the rack she had been surprised to see just how much brandy they had accounted for, he at least was heading for one almighty hangover by nightfall. Though she had no fear of such after effects for herself she did wonder just how much the drink had influenced their conversations. She had hoped it would encourage him to talk but there was no denying that she had probably said more than she intended to too. The story of betrayal and violence he had told her was not the sort of thing a sane man would tell to someone he wanted to persuade of his good intentions, so either he wasn't a sane man or he thought he was telling the truth, or he was telling the truth.
She had taken her doubts to Ariadne.
"You heard it all of course, so what do you make of it?"
Ariadne seemed to think about that for a moment,
"There is much he is not telling, I noted that he seems particularly reluctant to talk about the events immediately prior to his meeting with his old acquaintances and this conflict he describes, of course there may be many reasons for that but he seems uncomfortable about it even when not being challenged." She eventually stated. "However the ships he described as being part of the sea battle were in keeping with those that I identified earlier, and unless he was prepared for your remark about the eighteenth century before he came aboard there is no reason why that should be the case, other than it is the truth as he recalls it."
"Your assessment of the situation then?"
"The probability remains that this is a hallucination of some form, that would account for why what is happening within it is consistent."
"But as we have already agreed we cannot test that."
"Yes, and that remains the case. Therefore there is no option but to continue as if this is reality."
"And if it is reality, what then?"
"Then whether his story is correct is irrelevant, either way we are presented with a problem. There is no way of knowing what the future projection for this reality is, this ship may be integral to its development but it may also be an anomaly that will distort matters with unforeseen consequences."
Elanor rubbed her head, though safe from a hangover it seemed that she was heading for a headache every bit as big as the alcohol fuelled one her passenger was probably facing,
"Which means what? In practice that is?" she asked.
Aridane thought about that,
"If you are a fundamental of this realities future then what you do will probably not matter much, on the other hand if you are an anomaly you may be destructive."
"Your recommendations being?"
"On balance it seems best that you avoid contact with the rest of this world as far as is practicably possible."
"Which might well be a problem."
"Indeed, it is hard to see how it can be achieved in the longer term."
"In the short term?"
"The best option seems to be to weigh anchor and keep moving, scanners can detect ships before they have a chance of seeing you and you have no immediate need of making port, even with a passenger you have food for many months and power if you need it. Keep off the sea routes, and away from inhabited areas, and we may be undetected for some considerable time, time that may allow us to develop a more effective plan."
"Or for the door, if that's what it is, to open again."
"There is no way of predicting if, or when, that will happen. We have no data about conditions here prior to our arrival that might be used as a test of conditions for reopening."
"Thanks Ariadne, I really needed to know that!"
"There is no point in prevarication, our situation is most undesirable and the danger is considerable."
"And our passenger?"
"You need to keep him onboard, at least until we have more information about this time and place. The historical data banks can provide much information about this period but that is not equal to a practical knowledge of the time. We have a much better chance of avoiding being seen, or otherwise detected, with him aboard than without him; and it is imperative that we avoid being seen if at all possible."
"He might not view it that way."
"For the moment I think that he will. It is clear that he had no ship, nor any sign of means other than what he was carrying. That being the case he will have much to gain by being on board. If his story is correct to any degree at all then it will be in his interests to stay out of sight for a while."
Elanor thought about that for a moment,
"Provided he doesn't make attacking the Navy or this East India Company a condition of staying, and I wouldn't put it past him. In fact I wouldn't put much past him."
"I do not think that you have reason to fear for your immediate safety," Ariadne responded, "he shows no sign of psychopathic tendencies, allowing for the fact that this appears to be a time when life was held cheap, and violence was common, that is. You will need to take account of that in your dealings with him, and the fact that he is a marked man with no chance of redemption other than by pardon from the crown. Which, if his story has any truth, seems to be a remote possibility. However your weapons are superior to any he might have and your strength is probably equal, something he will not expect; I can protect the ship and you too should it be necessary."
Elanor ran her hands over her hair,
"And what if he wants to go? What then?"
"Then you persuade him otherwise. Failing that I suggest you render him the prisoner he seems to feel himself to be."
"Are you suggesting that I lock him up? What would that make me? Would you have me put him in chains too?"
"Only if there is no other way. But remember the world he hails from, capture by others would be far worse than anything you are likely to do to him."
"What a pleasant thought."
"Indeed, but do not be swayed by sentiment on that head. If they were to catch you your fate would be no better than his."
"So I'm a pirate as well as a gaoler now am I?"
"Worse than that, at best you would be seen as a pawn in a war and at worst a handmaiden of the devil, if this is the early eighteenth century then there are still those who would burn you out of hand."
"Another pleasant thought."
She got to her feet,
"Well I suppose I'd better go and talk to my new partner, maybe if I feed him again he'll be more amenable."
"There are other options you might try."
The voice was bland but Elanor glared all the same,
"I wish I could say that I didn't understand what you mean by that, Aridane, but I've a nasty feeling that I do. Shame on you! Women of the world we may be but there are limits. At the moment eighteenth century pirates are well outside of them, even clean ones. So, while I'm gone put your thinking cap on and try to find us a more reliable way out."
Evening had fallen bringing a soft wind that barely rippled the swell and a sky alight with stars. Jack thought back to the last time he had watched the stars, his mind lost in the past, and wondered, not for the first time, at the changes in fortune that a day could bring. It was one of his abiding comforts.
Not that he was short of comfort at the moment. The thought that he couldn't recall a time when he had been more comfortable without the Pearl stirred lazily and whispered a warning to him. He had to keep reminding himself that he was still a prisoner, unarmed and dependent upon his captor's good will for survival; for she was good willed enough despite the sharp words and sharper glances. Much of what hostility she showed was down to her guilt at running him down, he was sure of it, that and the possiblity, as yet unspoken between them, that she needed him perhaps more than he needed her. How long that might last remained to be seen but for the moment he was content enough, and if he had to keep a watch on his tongue, and curb his less professional interests, well that was no real hardship. Not when he had a mast at his back, the creaking of canvas above him and the afterglow of what, he suspected, might yet prove to be too much good brandy.
He had slept the early evening away in what he was already starting to think of as his cabin; that he had slept alone was the one disappointment of the day, the fair captain had left him to consult her ghost. She had awakened him to yet more food, unexpected but the smell of it had soon convinced him that he was hungry; the woman seemed determined to feed him and that was novel enough to be disarming, though if she was set on playing the motherly role she a lot to learn. Now as he sat and stared at the sea, with a belly far fuller than he was accustomed to, he could only hope she wouldn't ask him to go aloft.
With a sigh he pulled the compass from his belt and checked the bearing. The heading showed steady now, though it had flickered a little earlier in the day, and he bent his mind to how to best achieve his next objective. It was clear from what she had said that she had no idea how she had arrived where she was, which meant that, for the moment, she would have no idea about how she was going to get back again. In which case any one with her best interests at heart could see that she would want for occupation, all he had to do was persuade her that the fountain was as good as any and it would be his in far shorter time than he had feared. Once he had that then all he would have to do was wait for Barbossa to bring the Pearl to him. He would take it, with or without Captain Cavendish's help; with if he could manage it for he was sure that this ghost of hers would be most helpful in the endeavour.
Then? Well he would think about that when it was accomplished. Having come to a decision he settled back to enjoy the night air.
The sudden noise brought him to his feet without thought. He stared around cautiously, but there was still no sign of either her or her ghost, just the long length of the ship silvered by the evening light. But he knew that sound, carefully he advanced to the source, sure enough the anchor chain was winding, someone, or something, was weighing anchor. He watched in fascination as the anchor appeared above the surface, then in astonishment as it slid into the hull and a section of the planking moved back to hide its passing. Jack looked upwards, feeling the canvas shift rather than hearing it, then the sound of the lapping sea changed and the prow rose as the ship finally got her wish and headed towards the horizon. He hurried forward leaning out over the rail to watch the moon gilded waters slipping under the bow.
The sight of it brought a smile to his lips, she cut the waters as clean as he had expected, the movement first soothing, then distracting, then entrancing. Another darting look told him he was still alone, so whatever had got them underway it was nothing he had knowledge of. But his solitary state offered possibilities and he was taken by a powerful urge to feel this chaser of dawns dance under his hands. The helm was outlined against the sea, calling to him it seemed, inviting him to come and take his destiny back into his own hands. The desire to feel the warmth of the wheel under his fingers was maddening, and what harm could it do?
He had crossed the deck even before he was aware of the intention to do so, up the steps to that station he had run from the previous night, ignoring the strange windows and lights his gaze locked on the wheel, strangely still. Then he remembered the voice of the ghost and parts of his mind screamed for caution, but another part was whispering, 'just a touch, no harm done eh? Just a touch.' His hands seemed to act of their own accord fingers spreading out in anticipation as he reached forward, stepped forward towards the beckoning wheel.
The pain hit him like an icy wave. Just a hint of the warmth of wood below his touch then it came like a lightening strike up his arm, throwing him back from the wheel, sending him stumbling down the steps to land in a shaking heap on the deck. Around him the ghost was screaming her outrage, and the wheel and all around it was lit up by bright and bloody light. Jack scuttled back to a safe distance and sat shivering, staring at it in horror.
"I'm sorry, I should have warned you." Elanor's voice came from behind him, "I should have realised that the temptation would be too much."
She went passed him quickly and up to the wheel, her touch silenced the screaming and dimmed the light.
He looked up at her in black fury, the pain still echoing through him,
"What did I do to deserve that!" he hissed, still crouching on the deck. "I barely touched anything. I meant no harm, I just wanted to know what course we were steering and why the wheel was so still when we are underway. Why did your ghost attack me?"
Elanor came down from the wheel and sat on the lower step, meeting the stormy eyes looking up at her with a frown, hoping that he wasn't going to do anything to earn a more painful lesson,
"Ariadne will attack anyone who isn't me. She knew it wasn't my hand on the wheel and did what she is supposed to do. That's all. It's not her fault and its not yours, I should have known what you would do, after all it's what I would have done in your place." She signed, "perhaps I drank too much brandy after all, and I'm tired Captain Sparrow, do you understand that? I'm in a hostile world and I'm tired, I can't take chances and I won't. After all I don't know much about you and what I do know is not conducive to trust now is it? Would you trust me if our roles were reversed?"
Jack felt the anger ebbing away with the pain and damned his honest streak, he knew in her place he would do no different so how could he blame her? He had seen enough of her to know that she was unlikely to do anything stupid so he should have been more cautious. Feeling his shoulders sag as the last of the pain faded away he drew a deep breath,
"No worries. I'm in one piece and I'll be more careful next time. Nasty temper that ghost of your has but I should have expected nothing more."
She caught the bitter note in his tone and got to her feet, holding her hand out to him,
"I am truly sorry if she hurt you Captain Sparrow. But she can do far worse than that, maybe you will believe that I'm not helpless now."
"Never thought that you were luv," he took the outstretched hand and his eyes widened slightly as he felt the strength of her grip, "never thought that you were."
He let her haul him to his feet then followed her across the decks. At the rail she turned to look at him her eyes watchful,
"Ariadne sees everywhere, there is no where on the ship that she cannot reach an intruder. I can sail the ship, and normally I would do so, but I don't have to, anything that needs to be done Ariadne can arrange."
"So she is sailing it now?"
"Yes, she is sailing it now."
He nartowed his eyes at her,
"Where to Captain Cavendish? Where are we sailing to?"
"No where in particular Captain Sparrow, is there somewhere that you wanted to go? So far you have avoided telling me where it was that you were going when we collided, so it's unlikely that we are heading there.
Jack hesitated for a moment then decided that there would never be a better time than now to put his proposition to her. But better to clear the ground first. He moved slightly closer to her, leaning on the rail he half turned to face her,
"Don't you think its about time we dropped a little of the formality luv? Captainly respect is one thing but all this Captain Cavendish and Captain Sparrow is beginning to make my head hurt."
He inclined his head towards her and smiled his most charming smile, raising one hand he let a finger edge towards the shining waves of her hair,
"Call me Jack. If we'd shared such a bottle as that brandy of yours in an inn we'd be on more than first name terms by now."
Her worried frown was replaced by a half smile and her hand came up to grasp his wrist, stopping the wavering finger mid air,
"Oh would we? Well as I think it highly unlikely you would ever find a bottle of anything I would recognise as brandy in any inn you are likely to risk entering the possibility is superfluous, isn't it?"
That brought something that could only be described as a 'tut' as he shrugged in apparent offence and raised his eyes heavenwards. She shook her head and dropped his wrist,
"But Jack it is. I suppose there is no reason you shouldn't call me Elanor." She stared at him hard, "but don't even think about shortening it in any way. I won't answer to Ellie I warn you, and if you ever try El or Nor then I'll have Aridane eviscerate you."
He grinned happily and held his hand out,
"Agreed. Elanor it is."
She shook his hand but wasn't surprised when he didn't let go. Instead his fingers stroked her hand and he moved closer still,
"Now about our heading."
"You have a better one in mind? Jack."
"Well now you come to ask, there is this fountain.."
"I don't believe it! I've given you the benefit of the doubts so far but this is too much! The fountain of youth? There are enough people in my time chasing that for it to be very unlikely that it would have remained hidden if there was one."
"Ah, but we've agreed that this may not be your world."
The brilliance of his smile suggested that he felt he had just clinched the argument. She disagreed,
"Perhaps not, but even so its too ridiculous to be given any serious consideration."
He regarded her with raised brows,
"More ridiculous than a door in time and space luv?"
She sighed and shot him a weary look,
"You aren't going to let that go are you?"
The gilded grin returned but he stayed quiet. She fumed at it knowing that there was no real answer to his point,
"And by the way, I may have agreed to Elanor but I did not agree to being called luv."
He rolled his eyes in a pantomime of put upon resignation,
"Elanor. Touchy creature aren't you?"
She took the risk of leaning towards him,
"Yes, around you I am. But I'm also the one with a bad tempered ghost, remember?"
That bought a noisy sigh,
"How could I forget, me nerves are still jumping." He looked nervously towards the helm, "Is she watching now?"
"She's always watching Jack, everywhere."
Something seemed to occur to him and horror flitted across his face making her smile,
"But don't worry, she means you no harm and she's discrete, she won't tell tales unless I need to know."
'Well at least I think she is' Elanor thought, but Ariadne's full capabilities remained to be discovered.
She saw his look change, speculation sparking in his eyes, and she started to move away from him, but she wasn't fast enough and one arm snaked around her shoulder, though the grip was gentle. He smiled at her again,
"Now about this fountain.... Elanor. I'm telling you naught but the truth. If you were to look at that chart of mine you'll see that it's clearly marked. All we have to do is sail there in your beautiful, fast, ship pick up the necessary and then go to ground somewhere while we decide how to spend eternity. Savvy?"
Elanor stood and stared at him, he looked like a child who saw Father Christmas with a very big sack standing on the hearth rug, if he intended to mislead her there was no way of reading it in his face.
"Simple as that?" she said, "It doesn't occur to you that this thing, assuming it exists, may have strings attached?"
His smile didn't dim,
"Of course it does. But the time to worry about that is when we have it. Eh?"
The arm around her shoulder tightened and he pulled her closer, his smile fading and his voice dropping to a purr,
"Think of it this way, you can't go home, not yet, you don't know how, so you might as well take me to find the fountain as do anything else, might you not? You can't stay here luv, I mean Elanor, you can't just drop anchor and hope the door opens again, it might, it might not, it might take a hundred years."
The smile returned coaxing and inviting, his hand curled gently around her shoulder and voice took on an ostentatiously reasonable note,
"In which case you want to be alive and healthy when it does. In which case you want the fountain too. Or a least some of what it contains."
Elanor looked at him with resignation, he was irritatingly acute. What else did she plan to do? This fountain was bound to be in some out of the way place that figured on few other maps. Somehow she doubted that the British Empire, or any other, in any reality would have missed an island marked 'stop here for eternal youth.' If that was the case then it would achieve two of Aridane's list of priorities, it would keep her out of the way of other ships and keep him on board and content while she learned from him the things she so desperately needed to know. With a sigh she shrugged her acceptance of his point.
Jack leant away from her, still keeping his hand on her shoulder, reading first indecision, then annoyance, then acceptance in her normally shuttered face. No doubt she had reasons of her own for accepting his proposal, and she was going to accept he was sure of it, but time and patience would teach him what those might be, and he might well enjoy the learning. For now he would accept what he thought was being offered, he quirked an eyebrow at her,
"So Captain Cavendish, what say you and your bad tempered ghost? Do we have an accord?"
Elanor stared at him reminding herself that it could have been worse. It could do no harm to make a quick trip to this island and let him visit this spring, at most he would get ill from it and the medical supplies should be good enough for that. Why then was she sure that there was more to it? Not that it mattered, she had to do something and this was as good as anything else. Finally she nodded,
"We have an accord."
End of Voyage One