Book One – Chapter One: Homeward Bound
The winds were fair, the waves were gentle, and the sea was calm. Everything spelled out smooth sailing ahead. Every able man stood on deck, breathing in the warm salty air and embracing the gentle breeze that assured them of safe passage to the colony. Despite the ease of the ship on the water, the sensitive young Mrs. Victoria Barbossa still could not stomach the motion. She was quite unlike her husband in everyway. While she was determined not to leave her cabin, Hector Barbossa spent every waking moment outside of it. As far as he was concerned, the sea was something impossible to shut out, it had a life and spirit all of its own, and Barbossa dedicated himself to master it.
It was a tough voyage for Barbossa to submit to. This was his first journey as a passenger rather than a crew member. He was critical of every working man he saw, determined that he could have done the job better, and in some circumstances Barbossa even intervened to see that the task was done properly. It often led to someone getting in trouble, though it was mostly the crew members who ended up being accused of laziness.
Barbossa was in his prime while sailing. He began his career as a small boy, spending every spare moment along the pier, learning anything that anyone would teach him. His family came from a long line of seafarers, mostly fishermen by trade, but respectable fishermen nonetheless. Barbossa knew the seafarer's way of life, a simple yet harsh one, but he also saw the luxury and freedom of those men who were superior to him and his family. Although Barbossa was hardly ever found wanting, he did long to be among those dashing officers and captains who discovered the new worlds and settled new colonies for their kings and queens. As a boy, Barbossa knew that he would not likely become one of those great captains commissioned by the royals, but the freedom seemed payment enough for him. Before he was thirteen years old, young Hector Barbossa said goodbye to his home and left for sea on the first available position as an able seaman. He had not gone back since and never planned to. His life was not a glamorous one, but all of his hard work and experience was paying off. A new position awaited him. Barbossa was to become an officer under the East India Trading Company. He had sailed with them for the better part of the past ten years, but now he was finally able to be a man of some respect.
The routes of the East India Trading Company were long and trying for a man with a family and so Barbossa made the decision to relocate his family to a growing port town called Stone Chapel. The town was small but it was adjacent to the port site the Company would be frequenting. This would be the second time Barbossa asked Victoria to leave her home behind and by now her patience was thinning.
At sixteen years of age, Barbossa had the serendipitous misfortune of falling in love with a young woman well beyond his rank. His ship was moored in the north of the great Atlantic. He spent no more than a couple of weeks in town, but that was more than enough time for Barbossa to be struck by the sight of beauty. Ms. Victoria Boyd was not an aristocratic woman by any means, but her family had a great legacy of domesticity - in other words, servitude. Victoria's lifestyle was an elegant one. She lived a wealthy life indirectly through being a companion of actual wealthy women. With Victoria's unmatched beauty and impeccable mannerisms, Mr. Boyd was determined to have his daughter marry into their patron family. Knowing of this arrangement, Victoria found herself in a state of rebellion, although there was only one way she could think of to rebel: she aligned herself with a lowly fisherman's son. Victoria's flirtations with the young Hector Barbossa were not the least bit candid. The whole while that Barbossa was sweet and gentle towards her, Victoria remained coy. The next course of action came quite unexpectedly, perhaps even for Victoria herself. Hector Barbossa needed to know where she stood.
"My love," he said to her one day, "I know I'm hardly the type to be s'pectin' the likes o' a lady such as y'are…us together…married-like."
"Married?" Victoria echoed nervously. "Hector, my family would never approve of you and you know it."
"I haven't much to offer, but there's nothin' I wouldn't do," he declared.
There was something in the manner of the situation that caught Victoria's attention. He was seeking her. Her position compared to his was greater. The odds Victoria had been facing previously had now reversed and there was something in that which she enjoyed. The conditions Victoria set for her intended were simple, "If you could find it within your capability to find decent employment and a comfortable home, then I would never have the heart to deny you, Hector."
As soon as she said it Barbossa was restless until he accomplished all that she desired. He took his final pay from his captain and stayed in St Johns, taking up employment from three different fisheries. He worked hard and took up any paying job that came his way. Finally he had enough to earn a proper place of his own. It was small with only a single bedroom, but it was his. Victoria saw his pursuits and began to love him for it. There was nothing that he denied her, even when it was trivial or an encrypted command as she often used to test his devotion. Time, however, was not allotted to Victoria to prolong her lover's trials. She could not completely deny her father's wishes or bring herself to reject the engagement he had arranged. In desperation for her own freedom, Victoria finally agreed to Barbossa's proposal.
"Hector, my love," she said to him, "I know you love me, and though I do not know how we shall live, I know that you will see to my happiness. I will not hide our affections any longer. We shall be married as soon as you will have it so."
Barbossa was enthralled by her acceptance and agreed to marry in haste. The minister was hired and a small ceremony was had with neither of their family members even aware of its occurrence. Her wedding night was the first night that Victoria had ever spent away from home. Needless to say, Mr. Boyd quickly began an urgent search party to locate his missing daughter. The commotion escalated to such an extent that half the men in the whole city were going door to door. It was not long before countless men and bloodhounds were banging on Barbossa's own door. Barbossa was arrested the moment he opened it. Victoria screamed as her husband was being led away. The search party was successful, Mr. Boyd had found his daughter and the kidnapper was bound to hang for it. It was a less than happy wedding night to say the least. Barbossa pleaded his case from a musty prison cell while his wife struggled to find the words to confess her impromptu marriage to her father. Mr. Boyd was furious with his daughter. After a raging rant, Mr. Boyd was able to compose himself and give his sympathies to his poor ignorant daughter. She could be no match for the deceitful promises made by a lowly sinful and seducing fisherman. Victoria's crime was forgiven. Barbossa was not given a trial, and though the charge against him was dropped, he was left in his cell until morning, just for good measure.
Mr. Boyd could not be stopped now. He was determined to have his daughter annul her marriage, but his efforts produced no avail. Victoria, against all better judgement, had become very fond of her new husband and could not be persuaded to leave him. Victoria was denied any dowry with her marriage to Hector Barbossa, though Mr. Boyd promised her a dowry, a large one at that, should she choose any other man to be her husband. When Barbossa learned of this new dowry his resentment towards his father-in-law became insatiable. Without another word of warning, Barbossa took his wife and together they boarded a ship to take them south. He would not stay within reach of those who had condemned him.
When Barbossa had shaken off the villainous reputation he had gained from his illicit marriage, he began to refocus his life. He left the fishing trade once and for all. He returned to merchant ships for employment. Merchant shipping meant longer voyages further from home but with Barbossa's experience it also meant a larger salary. One ship led to another and soon Barbossa had worked in both company and private shipping. Every few months his seniority earned him more and more respect. Each captain saw him off with letters of great recommendation. It was one particularly strong letter of recommendation that bought his acceptance with the East India Trading Company. Barbossa rose quickly in the company's ranks. Life was sweet and everyday was becoming sweeter. There was only one thing missing, the freedom. As much seniority as Barbossa could accumulate, there was always a captain to answer to, and that captain had an employer, and so on. The solution was clear, what Barbossa needed was his own ship.
Barbossa's dream would be set aside, however. He was bound to provide for his family, a wife with a child on the way. The more that Barbossa was required to provide the less he was home. It was very isolating for Victoria and her husband was frequently parted from her by the demands of the Company. He was even away when his daughter, Amelia, was born. That, he said, was the single greatest regret of his life.
Now, four years later, Barbossa gained another change in position which called for relocation once more. This one promised to be favourable to the whole family. Barbossa saw to it that not only the location was improved but the community as well. The church community was promoted in a way Victoria found to her liking. The expansions that the town was experiencing resonated well with Barbossa who was confident in the opportunities that would be presented to his daughter. Best of all, word of Mr. Boyd promised dowry would not have reached Stone Chapel.
"Just smell that air," Barbossa invited his daughter to indulge with him on deck.
Little Amelia took in a deep breath, mimicking her father who was holding her up on a barrel. Her little nose wrinkled up and her eyes squinted as she took that breath. Barbossa could not help but laugh as he held her little body in place.
"Smells like fish," she said with a grimace.
"That, my dear, be the sea winds blowin' in. There will come a day when we'll be lookin' out and see great whales and sea serpents out among the waves of the ocean," he said.
"And mermaids?" the little girl asked full of hope.
"Aye, surely there'll be mermaids, beautiful creatures wearing seaweed for shawls, singin' the lone sailor to sweet dreams."
"Beautiful like Mama is?"
"Aye, and a voice sweet as yers," Barbossa added.
He loved to indulge his daughter in all aspects of the sea, even the imaginary ones. Hers was the only one whose sense of wonder matched his own. Victoria, of course, did not approve. She would have insisted that Amelia stay in the cabin with her had her own stomach not have been so troublesome. Amelia had no queasiness even though this was her first time travelling a great distance by ship. Barbossa claimed her strength to have been an inheritance from his blood. He was very proud of his daughter. Amelia was always eager to learn and she was fearless of everything except her mother. In Barbossa's eyes, his daughter was perfect. He saw the sea in her eyes, the waves in her hair, and the freedom her soul had though she herself had not yet recognized it.