Afterwards - a set of short pieces

Title: Afterwards
Characters: James Norrington
Disclaimer: Characters belong to whosoever international law says they do, which for most of them certainly isn't me and I'm content
When: AWE and after

Dealing with the fate of James Norrington.

1.

"Do you fear death?"

James would have laughed if he only had the breath. Fear it? No, he welcomed it, for in the advancing darkness he saw the hope of forgetting, or, if not that blessing, at least the chance of atoning.

So as the darkness claimed him he pushed the sword home and waited on the beckoning oblivion, for human eyes cannot see the light that lives in the heart of the darkness of a mortal ending.

Had he believed in God? In mercy? In those last endless seconds of dying he no longer knew. But even if he had once could he do so any longer? The man he had thought himself had been a sham, his strength just sea soaked sand and his honour nothing more than the vanity and glitter of a commodores gold braid, so why should the other pillars of his life be any more solid. Gods he must believe in, this hellish ship left no doubt of them, but God? Of that he was not sure.

As the final second stretched towards infinity he found himself wondering about the point of his life. 'Judge not' the bible taught and he had parroted his reverence for that in church each Sunday ashore, but only in his words, never in his deeds. How could he have truly believed when his whole life had been a parade of doing just that, judging, deciding in his own power and glory that this life should be protected and this one ended, that this man, this woman, should be held more valuable than that one. Judgement handed down and forgiveness scorned in the face of his own certainty.

He had believed, but not in God. Duty and man's law, the kings law, those were the divinities in which he had really believed, those were the moral pillars of his life. In them he had seen his virtue and his salvation and he had not looked at them closely enough to see the mire they were rooted in, nor the mould that was spread across their surface. The devil is in the detail but he had only ever regarded their outline. That had been enough for him; his pride in them and himself had blinded him to their weakness, and when he failed them no price had seemed too high to regain his place in their shadow.

Yet, in the end, the price had been too high to be borne or forgiven; Weatherby Swann dead and his daughter a pirate.

"I'll take that as a no then."

'As you judge, so shall you be judged,' the phrase came back to him on the heels of Jones' voice, and as the sword fell from his hand he heard his own words echoing from the past, the ones that he could now see had started it all; 'one good deed cannot redeem a man of a life time of wickedness.'

But if a good deed could not, then what could? Was there redemption to be had at all? Was there any hope that the serried ranks of heaven or the demon hoards of hell could offer to a man who sold his friends for a gold braided coat? To a man who saw such a deed and dismissed it, and who saw another teeter on the brink of redemption and mocked?

The noose of darkness tightened around him and his last human thought flickered,
'Time to find out.'