The floorboards creaked as a pair of boots walked across the deck. It was dawn, and the sky was only just beginning to show itself above the horizon, staining the clouds with red, orange, and yellow. The water was calm, but the breeze blew against the pirate's hair, sending it flowing behind the silent figure that paced on the ship. The waves lapped noisily against the side of the ship as it swayed gently.
Above the pirate's head, the sails flapped, and it was the only noise on the deck before a voice suddenly began to sing in a low voice.El rey y sus hombres secuestraron a la reina
Y en sus huesos la ataron.
Los mares son nuestros y con los poderes
Iremos a donde deseamos.
The pirate snorted inaudibly, chuckling rather grimly. The boots went up the steps, and the lonely figure came to stand at the front of the ship.Yo ho, all together
Hoist the colors high…
Heave ho, thief and beggar,
Never shall we die…
Scanning the horizon, dark eyes saw that they were utterly alone, and the tremulous voice continued to sing the low, haunting tune.
La campana ha sido levantada de su tumba de agua…
Escuchas su llamado sepulcral?
A call to all, pay head the squall
And turn your sails toward home.
Once more, the language changed, and the pirate smiled as coarse hands fiddled with the cuff of the sleeve, worn away with the sun and the salt.Yo ho, todos juntos-
The dark eyes widened suddenly as the song stopped. And then:
"ALL HANDS ON DECK!"
There were groans, bumps, creaks of the wood, and the crew suddenly emerged from below, tumbling onto the deck, taking their respective places even as they rubbed at their tired eyes. One took a quick mouthful of rum before hurrying to help his companions, and the first mate ran up the stairs to meet his captain.
The pirate didn't turn to the first mate when he spoke. Instead, the captain pointed at the horizon, where a dark shape had suddenly appeared. A ship.
"La Perla Negra," said the captain, lips pressed together grimly as one eyebrow raised. The first mate's eyes widened with astonishment, even as his captain suddenly smiled with satisfaction.
A few moments later, the ships came to a halt beside each other. One held the worn out inscription 'The Black Pearl' at its side, even as the other had 'La Flecha' as a name. Both captains had men filling the cannons, and both captains were perfectly aware of the fact. On both decks, men held knifes and pistols to their sides, even as the captain of The Pearl emerged from between his crew.
Barbossa's eyes narrowed as he strode to the side of the ship, his monkey on his shoulder. The old pirate's hair was streaked with gray, and new wrinkles had been added to the scars on his face, but the old spell Calypso had given to him as her last gift before she had returned to sea had been a long life, and he was now living much longer than he had been meant to. He walked more slowly now, but his expression was still as determined and intelligent as it had always been. Barbossa eyed one of the men, who looked back steadily, but with fear in his eyes.
"Where's your captain?" he asked. The sailor looked back blankly.
"Here," said a voice, and Barbossa turned his head to see someone standing at the front of the ship.
She was a young girl, of about sixteen. Her skin was dark from the sun, but her skin was meant to be paler. Her light brown hair fluttered in the breeze behind her, only lightly held away from her face with a piece of string. Her eyes were dark green, and she was dressed as a man, with trousers, a worn shirt and boots. Unlike Barbossa, she had no jewelry except for a piece of black string around her neck that disappeared under her shirt, and tiny gold hoops on her ears.
The girl smiled, but her eyes were still grim. "Captain Barbossa. Didn't expect you to turn up on my corner of the ocean."
Barbossa's expression was almost imperturbable, except for a flash of confusion as he spoke in his harsh voice. "Who're you?"
"I'm Captain Lark. But I thought you would know that; no other pirates are allowed to roam here, much less be captains of La Flecha." Her hispanic accent appeared as she pronounced the name of the ship.
The other captain raised his thick eyebrows. "Well, I was under the impression that Captain Lark was male, and much older."
"My father," she said shortly. "He died two years ago, and I took over. What are you doing here, Barbossa?"
He smiled suddenly, even as her smile disappeared with her words. He leaned forward, placing his arms on the wood of the side of the ship, and his golden tooth glinted in the sunlight.
"My dear Laura," he said, and she flinched at the name and scowled. He must have heard of her from somewhere. "You ever heard tell of the Fountain of Youth?"
She snorted, and said something to her men, who began to chuckle with mirth.
"Yes, I have. Too many times. Wild tales, with no ounce of common sense in them. If you've heard that it's here, then get out. It isn't. And what would you do, anyway? You've got no way of knowing whether you're going the right way or not, if there is a way." Lark rolled her eyes with an annoyed air. "I usually kill trespassers, and I think it's a known fact that this part of the sea isn't free to be traveled by anyone without my authorization. But I'll let you go, if you do it now."
Barbossa smiled again. "Oh, I knew about it. It is a well-known fact, but I didn't come all the way to get kicked out again, because unlike all those others, I got maps. And good ones too. To be trusted."
She raised her eyebrows with disbelief, even as he thrust his hand into his coat pocket and pulled out a map. He unrolled it and held it up for her to see, and she stared at the peculiar piece of parchment: it was circular, and even from a distance she could see the carefully drawn illustrations on it. Biting her lip, Lark looked up to the triumphant gaze of the old pirate.
"How do I know it's real?"
"Oh, I'll show it to you if you like. Thing is, there's one other requirement to open the way to the Fountain, according to what it says."
"And what's that?" she questioned.
"We need four who are descendants of pirate captains. Only with four can we open the way."
Lark laughed. "Well then, I'm afraid we're in a fix, aren't we?"
But his words surprised her, as he grinned with her. "No, we're not, are we?" His grin became knowing, and he watched her as her laughter stopped and her eyes narrowed. "You've got somethin' of your own, don't you, Lark? Somethin' useful."
"And what might that be, Barbossa?" she asked, her eyes glittering.
"Don't play innocent. You've got the boy, don't you?" At her silence, he scowled. "You've got Turner's boy, and don't you dare deny it. Everyone knows he came this way, and rumor has it that you got 'im on your ship."
She raised an eyebrow again. "Even if I do, we're still missing one, and according to you, three ain't enough."
Barbossa turned away from her suddenly, and spoke in a low voice to his men. Three of the strongest ones walked to the hatch and disappeared below. There was silence, and Lark stared at the other captain as he looked towards the hatch patiently.
There was a scuffle, and suddenly the men came out, leading another with them. His hands were tied behind his back and he was much older than when she had last seen him, but his face was unmistakable.