By: Lord Sopping
There was a large meal set on the table in the Captain's cabin as Prince Gregory and Cinderella were ushered inside. One of the windows that lined the rear bulkhead was partially shattered and Cinderella felt a chill as she reasoned that was the route the former master of the vessel had been forcibly ejected.
The Pirate leader followed her gaze then looked back to her. "It wasn't my doing love," he said slowly, the rum he'd consumed making him slur his words, "He jumped when I told him who I was."
"Just who are you?" Gregory demanded.
The Pirate drew himself us as if offended that his prisoners didn't recognize him. "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow, and I may very well be the last true pirate."
"Well, I never heard of you." Cinderella said defiantly. Then again, she hadn't heard of any pirates in this part of the world outside of those in the storybooks her father would read to her.
"Well love, I never heard of you either," Sparrow replied as he swayed his way towards her. "So I guess that makes us even, doesn't it?"
"Once word gets back to my father, he'll order every ship in the royal navy to come after you." Gregory said bravely. "If you surrender yourselves now, perhaps I can persuade him to grant you leniency. "
Cinderella let out a long sigh as she remembered just what constituted the kingdom's naval forces; three coastal patrol schooners and an ancient three decked man-o-war kept anchored in the harbor for ceremonial purposes, that would probably fall to pieces if it had to face even the slightest of heavy seas. Still, Sparrow and his cohorts likely didn't know that.
"True enough mate," Sparrow nodded, "But it will still take them time to get underway and come after us. Trust me, I've done this sort of thing before." He smiled, recalling how he and Will Turner had hijacked the Dauntless, and later the Interceptor from Port Royal shortly after they had first met. They'd had other adventures after that until, until. Sparrow put a hand to the side of his head as he tried to focus the fuzzy images in his mind, images of Will sacrificing his life and becoming the new Captain of the, what was the bloody name of that ship? About the only thing he could remember clearly was falling asleep with Scarlet and Giselle curled up naked to either side of him and waking up aboard the Black Pearl minus his usual hangover and with the ship heading into a port he'd never visited before. There he'd run into Hector Barbosa, a man he'd left for dead in the treasure cave on Isle del a morte who had promptly stolen the Pearl after he and most of the crew had gone ashore. Now they were giving chase in the first ship they had been able to lay their hands on. What they hadn't counted on was having a pair of unwanted hostages along for the trip. Had the circumstances been different, he'd have found a secluded harbor to hide in while he sent someone with the ransom demand back to the kingdom. But he didn't have even that luxury; something told him he had to catch up with the Pearl and soon, or he'd never see her again. He reached into his pocket to draw out the palm sized crystal orb he'd borrowed from that female shaman "What was her bloody name? Calip something or another," A rough jolt as the ship plowed through a wave caused him to drop the orb onto the table where it rolled towards Cinderella, who caught it as it rolled off the edge.
Suddenly, her mind filled with a whirlwind of images; herself as a newborn infant in the arms of her mother as the midwife smiled and her father beamed with pride, being held in their arms as a little girl after she'd been frightened by a storm, standing at her mother's grave along with her father, climbing dripping from the fountain in their yard after a boy, who she realized had been Gregory, had pushed her in after she had bopped him on the head with an apple core. Darker images began to form; her father's sudden and mysterious illness that defied all efforts by the doctors to cure until he had finally died as she held his hand, her becoming a slave to her stepmother and stepsisters soon after, Her stepmother holding a small black vial. With a small scream Cinderella dropped the orb as she realized that her father had been murdered, that her stepmother had considered the same fate for her. She vowed that when and if she ever made it back to the kingdom, she would exact her revenge on the evil woman.
Gregory caught the small sphere before it hit the deck in the cabin. A rush of images came to him as well; the Royal ball, the glass slipper fitting Cinderella's foot, their wedding and honeymoon, Cinderella rising from the lake at the hunting lodge, Her golden hair hanging wetly down her back, the drenched thin cloth of her nightgown transparent and clinging to her full firm breasts and the rest of her charms. The images abruptly ceased as Sparrow took the orb from him.
"How you'd you get it to work for you mate?" he asked as he held it up. "Bloody thing won't do anything for me!"
"What is it?" Gregory asked.
"It's called the Orb of Remembrance," Sparrow replied as he pocketed the sphere. "Supposed to help you retrieve long buried memories, make them clearer, but as I said, it doesn't want to do it for me. You and the lady seem to have the knack however."
"My wife and I have had some experience with things of a magical sort." Gregory said slowly, wondering if he needed to go into detail about mice who could talk, enchanted pumpkin carriages, and a sweet old lady who could make things happen with a wave of her wand.
"Let me see it Jack." Elizabeth said holding out her hand. Sparrow handed over the orb and her eyes went blank for several moments, and then filled with tears as she abruptly fled the room. Cinderella followed and found her weeping in the main cargo hold.
"What did you see?" Cinderella asked softly.
"My father," Elizabeth sobbed, "I saw him being murdered and his body dumped into the sea like so much trash! It was just a week ago when I left him in Port Royal."
Cinderella's mind ran over her memories of her father's maps of the world. Port Royal was on an island in the Caribbean, it would have taken far more then a mere week for any ship to have reached the part of the world they were in now. Something had to have brought Sparrow and his crew all that distance in so short a time. Could it be that her stepmother's time altering spell had had an effect that extended far beyond the boundaries of the kingdom? "What is the last thing you remember, just before you found yourself here?" she asked the other woman.
"We were in Tortuga, I'd gone there to try and find Will, we'd just gotten married a few days before, and been arrested by an agent of the East India Company for consorting with pirates, namely Jack. In exchange for our release, Will was sent to contact Jack and get his compass. I was being held as a hostage until Will returned, when my Father felicitated my escape from the prison and saw me onto a ship captained by a trusted friend. I found the Black Pearl, along with Mr. Gibbs and most of the crew, but Jack was nowhere to be found. We set off without him, but that night the ship was enveloped in a cloud of St Elmo's fire and next thing we knew, we were off the coast of your country and both Jack and Will were with us." She gave a little laugh. "I know it must sound like utter madness, but that is exactly what happened."
"Remind me to tell you about my friend who ate a poisoned apple and was brought back from the dead by a kiss." Cinderella replied smiling.
"Sail ho!" came a cry from above, "Four points off the starboard bow!" Feet pounded on the deck overhead as the crew rushed to stations, or sprang into the rigging. Captain Sparrow was at the quarterdeck railing as Cinderella and Elizabeth emerged from below.
"Mr. Gibbs!" he shouted, "Stand by to run out the guns, smartly now!"
The Mate looked perplexed. "Captain, this ship is just a merchantman, we have no guns!"
Sparrow digested this information. "No guns?" He said slowly, "Not one? Even a little one?"
"There might be some pistols aboard." Gibbs offered hopefully.
"They'll have to do I guess," Sparrow sighed. "Stand by to reef sail, bring us close alongside and we'll board them before they can put up a defense." He turned to the two pirates who had discovered Cinderella, who were standing by the signal halyards. "Prepare to hoist the colors."
At this point two rows of hatches opened along the flanks of the other ship and the muzzles of cannon slid into view. A red flag, the signal of no mercy, emblazoned with a grinning skull with a black rose clenched in its teeth soared to the peak of the mizzenmast. The pirates ran up their own flag along with a smaller pennant indicating the desire to parlay. The response was a full broadside from the other ship as it turned across their bow. Heavy ball shot tore into the foremast, knightheads, and bow rails sending deadly splinters flying through the air to cut down several screaming men. Chain shot tore through the rigging, backstays and ratlines, released of the tension upon them whipping through the air like scythes. Canister shot sent hundreds of tiny metal balls whistling the length of the little vessel, cutting down all in their path. Cinderella screamed as she watched a man be decapitated by a cannonball, the blood flowing from his neck in a geyser splashing over her as his lifeless body toppled to the deck. With loud cracks the foremast tumbled over the side, the men caught on the spars jumping for their lives into the sea. Severed gear on the mainmast rained down on the deck crushing or maiming several more. Cinderella screamed again as she saw a spar plummeting towards her, closing her eyes as she awaited her violent end, but at the last moment the heavy length of wood was deflected by its collision with a still intact lower spar and cart wheeled over the side.
"Captain, we've been hulled!" Gibbs was bellowing over the din of gunfire, and the screams of the wounded and dying. "We're shipping water fast below."
"Man the pumps, repair the damage as best you can!" Sparrow shouted back.
"Jack, it's over!" Will Turner shouted into his ear. "We have to surrender!"
"You saw his flag William, I doubt that taking us as prisoners is in his plans, it's the locker for all of us I fear." Sparrow touched his head as another fuzzy memory entered it. "I think I was there once, rather a desolate place, no rum and these funny little rocks crawling all over." Its halyards severed, his pirate flag fluttered to the deck at his feet. Sparrow snatched it up and brandished it at the unseen Captain of the other ship through the thick smoke rolling over the decks. "There is such a thing as BLOODY PROFESSIONAL COURTESY MATE!" he shouted at the top of his lungs.
"Prepare to repel boarders!" Gibbs was shouting as grappling hooks came through the air to catch on the sides of the sinking vessel. These were followed by swarms of men with cutlasses and other weapons who quickly overpowered Sparrow's meager crew. Cinderella was jerked to her feet and her hands bound behind her as she spied Gregory lying on the deck, blood oozing from an ugly wound in his shoulder.
"Oh please God, don't let him be dead!" She prayed silently as tears spilled from her eyes.
A large bearded man, his clothes and demeanor marking him as the Captain of the other ship, strode along the wreckage-strewn deck. "The ship be ours Cap'n!" an underling was saying to him.
The victorious Captain turned as he surveyed his prize. "Very well, strip her to her bones." He looked at the bodies scattered about the deck. "And if he still lives, bring me Jack Sparrow!"
To be continued