Rating: PG-13, maybe R in future
Summary: James and Elizabeth are shocked by Barbossa and ouwitted by Winwood, who's becoming mysterious.
Disclaimer: Everything, except my imagination belongs to Disney.
Warning: AWE- SPOILERS.
Jack’s hands were loosely draped over Pearl’s wheel. Even if he did not adjust the course when required, he knew the ship will do it herself. The sails were taut with the favourable wind, Pearl running at the speed of thirteen knots towards the coast of Florida. So Jack, you want to find this Fountain of Youth? What use will it be to us?
“Dunno. We’ll find some use, can sell it and buy rum, couldn’t we? New sails for you too”, smiled the Captain lazily. You really are a pirate now. There was a time, when you did not care a fig for any alcohol.
“Aye, but those times are long past”.
Elizabeth’s abigail was nowhere to be found. Again. Fuming with righteous anger Elizabeth searched the whole house, and finally made her way to the kitchen. She was actually surprised to find her abigail there, though not at all astonished at her occupation.
“Charity, you are gossiping again. I do not mind if you do it in your spare time, but right now you should be in my room, attending to my dress. This is the last time I’ve searched the entire house for you. Next time I will turn you out without a character.” The girl looked suitably penitent, her eyes downcast.
“Yes, mam, but if you will allow me to say, that ain’t no gossip I was exchanging. Philip just came to warn us there’s a madman in Port Royal, possibly dangerous. I only wanted to find out more to tell you, mam, so you’d take care”.
“Alright then Charity, who is that madman?” Elizabeth did not for a second believe that there was any truth in her abigail’s words.
“I don’t know his name, but Philip said that man is a pirate, a Captain even. He lives with that old woman just outside Port Royal”. By ‘that old woman’ Charity obviously meant the poor woman, who lived alone in a small hut, still wore mourning for her husband and whom Port Royal considered to be a witch. The words about the madman being a pirate captain suddenly sent Elizabeth’s mind aflame. Didn’t James say there were rumours about Barbossa going mad? Perhaps, there was a grain of truth in Charity’s words after all, and however small, this grain was worth investigating.
“Right, Charity, go prepare my riding habit and tell John to saddle Salamanca.”
“Yes, mam”, Charity curtsied and nearly ran out of the kitchen.
His horse fell, exhausted by the vicious gallop he urged her into. Their khan has failed, defeated by the Slavic army, and the survivors fled the battlefield. He untied his knapsack from the horse’s saddle, then took out his saber and with one swift stroke slit the animal’s throat, ending its agony. Throwing the knapsack over the shoulder, he started walking towards, what he hoped was the right direction of Tula, Slavic settlement.
He did not want to go back to his own people. Even if people of Tula made a slave of him, it won’t be much different from the life he led in the Tatar camp. He shuddered, remembering what they did to him after he took that trip to find his memories. Maybe, the Slavs will kill him, maybe they’ll enslave him, but maybe they’ll let him sail on one of their ships, and then he’ll find her.
By nightfall he reached outskirts of what seemed like a big village. This could not be Tula, but he decided to risk taking a look at it anyway. As he reached a large garden, he was startled by a movement among the apple trees. Before he could hide, a girl stepped out of the shadows, a lamp in her right hand. She did not scream or run upon seeing him, but suddenly drew out a knife, that was tucked into her belt.
“Step closer, show me your face”. Without knowing why, he obeyed, at the same time thanking the gods he knew the Slav language a little. The girl lifted the lamp, so the light fell squarely onto the faces. They eyed each other.
The girl had the typical colouring and a face of a Slav, only her eyes were an unusual sea-green. The girl too, immediately knew him for a Tatar, with that long black hair, a slightly drooping moustache, his golden skin. He also obviously was in that battle the messenger was shouting about just a few hours ago, as his armour was dented and splashed generously with blood and dirt. Taking him in and hiding him from the village, was just the kind of adventure she longed for.
“So what’s your name, handsome one?”
“Deniz”, said the man quietly, shocked by the lack of fear in the girl.
“Mine is Pelageya. Do you know what it means?” Deniz shook his head.
“Of the sea.” The man stared at her in shock.
“My name also means of the sea”. The girl laughed.
“Then, do you long for it, like I do?”
“Yes”, Deniz finally realized who was before him. He found her again, despite all the odds. He leaned down and kissed the welcoming lips.
The door to Commodore’s office flung open and Elizabeth Turner strode in, followed by breathless Lieutenant Gillete. As Norrington looked at the invasion, turn between surprise and amusement, Gillete said apologetically:
“Sir, I tried to stop Mrs. Turner, but she would not listen!”
“It’s fine Lieutenant, you may go”. Commodore dismissed his lieutenant, as Elizabeth settled in a chair at Norrington’s desk. Gillete threw one more apologetic look at the Commodore and left, shutting the door behind himself.
“Well, Elizabeth, I’m always glad to see you, but I would appreciate if you could refrain from such dramatic entrances in future”. The woman in question threw him an exasperated look.
“I had to see you immediately, James”, she peeled her kid riding gloves off and threw them on the desk, much to Commodre’s chagrin. “I know you are not going to believe me, but I’m afraid you’ll have to”, without letting Norrington reply, she continued. “Do you know the so-called witch of Port Royal?” James nodded. “Well, I went to her house today, to investigate some rumours my abigail was spreading among the household. Well, the rumours turned out to be true. The woman has a permanent house guest, none other than Captain Barbossa”. Her eyes flashed, daring Commodore to disbelieve her. As the man struggled with his surprise, the ramifications of Elizabeth’s actions struck him.
“Jesus, Elizabeth what were you thinking? What if he took you as a hostage? Or…” James stood up and started pacing the room. Elizabeth eyed his movements with some annoyance. When was the man stop being so damned protective?
“There was no danger James. Your spies were right. The man has gone mad. Properly mad I mean, not a shade of his former self. He just sits there staring into empty space, sometimes muttering to himself. That’s it.” Norrington stopped pacing, shock evident in his face.
“This is very… I don’t even have the words for it. Strange, perhaps. Did the woman tell you, how he came to be with her?”
“She did, after I gave her a couple of guineas. Apparently, two men brought Barbossa to her and asked to take care of him for ample payment.” With her next words, Elizabeth preceded Norrington’s question. “Yes, she described them. One I did not recognize, but the other one was definitely Cotton. Do you remember him? The one with a parrot.” James nodded, deep in thought.
“So the crew of the Black Pearl deposited him here, and even paid her the woman for her troubles. What interests me is why they took such care of him and did not just abandon him on some island or in some port, and whether Sparrow had a hand in this business?” Elizabeth smiled gravely.
“I believe he had, for the woman told me that she would not have taken a madman in for all the money in the world if the men, who brought Barbossa, weren’t sent by Jack, to whom she apparently owes some favours.” Norrington’s face contorted with displeasure at the information that Sparrow had agents in Port Royal. “What’s more, James, I caught some of the words the poor man was saying.” Nottington looked at her questioningly. “Pearl, Jack, Evil”.
“This might not mean anything Elizabeth. You said yourself that he is mad”.
“It might not, but remember Davy Jones, undead pirates and everything that happened to us in the past. I wonder what scrape Jack got into that drove the former undead pirate Captain to madness”. They fell silent, both lost in conjecturing and futile guessing at what weirdness was going on in the Caribbean again. Their thoughts were interrupted by a knock and the sound of the door opening.
Lord Winwood came in carrying a bundle of papers under his arm. If he was surprised to see Mrs. Turner joined with Commodore in some sort of reverie, he did not show it. He bowed to Elizabeth.
“Mrs. Turner, Commodore, I hope I am not interrupting”. Elizabeth only managed to greet the Governor, but Norrington remembering his suspicions of the man, jumped at the chance to test him.
“No, my lord. In fact, Mrs. Turner has something of interest to tell you”.
“Indeed?” He looked at Elizabeth expectantly, who was busy throwing Norrington angry looks. Nevertheless, she was obliged to relay her tale to the Governor. As the man listened to the story, Norrington searched his face for any reaction, but found none. Maybe his suspicions were after all foolish, thought James, or maybe the man was too good an actor.
“This is a very interesting turn of events, my friends. However, I do no think there is anything to be done. We will leave Barbossa alone for now: I have no wish to imprison or hang a man who is not aware of his fate. However, I will make sure that one of my men establishes contact with that kindly woman and reports me if there’s any improvement in the pirate’s state of mind or if he says anything else interesting”. James and Elizabeth expressed their slightly reluctant agreement with this plan, realizing that now any information Lord Winwood got, could be withheld from them. The Governor did not seem at all interested in the subject of pirates having gone mad, upon receiving their agreement, did not lose time on changing the subject.
“Commodore, I meant to ask, whether you found Diana a satisfactory replacement for your previous ship?” Lord Winwood smiled, finally ridding himself of the papers by placing them on Norrington’s desk.
”Yes, she’s a very fine ship”. That she was, but Norrigton knew that nothing would ever replace Dauntless that he lost through his own foolishness.
“This is good to hear, and I hope Commodore, now that it is safe to presume that Captain Sparrow resumed his control of Black Pearl, you will not chase him recklessly through hurricanes”. With that he wished a good day to Elizabeth and James, rendered speechless by Lord Winwood’s words, and left. Elizabeth was the first to resume control of her tongue.
“Oh, how could he, James? That was so uncalled for! Has the man no principles?!”
“To be honest, Elizabeth, he has the right to be concerned over the state of the ship he procured for me, and I did loose Dauntless due to my recklessness, even if I did blame Sparrow for it at first.”
After going back to his office, Lord Winwood dashed off a note and sounded the bell for his secretary. As the scholarly looking man entered, Lord Winwood was in the process of sealing it.
“Ah, Kirkby, be so good as to find Mr. Rotherham for me, I have something urgent that needs attending to.” He handed his secretary the note.
“Yes, my lord”.
The said Mr. Rotherham was a man of many means ad talents, yet even he was a little daunted by the task Lord Winwood assigned him. Only the promise of substantial reward made him set about the business without any delay. Firstly, he visited the ‘witch’ to establish when exactly Barbossa was placed into her hands. Luckily it turned out, that it happened only four days ago. Secondly, he visited the taverns trying to find out if Pearl’s crew visited any of them, when depositing Barbosa ashore. He almost lost hope, until in the dirtiest tavern imaginable some drunken sailor announced that last he heard Black Pearl was bound to Tortuga for supplies. That same sailor offered him a passage on their little sloop, which was leaving for the same port on the next tide.
Luckily the passage was swift, and Mr. Rotherham hoped that he will find the Pearl still in Tortuga. Upon reaching it, he made his way to a small house at the edge of the harbour. The owner of it, when given some coins and asked the questions, slurred:
“Ah, Black Pearl. You’re lucky, mate. She’s still here, anchored in a little cove, just beyond the harbour; it seems they had a spot of trouble getting some of the supplies.” Mr. Rotherham let out a sigh of relief, and enquired about the whereabouts of the ship’s Captain.
“Well, I dunno for sure, but I think he likes the Lion’s Heart. You know, the French tavern, the wenches are good there. Skillful”.
Mr. Rotherham gave the man a few more coins, knowing it was good to keep his sources of information happy and made his way to Lion’s Heart. Captain Jack Sparrow was indeed there, sitting at one the more secluded tables, a bottle of rum in his hand, thankfully no wench in the other. He studied Mr.Rotherham with narrowed eyes, as the man sat himself at Captain’s table, extremely out of place in his neat, well-cut clothing.
“What would you be wanting with me, mate?”
Mr. Rotherham slipped a letter out of his pocket and handed it to Jack.
“I have been instructed to find you, Captain. All the answers are in the note, I believe.” Jack turned the note over to look at the seal and his eyes widened in surprise. He looked back at Mr. Rotherham.
“Thankee, mate. I do believe your master has paid well for this errand, so I won’t offer you anything except rum.” Jack pushed the bottle towards Mr. Rotherham. “Does he want an answer?”
“No, I believe not, but maybe you should read it”. Jack followed the man’s suggestion and broke the seal. It did not take him long to peruse the contents of the letter, and it seemed to Mr. Rotherham they were found agreeable.
“Well, mate, no answer needed, but tell him anyway, that he is a right one”. Jack smiled mischievously, making Mr. Rotherham wonder, not for the first time, what connection there was between Lord Winwood and a certain pirate captain.