bringmethatnpc: (Dutchman crew)
He'd almost made it. Jack had been sneaking across the Dutchman's deck, chest secure in hand, when Jones and his crew had spotted him.

"Looky here, boys -- a lost bird that never learned to fly!"

As they advance on him, Jack backs up against the edge of the deck -- then leaps up on the rail and wraps one hand in a particular lanyard. His sudden grin is filled with manic amusement.

"Never too late to learn, aye?" With no more warning than that, he slams the chest against the half-rotten wood brace securing the line and is promptly yanked aloft.

Unfortunately, Jones doesn't need any such trick to go wherever he wishes to on this particular ship, and as Jack turns to make his swaying way toward the tenuous safety of the mainmast, he finds himself facing the Dutchman's furious captain over the point of a sword.

"The chest-- hand it over!"

Jack backs up a step, drawing his own sword, and there's something strangely knowing in the black eyes.

"I can set you free, mate."

"My freedom was forfeit long ago!" Jones snarls, and strikes.

Now, as one battle rages on the decks below, another takes place on the yardarm of the Flying Dutchman. With a wild slash, Jack sends several wiggling tentacles from Jones's beard falling to the deck below -- one of them still clutching the key to the chest. He receives a blow in return that sends him staggering backward, and as he brings his sword up in defense Jones snaps it in two with his claw.

Having no other defense left, Jack counters the next strike by using the chest itself as club, which in turn brings it within reach of Jones, who promptly grabs it. As Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones engage in a strange tug-of-war over the chest that contains Jones's heart, Jack can't help but grin.

Bloody ridiculous, is what this is.

Evidently Jones agrees, for with a particularly harsh, violent swing, he manages to yank Jack from his perch and send him flying through the air in truth.

It's a stroke of fortune that the air's so full of invading fishy pirates, however, and as he falls Jack collides with one swinging across on a rope. In the ensuing scramble for a good grip, Jack notices a pistol shoved in the other man's belt. Black eyes widen in shock.

I know that gun!

On the instant, Jack snatches Mal's pistol free and delivers a hard blow to Clanker's head with the butt of the gun.

"Oi! My pistol!"

As the stunned pirate falls, Jack swings himself around, searching for Jones--

--there!

BANG!

Jack's a good shot, and as Mal Reynolds could tell anyone who asked, it's a good gun. The bullet goes true, knocking the chest from Davy Jones's hands and into the chaos below.
bringmethatnpc: (EIC tariffs)
They find him in the early hours of the morning, floating along with a corpse and a barrel to hold on to. Heaved aboard like any other piece of Jetsam, the prisoner is given time to dry off in the hold.

As the sun rises higher in the sky, Lord Beckett orders that the Dutchman be signalled and Jones summoned over to the Endeavour. In the meanwhile, that pirate they hauled inis to be similarly escorted to the cabin, there to be offered the finest tea of the Company.
bringmethatnpc: (the Black Pearl at night)
The Black Pearl sails onward through the night, leaving Will Turner floating in her wake.

Once Will's out of sight-- which doesn't take long at all in the darkness-- Jack Sparrow turns away from the railing with a very smug look on his face.

It's there for about two seconds before he spots a staring Henry Wellard.

"... bugger."
bringmethatnpc: (The Flying Dutchman)
It's dark, damp and distinctly unpleasant in the Dutchman’s brig. Captain and crew of the Empress are quickly locked inside with the slam of an iron door and a harsh laugh. Silent, the crew cluster together and watch their new captain, who seems to have her own agenda.
bringmethatnpc: (Empress)
Onboard the Empress, in the lush captain's cabin, Elizabeth Swann is not being treated like a prisoner.

Two Chinese women have helped her bathe and dress in beautiful silks and heavy robes in the rich, ever-changing colors of the sea. They've arranged her hair and pinned a pretty, elaborate headdress into place; it feels like a crown, and Elizabeth holds her head high under its weight. The women don't speak much as they work, for which Elizabeth is grateful, and they won't hold her eye.

Why is it, she thinks, that some men enjoy dressing me up when they take me captive? It's puzzling, but at least Sao Feng hadn't threatened to make her dine naked with the crew if she didn't comply.

As if summoned by her thoughts, she hears the pirate descending the brief staircase to the round entranceway. He speaks in rapid Chinese -- probably to Tai Huang -- and Elizabeth turns to watch him approach, her face carefully inscrutable. Everything depends on this conversation.
bringmethatnpc: (The Black Pearl)
"Why don't you both go ashore and leave the ship in my command? ... temporarily."

Will really really didn't expect it to work. He had a thousand and one back up plans, but he didn't expect Jack and Barbossa to have so little regard for his... piratitude? as to actually trust him with the Pearl as they went off to the island he led them to. Still, he wasn't about to look a a gift horse in the mouth, and proudly saw them off to the island with a few of the Singaporean pirates hand picked by Tai Huang.

When he turns back to his crew, he catches Elizabeth's eye, looking for some sort of acknowledgement, some sort of pride in his temporarily position of command, but she turns away. It stings, but the residual bitterness of her deception tempers it somewhat.

And yet, for all of that, there's the faintest hope that they can rebuild what they've lost. He still loves her with every drop of blood in his veins, and he remembers how she clung to him, turned to him in her despair. Everything will be all right, he tells himself, once I've rescued my father.

Nevertheless, he waits. Elizabeth goes below decks with Tonks, hardly speaking to him, and he makes sure everyone has something to do, and he plays the loyal mate, for all he avoids talking directly to Mr. Gibbs. When the Empress is sighted, it's by one of the men Will thinks of as 'his' crew, and he lets it be known that the Jack loyalists are to be kept ignorant of their fate until the last moment. But preparations are made.

Neither Elizabeth nor Tonks are on deck when Marty finally spies the Empress.

"Ship ahoy!" he shouts, pointing urgently.

By now it's too close for the rest of the crew not to have noticed, and Gibbs surely knows that when he runs to the side of the ship, frowning. "It's Sao Feng! He's broken the agreement!"

Will steps up behind Gibbs, and when the old sailor turns, he's looking down the blade of Will's sword.

"Mutiny!"

"Afraid so, Mr. Gibbs," Will says, liking how smoothly the words come out. He lifts a hand, and six Singaporean Pirates step forward, taking Gibbs, Cotton and Marty all as prisoners. And that feels good, too.

Feeling remarkably pleased with himself, Will slips away to find Elizabeth, and inform her of his plan.



Will doesn't find Elizabeth below deck. Two of Sao Feng's men locate her first, deep in thought atop a barrel in the hold, and by the irritated looks on their faces when they drag her topside, they would gladly have left that particular pleasure to someone else. The man gripping her left arm walks gingerly, as if he's recently received a sharp kick to the shin.

The Chinese pirates cheer the successful mutiny, while Elizabeth glares daggers at the man responsible. Sao Feng, imposing and self-satisfied, ignores the prisoners and saunters along the deck toward Barbossa and Jack, recently returned to the Pearl at the tip of Tai Huang's sword. Barbossa smiles without meaning it and speaks of coincidences, but Jack appears to be contemplating jumping over the side, and a moment later, his nose meets Sao Feng’s fist. Elizabeth almost smiles, wondering if the apparent animosity is something she can use.

"Release her." Will, unrestrained, pushes his way to her side, and Elizabeth feels a surge of hope. "She's not part of the bargain."

Bargain?! Hope forgotten, Elizabeth gapes at him.

"And what bargain be that?" inquires Barbossa, stealing the words, if not the precise phrasing, from Elizabeth's mouth.

"You heard Captain Turner," Sao Feng says. He's clearly enjoying himself, and smiles at the laughter that follows from those under his command. "Release her!"

The laughter is nothing but a dull roar in Elizabeth's ears, swirling around and through her fury as it rises. Sao Feng hadn't acted alone at all. Will is just as responsible for this turn of events, which means his lies, his... treachery stretches all the way back to Singapore. And he'd had the nerve to question her trustworthiness! Elizabeth seethes, remembering how torn she had been over her answer.

"I need the Pearl to free my father,” Will is saying, holding himself with pride and that inherent earnestness that sometimes makes her want to shock him horribly. "That's the only reason I came on this voyage."

Well, it's good to know where his priorities lie. The pirate on her right -- the one not sporting a bruise, though he moves cautiously anyway -- finally releases her chains and she shrugs him off, stalking Will like a self-contained tempest. "Why didn't you tell me you were planning this?” she demands.

"It was my burden to bear." He must have been holding the words in, keeping them close -- must have rehearsed them when no one was around to hear. They cut deep, just as he undoubtedly knew they would.



The laughter that accompanies Sao Feng's use of "Captain Turner" is entirely unnecessary. He won the Pearl fair and...OK, not fair, but with a good honest backstabbing and mutiny, and that's how these people work, isn't it? The Pearl is his now, and he is its Captain, and Sao Feng is really not enamouring himself to Will right now.

What disappoints a little more is the clear incredulity in Jack's voice when he repeats the title. What's the matter, Jack? Will seethes to himself, so surprised that I might rise to Captain? Some part of Will's anger is driven by an inexplicable belief that Jack would somehow be proud of Will's act of piracy.

"I need the Pearl to free my father," he tells Jack, and anyone else who might care about his noble intentions. "That's the only reason I came on this voyage."

Elizabeth storms over, clearly of the opinion that while it was acceptable for him to think she loved another man, he was obliged to tell her of all his plans.

"Why didn't you tell me you were planning this?" she demands, and Will can't meet her eyes.

"It was my burden to bear." Hopefully she'll know how much those words sting, but still understand the knowledge would have been dangerous for her.



“…needs the Pearl. And you felt guilty.” Jack appears to be addressing Elizabeth; she arches an eyebrow and checks around for some inkling of whatever he's rambling on about. There are other, more important things on her mind, like the fact that she's standing next to Captain Turner. "And you and your Brethren Court. Did no one come to save me just because they missed me?"

Ah.

Elizabeth contemplates raising her hand simply to see the look on Will's face, but decides that's beneath her. Several of the Pearl’s crew show their support, and Jack's move to stand with them is swiftly curtailed by Sao Feng's hand in his braids. At any other time, it would be amusing.

There's nothing amusing about the Endeavour off the starboard side, however, and when Sao Feng mentions old friends to Jack, Elizabeth eyes Will sulkily. Surely he wasn't silly enough to knowingly involve Beckett? Her father's murderer?

Bristling, she watches Mercer and his men swarm on board, dripping proprietary smiles and corrupt intentions. "Company ship. Company crew," Mercer tells Sao Feng. And what fate awaits Company prisoners? A short drop and a sudden stop, Elizabeth thinks savagely.

"You agreed. The Black Pearl was to be mine,” Will insists. If she weren't so upset, Elizabeth might feel sorry for him.

"And so it was," the Pirate Lord of Singapore reminds him. A quick gesture, a punch, and Will and Elizabeth are back in chains.



As soon as Barbossa sees the push-dagger stuck through the dead man's face, his brain leaps into full-sail mode. Always being on the lookout for treason has kept him alive for a long time, in a pirate's dangerous world, but this time he didn't expect treason from -this- quarter.

He's quick to return Sao Feng's barbed words from their last meeting as soon as he sees him aboard the Pearl, and can't help feeling some satisfaction when the Singaporean Lord punches Jack's face. But those small pleasures are lost in the maelstrom of plans that churns in his head. Sao Feng has proven to be notably difficult to deceive, and time is running against his skill right now.

And then Sao Feng utters the words 'Captain Turner' and amid the laughter of the Singaporean crew, Barbossa finally sees the whole of the picture. So the whelp has initiative. Well, his father used to have it too, and see where it got him, maybe Captain Turner should learn from him.

Just like Jack should, maybe, try to learn when being charming will get him out of trouble and when it won't. This being one of the latter occasions. "You and your Brethren Court"... If only he knew... But of course he doesn't. That's the beauty of the plan, none of the Pirate Lords will be able to see it, not until Barbossa himself reveals it -the bunch of short-sighted fools. But then, before he can start to worry about the completion of his plan, the extent of the treachery is revealed. Turner didn't just sell them to Sao Feng, no. They both sold them to the East India Trading Company. The cold rage of pure hatred starts to boil in his chest as Jack is carted over to the Endeavour and a man boards the Pearl, followed by a whole company of the East India marines.

With but a glance, Barbossa realizes two things: He knows this man from Singapore, where he led the attack on Sao Feng's lair, and the man bears the unmistakable air of a minion. A trusted, able, effective minion. A minion who is apparently here to take possession of the Pearl. Turner learns the hard way that traitors seldom are trusted, or rewarded, and not too long afterwards, so does Sao Feng. Of course, the side with the most guns (and the Dutchman under their command) can take the lion's share. This is what he needed. Just a little crevice into which to insert the right kind of leverage.



Da Bohai hates the Caribbean. It's too bright, everyone's rude, and he hasn't seen a proper concubine in weeks. And these women on the Black Pearl aren't much to negotiate over either. One's been clearly marked out by the captain, one's pregnant, and the other - well frankly, she scares him.

It's the pregnant one he homes in on when they take the prisoners: there could be some fun later, after all. Out in the open, right now, he confines himself to patting her down for weapons - nothing wrong with that, is there? Her strange pregnancy talisman is handed back to her. They may have some strange beliefs over here, but he's not going to risk angering whichever god it is that it's a talisman for.

The real prize is in her belt: a strange looking gun, which looks like it's capable of firing up to six pellets. He saw Tai Huang with this back in Singapore, and he guesses it must have been stolen when the Barbarians raided their den. Well, it's back with its rightful owners now.

Smirking proudly to himself, Da Bohai tucks the gun into his belt, making sure to keep it hidden from Tai Huang and all the other pirates. No point in announcing it.



Elizabeth gives her fiancé a scathing look and then faces forward, expression grim as she listens to Sao Feng lose his own claim to the Pearl. Had anyone bothered to ask her, she could have informed them that Beckett would never relinquish an advantage, much like Davy Jones reportedly never gives up what he takes -- until now. Considering Beckett's motives and what might be happening to Jack in his company, Elizabeth only half pays attention to Barbossa sidling forward and addressing Sao Feng.

“We have Calypso!” he says a few moments later.

Feeling their eyes on her, Elizabeth refocuses.

“Hmm. Calypso,” Sao Feng murmurs. "An old legend."

"No. The Goddess herself, bound in human form. Imagine -- all the power of the seas brought to bear against our enemies. I intend to release her, but for that I need the Brethren Court." Barbossa leans forward, lifting something around the other man's neck; it looks like a black cord necklace. "All the Court."

Barbossa can be very persuasive. "What are you proposing, Captain?"

"What be you accepting, Captain?"

Sao Feng is still looking at Elizabeth when he says, "The girl."

"What?" Incredulous, Elizabeth stares back.

"Elizabeth is not part of the bargain!" announces Will, still chained and not likely to have any say in the matter. She presses her lips together.

"Out of the question," Barbossa replies. He seems genuinely opposed to the idea, but Elizabeth notices there's something smug about his eyes.

"It wasn't a question."

Glancing at the armed Company men, and Mercer at the helm, Elizabeth straightens and realizes, quite suddenly, that she would rather take her chances with pirates than with men loyal to Beckett. "Done," she states firmly, proud and defiant.

Will blinks. "What? Not done."

"You got us into this mess," she shoots back, bubbling over with anger. "If this is what frees us, then done!”

"Elizabeth." It's plaintive, but she's unyielding. "They're pirates."

Wearing her indignation around her shoulders like a protective blanket, Elizabeth glares at him. "I've had more than enough experience dealing with pirates," she snaps, pushing his chest with her bound hands.

There was a time when she called him ‘pirate’ with admiration. As Sao Feng pulls her aboard the Empress, Elizabeth ponders which burns most: that Will betrayed her, or that she can't help being a little proud of him for it.




"Shame they're not bound to honour the Code of the Brethren, isn't it? Because honour's a hard thing to come by, nowadays."

He watches Sao Feng react, his voice a snarl as he rejects honour in favor of pragmatism, a move that Barbossa himself would applaud, hadn't he more pressing concerns. As things are, he picks up a different bait from Sao Feng's own words.

"The losing side, you say?"

Sao Feng is angry now, angry at Beckett's treason, and being deprived of his prize. Angry at being bested by men he considers inferior. Angry at Barbossa's renewed air of knowing just a little more than he does.

"They have the Dutchman. Now the Pearl. What does the Brethren Court have...?"

Barbossa's eyes widen as he leans slightly towards the Singaporean.

"We have... Calypso."

Sao Feng's gaze drifts towards Miss Swann, and in that moment, Barbossa knows he has the key to solving this situation in his hand. He will care for recovering Jack and his Piece of Eight later, if he can't extricate himself from the Endeavour. For now, Sao Feng is trying to bargain. A small sound, derisive as his smile, precedes his words.

"Calypso. An old legend."

He shakes his head as he speaks, contemptuous. But Barbossa knows he has got the other Pirate Lord in his nets now. How easy it is, and Barbossa has painful experience of that, to make a man fall by grace of his earthly desires. And now, with the hook firmly in place, it's time to reel in the dangerous, murderous fish.

"No... The goddess herself, bound in human form. Imagine all the power of the seas brought to bear against our enemies."

He realizes perfectly that Sao Feng's look won't have escaped the two lovebird's attentions, and of course Tía Dalma knows full well that Calypso isn't bound into Miss Swann's bones, but he has to trust no one will be foolish enough to speak up.

"I intend to release her, but for that I need the Brethren Court."

He takes Sao Feng's necklace, a piece of jade tightly bound in leather cords, briefly in his hand.

"All the Court."

He knows, in that moment, in Sao Feng's look and the fact that his hand hasn't been lopped off, that he has won. It's hard to hide the exultation, the joy of winning the game, bluffing not on a bad hand, but without cards at all. But for the moment, he must. Sao Feng lowers the red cloth from his face.

"What are you proposing, Captain?"

The title is like a balm for Barbossa. Captain. Of the Pearl.

"What be you accepting... Captain?"

But of course, he knows what the Singaporean will be asking for. And the beauty of it is, he doesn't need to negotiate. At most, add a little fuel to the fire with an 'Out of the question' at the opportune moment, and lo! Sao Feng thinks he has got the better part out of their deal.

Time to wake Cutler Beckett up from his dream of victory.

As the first volley of cannon fire hits the Endeavour, Barbossa goes for Mercer. He wouldn't trust anybody else on board to finish off such a dangerous man. Takes one to catch one, they say. And so, they clash at the quarterdeck. The fight is levelled, both combatants equally as vicious and mean-spirited, but finally, Mercer manages to dive overboard more or less unscathed before the Pearl's crew catch up with their (current) captain.

Now if only Jack managed to somehow kill himself, but delivering his Piece of Eight in a timely fashion...

What? A man can dream!



Will didn't exactly try to make friends among - well, anyone, so the sharp punch to the gut is not exactly unexpected, as unneeded as it was. When he is locked in chains with Elizabeth, his thoughts immediately go to how to get her out, but he follows the conversation between Sao Feng and Mercer- and then Barbossa.

"What be ye accepting, Captain?"

"The girl."

Will's heart freezes.

No. This can't be... Sao Feng, who looked at her with such unbridled desire back in Singapore, is now actually demanding her as part of a bargain. Elizabeth in the exchange for the Pearl... Elizabeth in exchange for anything. It's unthinkable. Will would give his life to stop her falling into his lust-stained hands.

"Elizabeth is not part of any bargain."

But Will's life is not currently his to give. All he can do is protest angrily, trying not to betray just how impotent he feels, chained like this. Unable to stop Sao Feng insisting quietly. All he has is Barbossa's esteem for Elizabeth, that will also presumably protect her from a fate...

"Done!" Elizabeth says firmly, and it's a second before the reality hits Will.

"What?" he says, sharply. "Not done."

"You got us into this mess," she says accusingly. "If this is what frees us, then done."

Will's stomach starts churning under his pained, ice-cold heart, as he tries to get a handle on this. She can't... can't be willingly going with him. Doesn't she see how he looks at her, what he'll do.

"Elizabeth," Will insists sharply. "They're pirates."

They're men. They're human: alive and whole and material. They're thieves and betrayers and rapists, and she's going with them?

"I have had more than enough experience dealing with pirates." Elizabeth punctuates her words by shoving him hard in the chest, equating him with these men, and it hurts more than a simple punch to the stomach. She may well have driven a dagger into his chest.

From then, he hardly cares what happens. Elizabeth has made her choice.




As the window explodes from cannonfire, Jack takes advantage of the confusion to snatch hold of Beckett's hand and gives it a quick shake to seal the accord--

"Done!"

-- before bolting for the door.

In the bedlam, it's not hard for him to make his way to the deck above, and then to the quarterdeck. By the time Beckett manages to follow him, Jack's refastened his compass to his belt, looped a rope around the base of a cannon and is tossing the other end up over the yardarm.

Beckett stares at him-- and then catches sight of the small leaden figure modeled in his image, now perched squarely in the mouth of the cannon. His jaw drops.

"... you're mad!"

Jack grabs hold of the rope and spares a second to glance over at him.

"Thank goodness for that, because if I wasn't this'd probably never work."

He grins, and with no more warning than that, Jack sets the cannon's fuse alight.

BOOM!

Beckett dives out the way as the shot is fired, and the recoil yanks the attached rope back up over the yardarm-- and Jack with it. He goes flying through the air toward the Black Pearl, yelling the entire way. The Pearl's crew scrambles for her stern to see where he's landed, but he's not there.

It's Barbossa who spots him.

Jack's balanced on the quarterdeck rail, leaning against the Pearl's starboard great lantern, with a wickedly pleased smirk on his face as he informs them all,

"And that was without even a single drop of rum!"




Not good.

Pintel tries to look inconspicuous as the grown-ups Captains... or, at least, men who think of themselves as Captains, and who he would automatically call Captain if it came to it anyway.Well, 'cept for Turner. If he didn't think he might get stabbed, he'd be giving the little brat a reproachful look. It was all going well before he messed up, wasn't it?

"He needs the Pearl," Captain Jack is saying. "'Captain Turner' needs the Pearl. And you felt guilty, and you and your brethren court," he continues to Miss Swann and Captain Barbossa. Or... Barb- no, he can't. He might as well have had 'Captain' as a first name, even before he mutinied the first time. Pintel sighs nostalgically. Awful times, but simpler ones.

"Did no one come to save me just because they missed me?" Jack asks plaintively, and Pintel risks glares from... well, anyone, and raises his hand with a few of the others, smiling sheepishly... and then drops it right back down as Jack is taken off to the Endeavour. Beckett. Don't it just figure.

And now Captains Sao Feng and Barbossa are haggling away in a way that suggests everyone should really keep an eye just so they know who's prisoners and who's not, and Turner's been punched out and grabbed by two of Sao Feng's gang, and the Captains're talking about Calypso, and Pintel wonders uncomfortably if he can get Ragetti to summarise what the hell's happening a bit later without losing face, and then Elizabeth changes hands - what, did he miss the bidding? Huh - and then there's a fight. He knows how to deal with fights!

And then they've got the Pearl back. That was fun, Pintel grins over at Ragetti, and they clap hands on Will Turner's shoulders again, looking up at where Captain Sparrow just landed in the rigging.

"Send this pestilent traitorous cow-hearted yeasty codpiece to the brig!"

Ah. All's well that ends well, even if he has no clue what just went on. It's so nice havin' Jack back.
bringmethatnpc: (lord cutler beckett)
Their plans...are not proceeding apace.

"Bloody hell," Beckett murmurs, surveying what's left of the latest ship, "there's nothing left."

Mercer observes, "Jones is a loose cannon, sir."

There's a long pause: Lord Cutler Beckett is thinking. Finally: "Fetch the chest."

"And the governor?" Beckett looks over his shoulder at Mercer. "He's been asking questions about the heart.

Beckett's eyes narrow. "Does he know?"

Silence from Mercer is, apparently, a yes.

"Then perhaps," Beckett says peaceably, "his usefulness has run its course."
bringmethatnpc: (the Black Pearl at night)
After this.

The last of the small ships have passed by, carrying their crews to whatever destination awaits them. The crew of the Pearl has dispersed- all alone now with their own thoughts and fears about the waters they are sailing.

Wellard cannot blame them. He does not go below, however.

Things still seem too unreal.

He is not the only one up on deck, however- and he knows the Pearl well enough to walk quietly along the railing until he spots a familiar figure looking out at the far, shadowed horizon.
bringmethatnpc: (the Black Pearl at night)
Night has fallen, and the Black Pearl cuts through the still and glass-like waters of world's end with hardly a sound. There must be a small wind, their forward progress is proof enough of that, but the air feels stagnant and oppressive, weighing them down with the knowledge that they don't belong in this weird and haunted place.

Some of the crew fall silent over their work, or stare ahead as if the way home will suddenly present itself. Others have different ways of dealing with the tension.
bringmethatnpc: (Pintel)
It's really, really... bleeding hot. His throat's parched, has been for days - weeks, seems like - and the energy to actually do anything is decidedly lacking.

Pintel tilts a bottle fatalistically before his eyes, wistfully imagining the swirl of water inside.

"No water," he says plaintively, half to Mister Gibbs, half just to himself. "Why is all but the rum gone?"
bringmethatnpc: (kraken twist)
Even before they set foot on the island, the enormous mass that covers one end of the beach like some malignant tumor is impossible to miss. So is the stench of rotting fish and the cloud of gulls and other birds that feast on the huge-ish piece of carrion. As they step off the boats, the pirates busying themselves with the buckets and skins for water, two men stand apart from the rest, watching the dead beast, knowing it for what it is.

Jack and Barbossa look over at the remains of the Kraken, mulling their thoughts in silence. Then, the Spaniard turns his head to regard Jack with a certain curiosity, just as Sparrow starts to walk along the beach towards the immense carcass. Pintel and Ragetti, maybe no more bewildered but less circumspect about it, follow in their wake.
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
It's a long, unpleasant fall from the edge of the world into Davy Jones' Locker, there's no question at all of that.

And it's a truly ragtag group that eventually finds its way one by one up onto the beach. Still, despite the fact that they're all half-drowned and bedraggled, they're doing better by far than their ship.

That unfortunate vessel's washing up on the beach as well-- in pieces.
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
The sun beats mercilessly down on the bone-white desert below, as well as on the black ship with black sails that lies beached in the middle of it.

There are no clouds; no water, no wind. No movement.

(Nothing lives here.)


No sound--

sniff


A single peanut lies on a plate balanced on the ship's rail. Rings flash in the cruel bleached light as brown fingers nimbly tuck a clean scrap of cloth into the wearer's collar. Jack Sparrow carefully stabs the peanut with a fork, then glances around warily before lifting it to his mouth.

BANG!


Startled, Jack topples over backwards, still trying desperately to taste the single morsel of food.

As Jack falls to the deck, Captain Jack Sparrow blows the smoke from his pistol and shoves it back into his belt, grinning with feral triumph as he stalks over.

"My peanut."

Having claimed his own, he turns and snaps an order to

(There's no one here.)


his crew, watching critically as (no one) Jack hurries to swab the deck, while (nobody) Jack scrambles aloft into the rigging and (nothing) Jack lies bleeding to death upon the deck.

"...help."

(No one's there. No one else speaks. He's alone.)



(Then again-- Jack Sparrow's never alone. Not any more.)
bringmethatnpc: (The Black Pearl)
The Black Pearl sails on through the endless seas of the Locker, its main deck a regular bustle of crew labouring under the command of two captains, both determined to stake their claim on the vessel.

The crew themselves are active and enthusiastic, spurned by the thrill of rescue and the need to learn a ship few of them have sailed on before. It's only below decks, in the hold, that any peace can be found, away from the ready ears of pirates.
bringmethatnpc: (shipwreck isle)
Jailed, again.

She sits in murky light, in a cell that smells of mold and rats and old seawater, and runs her fingertip around and around the details of her locket. There's a click when she slips a nail into the opening, and a slight whirring, and then her cell is filled with the plaintive plucking of a lullaby--an old song with no words but many memories.

She lets the little melody play, on and on, lilting delicately through her jail, while her eyes follow the track of the cogs and wheels inside.

It's company, of a sort.
bringmethatnpc: (Jack's Hat)
The ragged sail still manages to snap briskly in the wind, and leaky or not, the dinghy isn't taking on water fast enough for it to be an issue.

Humming softly to himself, Jack leans against the stern and pulls out the stolen map. He spreads it flat on the seat in front of him and carefully turns the middle ring, looking down at the new words and shapes formed by sinuous lines and curves.

(Agua de Vida)

The corners of his lips turn up in a smile. Jack pulls out his compass and checks it-- then takes a drink of rum and checks a second time.

As the needle settles and points the new heading, he pulls a line, tacking with the wind, then settles back comfortably.


It's been a long while since he's been this uncomplicatedly content.

Happy, even.
bringmethatnpc: (shipwreck isle)
Shipwreck Cove may have a fairly unoriginal name, but it certainly lives up to its description. One might be able to read a history of piracy in the Atlantic Ocean in the jumble of wrecks that have been lashed together to form the halls of the Brethren Court -- Spanish and Dutch and Portuguese and French and English ships, and some ships that defy a single national identification, all stacked like a tottering woodpile's worth of kindling into a makeshift fortress. Anything of value from these wrecks has long since been salvaged and hauled away, but the fortress is a testament to the dangers faced by those who sail the seas.

It is also a reminder of why, once upon a time, nine pirate lords made a reckless and some might say foolhardy decision to attempt to bind the seas to their will.

Whether they agree or disagree with that choice made so long ago, those of the current Brethren Court have not forgotten it. They have heard the call, they have been summoned -- some, in this case, from beyond the grave and from beyond the world's end.

Something must be done.

(It remains to be seen whether they will actually agree on what that something will be.)



Barbossa surveys the gathering of pirates with a mix of scorn and a hint of pride. Yes, they are a bunch of stubborn, murderous, selfish bastards, but that makes them his exact kind of people. And they have held sway over the seas for decades despite their differences. As usual, he seems to be the designated spokesman because, let's face it, who could be better than him for making speeches?

"I convene this, the fourth Brethren Court."

Even though Sao Feng hasn't showed up yet, Barbossa knows that the sooner they start, the lesser the chance of the meeting degenerating into pointless bickering, as things are wont to do among pirates.

"To confirm your lordship and right to be heard, present now your Pieces of Eight, my fellow captains."

It's a good thing that the rest of the Pirate Lords hate the chore of organizing these meetings, isn't it? It allows Barbossa to have one of his own men collect the Pieces of Eight. He watches as Ragetti passes around the long, wax-encrusted table, the voices of Pintel and Gibbs hovering at the edge of his hearing. Finally, the wooden-eyed pirate is back at the head of the table and he can retrieve his own Piece of Eight, which is kind of a relief to both himself and Ragetti, no doubt.

He turns towards Jack as Villanueva points him out, and though Sparrow steers the conversation away from his own Piece of Eight, Barbossa notices him fiddling with the small coin at the end of one of his braids.



It is one thing to read about such things. Another, to be there in person.

The latter far outweighs the former. Wellard is avidly listening, and carefully watching, taking in any and all details of Shipwreck Cove and the town built of the hulks of sailing vessels--

And of the crowd of people gathered around the table at the meeting-- the Fourth meeting of the Brethren Court, as Barbossa decrees, calling everyone to attention. The pieces of eight are collected-

Wellard smiles wryly at Gibbs' explanation to Pintel. The random objects also had the benefit of being overlooked by others- specially others who would be more interested in taking any and all pieces of money, rather than whatever people happened to have in their pockets at the time. Hiding in plain sight, as it were.

... Even more so when hiding as someone's eye. He winces, at that.



As the room fills with people, it's soon also filled with the angry snarls of temper and bickering, until Barbossa attempts to impose some sort of order on the gathering by banging a piece of shot on the table.

Aye, you old scoundrel, you always did like being the one in charge, didn't you? 'Course, if I'd realized that before 's likely I'd not have had the entirely too memorable and decidedly unpleasant experience of watching you sail away with me Pearl. Twice.

Jack himself is preoccupied with examining the sword-stabbed globe, each blade plunged through water into the earth below as a sign of each pirate lord’s rule over the seas they sail. He listens with only half an ear as the roll is called and the pieces of eight are collected, until--

"Sparrow!"

He turns away from the globe to face the Court and grins at the assembly.

But now let's see just how sharp you really are, mate.

For all the beaded braids he wears, and all the trinkets threaded through his hair, there's one in particular that's much more than it seems-- and that's the one Jack touches now, toying with the coin fastened there. Just a touch, almost as if in mocking salute, and then he spreads his hands wide as he argues,

"Might I point out that we are still short one pirate lord? And for my part I have to say that I'm content as a cucumber to wait until Sao Feng joins us."

"Sao Feng is dead!"

He's not the only one to whirl around at this. Elizabeth Swann stands at the door, surrounded by the crew of the Empress.

"He fell to the Flying Dutchman!"

As the room erupts in dismay and dissent, she strides in and stabs her own blade into the globe, and Jack's jaw drops open in shock.

"He made you captain? We’re just giving the bloody title away now!"



It's an impressive and diverse array of people. Or at least, Nymphadora thinks most of them are people: two or three look like they might actually be warlocks or hags, but she doesn't plan on investigating that suspicion any further.

Instead she stands just behind Elizabeth, hand on her wand, and listens. She's no pirate, at the end of the day, so all she can do is a) act like she knows what she's doing, and b) look as scary as possible. Her swollen midsection doesn't exactly help with this, so 'Dora takes a few liberties with her face and makes her already-sharp features just a little more hawk-like. Can't hurt.



She'll only have one chance.

One chance to be heard. One chance to make them understand the danger they face. One chance to ensure that they never look upon her as a useless little girl playing dress-up in clothes provided by a dead man.

The odds that they'll listen aren't terribly high, but a captain doesn't shrink from a challenge.

That in mind, Elizabeth stands in the shadows and studies the Brethren Court, awaiting the opportune moment. She finds, not for the first time, that the tales she once treasured never had the details quite right. Yet she can't deny the thrill of being here, about to take another step away from her former life to join their ranks, and her heart skips a beat when she realizes Jack has just presented her with the perfect opportunity to announce her presence.

"Sao Feng is dead!" she calls out in a clear, self-assured voice. Flanked by Tai Huang and other members of her crew, she steps into the light cast by hundreds of dripping candles. "He fell to the Flying Dutchman.”

The room erupts in chaos at the news. Aware that if she loses them now, she might as well sail out to meet Beckett alone, Elizabeth strides forward and unerringly plunges her sword into the only empty slot on the globe: the South China Seas. Jack makes a quip about her new title, but she ignores him and approaches the table with as much confidence as she can muster, determined not to offer the Court any reason to suspect her of weakness.

“Listen. Listen to me!" she demands, and the noise starts to subside. Elizabeth doesn't celebrate prematurely, however. She knows it's only a temporary advantage. "Our location has been betrayed. Jones is under the command of Lord Beckett. They're on their way here."

"Who is this betrayer?” one man asks -- not, to Elizabeth's mind, focusing on the most salient detail.

Barbossa growls, "Not likely anyone among us."

Now that she can see the pirates on both sides of the table, Elizabeth feels her heart twist when she realizes who is conspicuously absent. "Where's Will?"

"Not among us," Jack is quick to say, and she isn't quite sure what she thinks about that.

"And it matters not how they found us," Barbossa continues. "The question is what will we do now that they have?”

Finally.

"We fight!" Elizabeth bursts out, fiercely determined, for this is the proposal she had planned to put before the Court, albeit with more style.



Le Capitaine Jean-Sebastien Marcel Chevalle can only walk amongst the pirates of the Brethren Court with the poise his position demands.

With an eye falling on his...fellows, in turn, he seems to be the only one caring enough to do so. Barbossa even seems to be giving the event more solemnity than the rest of the people gathered.

Not that anyone can expect much from that vache espagnole maudite Villanueva to begin with.

And then, in a whole other category of incredulity, this new...capitaine, all blonde and presumption, declares that they should fight the Trading Company.

Le Capitaine Chevalle laughs, loudly and broadly, and the other pirate lords join in.

It's the only moment of solidarity the Frenchman expects.



The arrival of miss Swann and her news of Sao Feng's death cause a great deal of turmoil among the Court, but Barbossa is far less surprised than Jack or the others at Sao Feng's decision. After all, what greater honour for a dying man than having a goddess be his successor? The outrage slowly turns into fear as she reports the betrayal of their location and the Dutchman's approach. To Barbossa, that's good. He can use the Brethren's fear to his advantage. He doesn't react when Jack all but cracks a joke about Turner's treason. It doesn't surprise him in the least, after what the whelp has done already. A man so obsessed with one goal is always dangerous, but when such a man believes himself to be morally above those he betrays, as is the case, he will stop at nothing. Neither does he join in the general laughter at "Captain" Swann's suggestion that they fight. Desperate and ill-conceived as it is, he would rather die out on the open seas than cower and wait for the East India Company to come smoke him out of this so-called "fortress". Now is the time to expose his plan to the Brethren. Now that they doubt, and fear, and have to choose between an unwinnable fight and a less-than-enjoyable and potentially fatal siege.

"There is a third course."

He smirks faintly as the Lords' gazes turn towards him. Ah, the ability to command attention with but a few well-placed words. He starts to pace around the table as he speaks up.

"In another age at this very spot, the first Brethren Court captured the Sea Goddess and bound her in her bones."

He waits for the Pirate Lords to bask a little in their smug satisfaction at that very smart move of theirs, and then shakes his head.

"That was a mistake. Oh, we tamed the seas for ourselves, aye, but opened the door to Beckett and his ilk!"

The hatred that slips through in his tone and his face isn't feigned at all. The arrogance of the man, trying to master the whole of the seas for himself. Barbossa has a pirate's honest hatred for men of the law, men like Norrington or Governor Swann. But for those who hide behind the façade of the law a heart more black and a soul more rapacious than any pirate's he holds a deep, burning hate which goes hand in hand with contempt, each heightening the other.

"Better were the days when mastery of seas came not from bargains struck with eldritch creatures, but from the sweat of a man's brow and the strength of his back alone. Y'all know this to be true!"

Yes, magic can seem to make things easier, effortless, but there's always a price to pay. Magic owes no loyalty, bows to no Code, it serves any man what happens to know the right... Leverage, and will gladly turn upon its former masters. And in their complacency, the Brethren have been taken by surprise by one such man.



One by one they laugh at her, and Elizabeth is afraid this is the end: a lost chance to make them see reason. The proud, imposing woman on her left, a pirate lord, insists that Shipwreck Cove is an impenetrable fortress. The others agree. Gripping the edge of the table, Elizabeth silently calls them all ten types of pigheaded, wobbly-legged bilge rats.

Except for Barbossa. He effortlessly commands their attention -- Elizabeth might be jealous if she weren't so intrigued -- and states, "There be a third course. In another age, at this very spot, the first Brethren Court captured the Sea Goddess... and bound her in her bones." His voice has a rhythmic quality to it, like the song itself, and Elizabeth unconsciously leans forward to catch every word. "That was a mistake. Oh, we tamed the seas for ourselves, aye, but opened the door to Beckett and his ilk! Better were the days when mastery of the seas came not from bargains struck with eldritch creatures, but from the sweat of a man's brow and the strength of his back alone. You all know this to be true! Gentlemen! Ladies. We must free Calypso."

(With all nine pieces of eight, you will be free.)

Wide-eyed, Elizabeth is wholly caught up in his speech and the memory of Sao Feng’s last words, and pays little attention to the resulting cry of dissent.

Tai Huang steps forward to declare, "Sao Feng would have agreed with Barbossa,” and she's mildly annoyed that she knows it to be true. Sao Feng’s posthumous opinion sparks further argument, and soon punches are thrown and pistols are fired.

Elizabeth eyes the commotion with growing disbelief. "This is madness!"

“This is politics," Jack tells her.

“Meanwhile our enemies are bearing down upon us," she retorts.

“If they not be here already,” adds Barbossa, ominously.

Elizabeth scowls. Don't they realize their only hope is to stand together?



"Gentlemen... Ladies." And in saying so he leans close to miss Swann, noticing with a certain satisfaction that she doesn't pull back. Good. Maybe Sao Feng's choice wasn't such a bad idea. Maybe the change she had been hinting at for some time has finally come to pass.

"We must free Calypso."

There is something wrong, he notices immediately. The silence is too heavy, the glances too pointed... The tables have turned against him. Quickly, factions are formed, with Sao Feng's lieutenant expressing his dead captain's view, different from the current Lord of Singapore's. Funny, what will "Captain" Swann think of this indiscipline? A moment later, Villanueva and Chevalle have started a fight that soon spreads all around the table, the crews of the Pearl and the Empress the only ones to keep their calm. Yes, this feels so much more like what you would expect from the Brethren Court...

Finally, his patience is spent and he climbs upon the table and fires a shot into the ceiling, bringing the fight to a halt to try and speak some sense into the hard piratical heads. And right then, Jack interferes.



"... and in her gratitude she will see fit to grant us boons."

He's been toying with the iron chain attached to the piece of shot while they argue, a distant, thoughtful look in the black eyes, but at this Jack interrupts.

"Boons? Whose boons? Your boons? Utterly deceptive twaddle-speak, says I."

If there's any single person in the room who knows about twaddle-speak, it's Jack Sparrow. The hall grows absolutely silent for a moment while the pirates take that in until Barbossa breaks the quiet to say, dryly,

"If ye have a better alternative, please share."

"Cuttlefish." Everyone stares blankly at Jack, who looks right back at them.

"Let us not, dear friends, forget our dear friends, the cuttlefish." He starts making his way through the crowd, mincing along the side of the table and addressing each of the pirate lords in turn. "Hang 'em up together, and they'll devour each other without a second thought. Human nature, isn't it?" he asks one gap-toothed and staring man, before moving on without waiting for an answer. "Or, well, fish nature."

By now everyone's listening as Jack talks, gesturing to accent his words. He sets a hand on Mistress Ching's shoulder, ignoring the sudden bristling of her crew as he looks around at them all, and says, pointedly,

"So yes, we could hole up here, all well-provisioned and well-armed, and half of us would be dead within the month." A beat. "Which seems quite grim to me any way you slice it." There's a murmur of agreement at that.

"Or, as my learned ... colleague--" Gold glints from a tooth as he flashes a wicked grin at Barbossa. "--so naively suggests, we can release Calypso. And we can pray that she'll be merciful."

Jack pauses.

"I rather doubt it."

There's not a shred of doubt in the words themselves; in fact, there's an odd certainty, one that rings out through the assembly. They acknowledge this with renewed quiet, leaving Jack free to continue,

"Can we in fact pretend that she is anything other than a woman scorned, like which fury hell hath no? We cannot. Res ipsa loquitur, we are left with but one option."

Jack winces slightly as he concludes, "I agree with-- and I cannot believe the words are coming out of me mouth-- "

He throws out a hand, pointing down the long table, while everyone turns to look.

"--Captain Swann."



Good Jack, old Jack, always good at this, isn't he? Playing to an audience, making the words up as he goes, meandering his way to a point that is, as usual, unexpected. Fighting. Jack Sparrow suggests fighting. Jack Sparrow agreeing with miss Swann. Now this is odd.

Barbossa thinks it over. It -could- have worked. Against other foe, it could. The combined pirate fleets' onslaught would drive almost any enemy back, and though they can't hold a concerted effort for long, it could earn them enough time to retreat and scatter, forcing the enemy to spread their forces. Yes, it could have worked, and the other Pirate Lords seem to see as much. But they don't realize their mistake. They don't see Cutler Beckett's single-mindedness, his unlimited greed. He won't stop pressing the attack. He will come at them with a fleet so monstrous that there will be no chance of forcing them to retreat, with the unsinkable Dutchman at the front, and press on until there isn't one pirate ship left.

So of course, he has to stop this. And he does so by invoking the Code and its keeper. Jack may be very good at working the crowd, but he could never be arsed to keep the rules in mind, could he? Or the "guidelines" as may be the case.



"Sri Sumbhajee proclaims this all to be folly! Hang the Code! Who cares about—"

BANG.

The silence in the wake of the shot is instant, and everyone turns away from the crumpled corpse to face the man who shot him.

(Everyone, that is, except Jack Sparrow, who all of a sudden looks decidedly ill.)

Captain Teague steps forth to the edge of the raised deck outside his personal chamber and casually blows the smoke from the barrel of his pistol as he surveys the assembly. In a deep, resonant rumble, he proclaims,

"The Code is the law."

No one looks inclined to argue. Slowly, the pirates resume their places while Teague descends. He approaches the table, walking up behind Jack, who for some reason is now looking sicker than ever.

"You’re in my way, boy."

Jack moves with alacrity to stand at his side, and Teague almost smiles.

Almost.

Good lad, Jackie.



The massive volume of the Pirate Code – as set forth by Morgan and Bartholemew — has been brought forth and unlocked, and the great pages duly examined—first by Teague, and now by Jack Sparrow, while Gibbs explains in an aside to Wellard and the others exactly why this poses a difficulty to Jack's plan.

"See, the Pirate King is elected by popular vote," Gibbs says. "And--"

"--and each pirate only ever votes for himself," Barbossa finishes, with satisfaction.

Jack finishes reading the page and looks up at the room.

"I call for a vote!"

He's not to be swayed from it, either, even though the assembly argues stridently with him while Teague wanders over to a chair and begins to pick out a tune on his guitar. Jack remains insistent on a vote, and finally the pirate lords heave a sigh and begin to cast their lots, one by one.

"Ammand, the corsair!"

"Capitaine Chevalle, the pitiless Frenchman!"

"Sri Sumbhajee votes for Sri Sumbhajee."

"Mistress Ching!"

"Gentleman Jocard!"

Elizabeth shrugs. "Elizabeth Swann."

"Barbossa."

"Villanueva."

And then the order of the vote is back to the one who called it. Jack grins.

"Elizabeth Swann."



The Pirate Lords all vote- and as Gibbs and Barbossa had mentioned, each and every one of them voted for him (or her) self. It is almost a roll call of infamous names from stories and legends- all up until Jack votes for Elizabeth.

...Elizabeth?

Any comment Wellard has to make on the subject is lost to the general uproar. It still takes several moments- while everyone else is still shouting, to realize exactly what Jack just did here. He did not vote so much for Elizabeth, as he voted for someone who also wanted to fight against the East India Company. Wellard is already thinking over this before silence descends upon the court with the threat of Teague and the Code.

Hopefully, Jack knows what he is doing.



Nymphadora's eyes momentarily widen, and then she schools her expression into one of deep smugness. Yeah, that's right, her face seems to say. My captain's the Pirate King. Wanna make somethin of it?

Not, it should be clarified, that 'Dora hopes anyone does.





Mistress Ching may be failing in her sight, but all of her other faculties are as sharp as ever was. Even though she cannot truly see the face of the little slattern who has taken Sao Feng's place at this Court, the girl's voice and temperament mark her as a barbarian and an outsider -- and not nearly as much of a threat as she would like to pretend she is.

In casting his vote for this sei gweipor who calls herself "Captain Swann", Jack Sparrow has proved that his wits are as cracked as ever and that being dragged back from the dead was clearly more trouble than he was worth. But the Pirate Lord of the Pacific Ocean is not such a fool as to think to go against the Code, and so Mistress Ching will abide by the decision.

Perhaps, she considers, it may even work in her favor. Sao Feng had been an worthy adversary in the South China Sea, even if he did not stand up to the East India Company as he should have done to drive the filthy barbarian scum out of their waters for good and all. Now that he is dead, and a new and entirely inexperienced captain has taken his place....

Well. It may be worthwhile to keep Captain Swann alive for now.

It will make things so much easier later on.



"Very well. What say you, Captain Swann, King of the Brethren Court?" Mistress Ching asks, watching Elizabeth expectantly.

Everyone is watching her expectantly. She can feel their eyes boring into her: the other pirate lords and select members of their crews. Even Captain Teague has stopped picking at his guitar. They watch and wait for her decision; wait to see if she'll flounder or hold her head high under the weight of this new authority.

Nothing had gone as planned. Tai Huang had reluctantly warned her to expect the unexpected at a gathering such as this; while Elizabeth, having some experience with pirates, understood and appreciated the advice, she’d still believed she could convince them of the wisdom in standing united against a common enemy. Strangely, Jack had agreed with her. She hadn't counted on his support, and as she watched him start to sway the Court with his peculiar logic -- fight to run away, indeed; sometimes Jack's cleverness has nothing to do with luck -- Elizabeth had felt a rush of fondness and wondered if he might be ready to forgive her. She dismissed the thought a moment later, deciding she'd be willing to bet her new ship that Jack was up to something, and her plan temporarily aligned with his.

Barbossa, perhaps sensing that his poorly received idea to release Calypso was losing any chance of success, had reminded the strange assembly that an act of war could only be declared by the Pirate King. Elizabeth is tempted to smile as she recalls his face. Familiar as he is with the Code and the traditional problem of a popular vote among pirates, he must've thought he had Jack well and truly keel-hauled. But he'd underestimated Jack. So had Elizabeth.

The Code: Elizabeth had been filled with awe at the sight of the dusty, waist high book. Set forth by Morgan and Bartholomew, this was the source of legends and much speculation, and she wasn't alone in her reverence. Captain Teague -- who bore an unsettling resemblance to Captain Sparrow -- practically demanded it. Jack, keenly avoiding the Keeper of the Code, had announced that Barbossa was right. The lack of concern in his voice should have warned them. When a vote was called and each pirate lord spoke his or her own name, Jack did not. Jack voted for Elizabeth.

And no one had been more surprised than Elizabeth.

A newly made Captain, she came here to convince the pirates to fight together. Now she's the Pirate King -- undisputed, if only because no one present wishes to suffer the consequences of not keeping to the Code -- and must name the course of action for the entire Brethren Court. Elizabeth straightens, thinking it's not just her title that's changed; she has as well, and she rather likes the result.

"Prepare every vessel that floats," she commands. "At dawn, we’re at war."

Elizabeth glances at Jack. He nods, approval in his eyes, and she thinks that they might survive this yet.



There is a certain feeling of kinship from Barbossa towards Teague. They are both old men, both have to thank for much of their survival the aura of fear they keep and their deep, constant search for knowledge. And both of them like spectacular entrances. The Pirata Codex is brought forth, and the right entry found. Barbossa is right, Teague declares, and the Spaniard bows graciously to him. Only the King can declare war, and everyone knows just how unlikely an election that would be. The Brethren will have to agree to Barbossa's plan, out of a lack of other option. In fact, miss Swann and Jack may have actually helped, by showing just how moot the other possibilities are.

Still, Jack calls for a vote. Always playing your charade to the end, eh, Jack...? Too caught up in his own scheming, Barbossa doesn't notice Jack's smug little grin until it's too late. Two votes for Elizabeth Swann, and Barbossa knows better than to protest. Teague wouldn't bear with it, and besides, you don't mess with the Code when it's the only thing keeping a minimum of civilized entendre to this meeting.

Instead he waits while Mistress Ching addresses the new King of the Brethren Court, knowing fully what her answer is going to be, and in the ensuing confusion as the Court cheers for the same war they laughed about not too long ago, he gives Ragetti and Pintel a signal and they make off with all seven of the collected Pieces of Eight as the Court dissolves, the Pirate Lords heading back to their ships to prepare for the incoming battle.

It always pays to have a backup or three in place. Going into any situation with just one plan is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
bringmethatnpc: ([Singapore] Temple)
Hot and hazy, night settles over Singapore with an ominous quiet, wreathing the docks and narrow waterways in shadows. Not many people are about, and in the absence of voices, the sound of a sharp cleaver making short work of a fish echoes dully around the creaking wooden boards of bridges and buildings. Below, the soft swish of water against pylons and stilts is ever present.

There's a sense of uneasy anticipation, as if the city herself knows that tonight, the war for the seas is coming to Singapore.
bringmethatnpc: (cannibal island)
The sandbar upon which this parlay is being held is well-marked on the Company's maps. A ship full of cargo would run a serious risk of being grounded when the tide is at its ebb -- not necessarily hulled below her waterline or even truly damaged, but nonetheless stuck until the seas rise again and a good breeze comes up to turn her sails away from this spit of sand. Even experienced navigators would agree that it is a stretch of water best avoided, if at all possible.

When Lord Beckett gave the order to sail directly for the sandbar -- well, after all this time, one more piece of madness makes little difference to the lieutenants in charge of setting the course and signalling to the rest of the fleet.

They merely do as they are told, because it is ever so much simpler that way.

If one or two of them happen to wonder at the fact that the sandbar is somehow completely uncovered by water, even now when the tide should still be high enough to submerge it to a depth of at least two fathoms...again, it is one more piece of madness to be duly noted and then quietly set aside in a place where can be easily ignored.

Even well-marked maps can be incorrect, sometimes.




Aboard the Black Pearl, there'd been a brief scuffle amongst the pirates over who would get to use one of their very limited supply of spyglasses. (No one wants to miss out on what's happening on that sandbar.) One of the victors is Marty -- mostly because he'd all but bitten the fingers off his nearest rival, one of Sao Feng's former crew -- and he's taken his prize up to the crow's nest to get the best view of everything that's taking place a short distance away.

Captain Barbossa, Captain Swann (it still seems odd to think of her like that, but if she's really Pirate King he supposes he'd better get used to it), and Captain Sparrow are walking across the sand, on their way to face their enemies.

Turner, the traitorous bastard with his smug little smile.

Cutler Beckett, who for some reason is tarted up in brocade and gold lace like a fop on his way to pick up a whore at the opera.

And the hideous spectacle of Davy Jones, who --

-- and Marty frowns.

He lowers the spyglass, wipes off the lens with the ragged edge of his waistcoat, and raises it again.

Clearly, it isn't the spyglass. And his eyes probably aren't playing tricks on him. But it's still a baffling sight.

Davy Jones, the cursed and feared commander of the eternally damned Flying Dutchman, appears to be standing in a bucket of water.




There were many many ways Will planned his reunion with Elizabeth. Standing on the end of a tidal sandspit, at the left hand of Cutler Beckett - that didn't feature very high up the list. He'd probably feel a lot more confident if he hadn't just been doing all the physical work in rowing over here and hauling a pail of seawater up on to the sand.

But for once, Will does feel - well, almost confident. He's maneuvered things well, he feels. Beckett and Jones have agreed to his terms; his father will soon be free, Elizabeth will be saved from her death sentence, and he can finally marry her.

Assuming she survived Sao Feng. And it's to worry about her that Will ascribes the gnawing feeling in his stomach, and the heavy thump of his heart. Everything will be all right, he tells himself, once Elizabeth and my father are safe.

The figures approaching take shape, and he sees who stands in the middle, flanked by the others, and Will realises he actually has no idea what's going on.




Although the long and thin sandbar is agreed-upon neutral territory, Elizabeth, Barbossa and Jack purposely leave their longboat at the far end; trust is always in short supply among pirates. As they begin the lengthy walk toward the three figures awaiting them, Elizabeth can't help wondering why one -- or both -- of the fleets doesn't blast this strip of blindingly white sand out of existence. Each of the six people present has some sort of bone to pick with the other five, but so many others stand to lose their lives this day.

And she put them in this position. While she remains certain of her choice, her conversation with Jack weighs heavily on her mind. Beside her, face inscrutable, he walks through the soft, thick sand like he's out for a Sunday stroll, and Elizabeth considers that this parley might be the very reason Jack made her king.

The first time Elizabeth demanded her right to parley, she was in her nightdress and found herself outwitted by the pirate now on her right, keeping pace as they stride toward their opposition. She’d loathed and feared Captain Barbossa that night -- as evidenced by the embarrassing number of screams she'd let out at the first touch of moonlight. He'd also fascinated her, and that, along with her love of adventure and freedom, hasn't changed. After their incredible journey and his impassioned speech before the Brethren Court, Elizabeth begrudgingly allows that she’s glad to have Barbossa on her side, even if it's merely a temporary circumstance.

No, there's no doubt that the men flanking her have their own agendas. But so does Elizabeth.

Davy Jones is of little interest to her, beyond a cursory study of his horrible visage and writhing beard; she hadn't gotten a good look aboard the Empress. He's more monster than man -- a male Medusa, leaving death in his wake -- and controlled as he is by the shorter monster at his side, Elizabeth is curious why he's been invited to attend their little party. If he's meant to terrify them into submission, Beckett would have done better to leave him aboard his legendary ship; it's hard to be frightened by someone standing in a bucket.

Her eyes narrow as she draws close enough to observe the perpetually smug expression on Beckett's face. Here is the man responsible for her father's murder. He would never get his own hands bloody, of course, but Elizabeth's fury is such that he might as well have delivered the death blow himself. She wonders what made him this way, what slight in his youth built his need for dominance until he festered into this dangerous, vile man. All that matters is defeating him once and for all.

Well, almost all. Gaze flickering to Will, Elizabeth drinks in the sight of him and feels her breath catch. She'd known him at once, before they were even out of the boat, but she'd been careful not to stare until she could see his eyes and evaluate where they stand. Now she can't look away. Her first thought is that he looks magnificent: the wine color of his shirt suits him, and there's a new confidence in his bearing. A closer examination of his expression doesn't tell her as much she wants, and Elizabeth finds it surprisingly attractive, like he's a code she has to crack. They've both changed so much, and again she feels a swell of pride at what he's become.

But he did betray her. The anger and hurt stab Elizabeth anew. What game is Will playing, and why is he standing beside Beckett? These are just some of the questions that will soon be answered, Elizabeth silently swears. Tearing her eyes away from Will, she glares at Beckett and crosses the remaining stretch of sand like she owns it, and he's trespassing -- in short, like a pirate king.




It takes some effort for the limping Barbossa to keep up with Jack and miss Swann's pace along the inexplicably dry, loose sand. But damned if he's going to hang back, or ask them to slow down like some old man. Well, some -common- old man if you wish to be nitpicky.

Actually, he has to hold himself back from taking the lead. He wants to get through with this... pantomime as soon as possible. With seven of the Nine Pieces of Eight smuggled out of the Brethren Court and the remaining two aboard the Pearl his plan is very near completion, but the impatient boiling of his blood doesn't transpire. Not yet.

As they reach the end of the sandbar, his eyes come to rest upon the three figures waiting for them.

Davy Jones he doesn't hold any feelings towards. He did what any good pirate would do once the burden of his "duty" grew too heavy: Shake it off and keep on moving, leaving the shackles behind, even at the cost of his own humanity. They are enemies because of Jones's weakness and his choice to be against every living soul that sails the seas, but nothing more.

Then there's Beckett. Even in his mind, he refuses to call him 'Lord'. Shortest of the three, even though he's standing straight, almost as if to attention, the arrogant little man. Parlay. Didn't he want to be sure no harm is going to befall the two remaining Pieces of Eight he wouldn't even have been here. He may be an unprincipled, sneaky and mutinous bastard, but there are men he wouldn't stoop to dealing with.

And then his eyes fall upon Turner. Ah, a good target to vent some steam under the cover of righteous indignation.

"You be the cur who lead these wolves to our door."




The bitterness in Barbossa's voice as he snarls at Will is a little surprising, and Jack flicks him a curious glance, but it's only a moment before the man who styles himself 'Lord' interrupts.

"Don't blame Turner," Beckett says, as smooth as China silk. "He was merely the tool of your betrayal. If you wish to see its grand architect, look to your left."

Ah, but it’s all about betrayal, now isn't it?

Jack smiles winningly back at them and spreads his hands as he protests, "My hands are clean in all this." A beat. "Figuratively."




As the three pirates - and yes, all three of them are pirates, even Elizabeth - come to a halt in front of Will and his companions, he inhales and rests his hand on his sword, for reassurance and a re-surge of that confidence. He's relieved when Barbossa speaks first. It gives him something to focus on that isn't staring at her, and wondering why she's dressed like a Singaporean.

"You be the cur that led these wolves to our door?"

"Don't blame Turner. He was merely the tool of your betrayal," Beckett says promptly and, Will feels, a little unfairly. After all, it was his - Will's - plan to lead the East India Company this way. He worked out how, and he designed events so that he would be assured the safety of the two people who mattered - and himself. He's rather put out when Beckett hands the credit to Jack. Luckily - and predictably - Jack denies it.

"My actions were my own and to my own purpose. Jack had nothing to do with it."

"Will, I've been aboard the Dutchman," Elizabeth says, and now he can look her in the eye, because it's still her, and with that tone, he can still believe that she cares for him. "I understand the burden you bear but I fear that course is lost."

"No course is lost," Will assures her, "if there is but one fool left to fight for it."

He permits himself a glance at Jack, and is bolstered by the small possibly even proud smile he sees on the Captain's face. Maybe they can come out of this victorious.




It's already been implied that Will is responsible for betraying their location, so Elizabeth isn't surprised when Barbossa opens the proceedings by laying the blame at his feet. Beckett, reeking with self-importance, credits Jack, who quickly denies the treachery. Elizabeth eyes him, knowing full well that Jack's denials are often as good as an admission of guilt, but then Will agrees.

"My actions were my own and to my own purpose. Jack had nothing to do with it."

There's only one purpose he could mean: Bootstrap. Will came on this journey and helped rescue the Pearl in order to save his father, and he's never made any secret of that fact; of his methods, yes, but Elizabeth has always known his ultimate goal. Swallowing her lingering resentment, she remembers the state Bootstrap had been in and nearly gasps as a cold fist squeezes her heart. It's too late. He can't be saved. And if Will tries, they all might lose.

"Will, I've been aboard the Dutchman." Elizabeth keeps her voice slow and steady, willing him to understand. "I understand the burden you bear but I fear that course is lost."

Don’t base your choices on a prize you can't win, she pleads silently.

"No course is lost," Will replies, gaze direct. It's clear he's trying to tell her something. "If there is but one fool left to fight for it."

His eyes shift to Jack in a meaningful glance. Is Jack the fool in question? Certain that she's missing a crucial detail, Elizabeth lets her mind race as Beckett seeks to prove Jack guilty by presenting them with the infamous compass. He does so with as much satisfaction as he once delivered her warrant, but Elizabeth has no trouble ignoring the urge to slap the smirk from his face. Something is going on, and she's determined to catch up. It might be the advantage they need.




At Beckett's reply, he looks to the left, towards Jack. But of course, No treason too big to save your own hide, ah, mate...?

His eyes narrow as Turner claims the blame, but he doesn't completely believe the boy. He might have been under the impression that he was the one leading this treacherous plot along, but Barbossa holds no doubt about who the greater deceiver is between those two, even in the face of Turner's recent exploits in the field of double-dealing.

Then there's something. A glance exchanged between Turner and Jack, a smile from Sparrow back to the whelp. Could it be...? Of course. They -are- together in this. Turner wants his father free from the Dutchman, but the current captain would never release one of his men. And Jack... Jack is after the Heart.

Beckett's voice is like poison trickling slowly in his ear. The compass, of course; that's how they found Shipwreck Cove. But it doesn't surprise him anymore. This far, he's ready to believe any low from Jack. So desperate is he, to sacrifice freedom in exchange for eternal life? Well, Barbossa has had a taste of it and he could tell Jack a thing or two about what en eternity bound by the chains of magic feels like. With contempt etched in every line of his face, he turns to Jack once more. And people still wonder why, why the hatred and the spite. If only he didn't need him to release Calypso...




"You made a deal with me, Jack. To deliver the pirates. And here they are." In a move calculated to be condescending, Beckett tosses the compass to Jack, who catches it deftly. Think you’ve got everything you want, do you, mate? "Don't be bashful. Step up, claim your reward."

Jack starts to answer, but when Jones breaks in, Beckett is forgotten.

"Your debt to me is still to be satisfied. One hundred years in servitude aboard the Dutchman-- as a start."

He'd known it was coming; it had to happen, really, and yet Jack finds it doesn't matter. Every muscle in his body has tightened in reaction. "That debt was paid, mate--"

I won't be any man's slave, Jones. And you'll never take me back to your Locker.

"--with some help," Jack adds, almost as an afterthought.

Jones snorts at him. "You escaped."

Jack grins. Wickedly.

Something for both of us to remember.




"Your debt to me is still to be satisfied," Jones growls. "One hundred years in servitude aboard the Dutchman. As a start."

(If Jones be slain, then he who slays him must take his place. Captain. Forever.)

Elizabeth's eyes widen and she looks at Will with sudden comprehension. They do have a plan. A good plan. If Jack is on the Dutchman, he can kill Davy Jones and free Bootstrap without any risk to Will -- and not because he's suddenly feeling altruistic, either. By doing so, Jack would secure the one treasure he wants above all others: an assurance that he would never die again.

"That debt was paid, mate. With some help." Jack gestures to Elizabeth; she barely notices.

Immortality.

Watching her as if he can read her mind or direct her thoughts with enough effort, Will nods faintly and gives her the smallest of smiles. It's all Elizabeth needs. Interrupting Jack's talk of technicalities, she bursts out, "I propose an exchange. Will leaves with us. And you can take Jack."

"Done!" says Will.

"Not done!" Jack quickly counters.

Elizabeth can feel Barbossa's furious glare. "Jack's one of the nine pirate lords. You have no right."

She does, actually, and takes great pleasure in reminding him: "King!”




It's hardly surprising when Jones brings up the debt he still feels Jack owes him, and as Elizabeth tries to follow exactly what each side is saying, Will keeps his gaze steadily on her. She knows him, she knows Jack. He can only hope she comes to the same conclusion he already has.

Take me, he wills her silently. Jack can get out of anything. He'll be more use fighting Jones. You need me at your side, Elizabeth. Propose an...

"I propose an exchange," Elizabeth says suddenly. "Will leaves with us. And you can take Jack."

"Done," Will says promptly. And when Jack immediately protests, Will hopes that he's acting. He's getting rather tired of playing the traitor.

Barbossa objects to the arrangement as much as Jack. Will's not exactly sure why, but one word sticks out amongst everything else he doesn't quite follow. Why Elizabeth is in the middle, why she suddenly has this air of authority that just adds to the many reasons Will adores her, and why she ultimately gets her way.

She looks Barbossa right in the eye, and with the tone of someone who knows this is all the argument she needs, she pronounces herself "King."




His gaze still falls upon Jack while he argues back and forth with Jones, still trying to bargain, to lie and fast-talk his way out of trouble, even before the merciless, unstoppable captain of the Dutchman. And then, the damned -girl- speaks up and suddenly Barbossa's plan is in danger of capsizing.

"I propose an exchange. Will leaves with us, and you can take Jack."

He turns to her, cold rage rising inside him. No. Not this close. He's had enough of bloody amateurs turning the tables on him at the last moment.

"Jack is one of the nine Pirate Lords. You have no right."

And then she has the nerve to pull her rank on him.

"King."

King. King of the Pirates. As if the title meant anything in the face of what's looming over them. But now Jack sees his chance to get closer to the Heart and his own goal, and smiles, bowing and taking his hat off, and Barbossa's mind finds a tiny opening for his own plan to get back on track. Drawing his sword, he slashes across Jack's forehead, sending the metal token and the braid it's attached to flying into the sand.

"Blaggard!"

The indignant insult is flawless. It helps that he is, actually, quite full of hatred for his former captain at the moment. Luckily, Jack the monkey hasn't forgotten how he was trained to retrieve magical baubles for his master, and before Jack the man can react, Barbossa has stepped up to him, eyes narrowed to mere slits and the corners of his lips curled into a smile that is sweet as poisoned honey.

"You got something to say, I might be saying something as well."

It's a challenge, from one plotter to another. You go on with your plan and I'll go on with mine. Neither needs to impede the other, and for once, we could both succeed and go on our separate ways... Once and for all. And Jack seems to understand.

"First to the finish, then...?"

Either he has not noticed, or maybe doesn't care anymore, that this unspoken deal between the two of them means that Barbossa will get to keep the Pearl, which is all right with the Spaniard.

Then the exchange is made, Turner greeted with another cold, contemptuous look from Barbossa. Beneficial as Jack's distraction aboard the Dutchman may be, the boy is still a traitor, tried and true. Or untrue.

The rest of the so-called parlay is a mere exchange of empty threats between the heads of both fleets, and then, at last, they turn to leave and Jack-the-monkey can climb back to his shoulder and hand him the Piece of Eight without arousing more suspicion.




As the sword flashes through the air towards his head, Jack has only a second to hope that Barbossa's as deft with a blade as he remembers him being.

And then it's done, and the pestiferous little beast of a monkey is scampering to its master with the coin-- the last Piece of Eight-- clutched in its grasping fist. Barbossa glares at Jack.

"If ye have somethin' to say, I might be sayin' something as well."

There's an odd light in the black eyes as Jack offers him a small, fey smile.

"First to the finish, then?"

It's both more and less of a wrench to his soul than he'd thought it would be as Jack Sparrow walks across the sand to trade places with Will Turner, leaving the Black Pearl behind in the Spaniard's hands.

He'd traded his life before in payment to raise her from her own death, then bargained for her a second time to bring her to Milliways. Together they'd returned from the Locker. They're square.

Take good care of her, mate.

Beckett steps to the side, making it clear who's the prisoner here as he makes room for Jack between himself and Jones-- who leans in to ask, tauntingly,

"Do you fear death?"

Jack looks toward the others-- and beyond them, toward the unstinting, endless blue where sea meets sky.

(bring me that horizon)

"You've no idea."




Elizabeth says nothing more, watching events play out until Will is at her side and Jack is next to Davy Jones. Casting a tentative glance at Will, she feels a surge of hope. They accomplished something together. It lends her strength, and her eyes are cold when she faces Beckett once more.

"Advise your Brethren." Full of disdain, he steps forward to address them. "You can fight and all of you will die. Or you can not fight, in which case only most of you will die.”

Elizabeth matches his step with one of her own, and her fingers itch to draw her sword and end this right now. "You murdered my father," she says scathingly.

"He chose his own fate."

Beckett is lucky she's digging her nails into her palms. "And you have chosen yours," she informs him. "We will fight. And you will die."

Unwilling to remain in his presence a moment longer, Elizabeth turns and marches away. Will is only a few steps behind. "King?"

"Of the Brethren Court. Courtesy of Jack." She spares him a quick glance and feels some of the tension drain away. Will's beside her again, and despite everything that has happened, she realizes that's exactly where she wants him to be.

"Maybe he really does know what he's doing."

Elizabeth hopes so. Their very lives depend on it.




The part of Will that's not seriously hoping Jack knows what he's doing and doesn't think he's been betrayed again, really quite enjoys the face-off as the two men step towards each other, circle proudly, holding each other's eye, and back into the places left with either side. It feels right, taking his place at Elizabeth's side, and as she turns to himi, he feels his heart lift in a way he's been sorely lacking for months - perhaps even since the bar. It's not that she's changed since he saw her last, it's more that she's grown in spirit; moving with authority and assurance he's only seen hints of before. As she issues one last threat to Beckett, Will wonders what happened to her on the Empress, but he can't deny that she's even more beautiful to him now than she's ever been.

"King?" he asks her, as they head back to the dinghy.

"Of the Brethren Court. Courtesy of Jack."

Will has to acknowledge the shrewedness of the move, and resists the temptation to look back at Captain Sparrow.

"Maybe he really does know what he's doing."




It took a lot, quite a lot, to not say or do anything, when it was clear that Elizabeth and Barbossa were returning with Will--

Leaving Jack with Beckett and Jones.

Wellard's jaw clenched, as furious thoughts raced through his mind. Just exactly whose side were they on, to betray a member of their crew, to betray--

("So long as no one does anything stupid.")

And at this moment, anything he could do would be just that. Futile, self-defeating, and, as Jack said, stupid. Right now the smart thing would be just doing his best to stay alive until all of this was over. Wellard sighed quietly and started checking the spare shot and powder for his pistol.

"I do hope you know what you're doing, Jack."

A job.

Aug. 26th, 2007 03:16 pm
bringmethatnpc: ([Singapore] Temple)
On the banks of the Singapore River, a small bamboo-and-stone structure stands out as being one of the newest, and best cared for buildings in the area; a temple for a religion the Western world only hears of in stories from disreputable sailors. Inside, the acolytes sleep soundly on minimalist pallets, biding the time before midnight rituals.

The stillness within is a strange departure from the all-night activity in the town without, and stands apart as a silent haven. The silence is broken only by the movement of unwelcome boots sneaking across bamboo floors designed for bare feet only.
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