after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
The fresh water supplies had run very low. The crew grumbled. Will Turner,
quartermaster of the Black Pearl, complained of the problem to his
"Jack, we cannot go for more than seven days on our current rations. We need
to sail to rain, find a friendly port, or otherwise obtain some fresh
water." His vehemence contrasted sharply with Sparrow's nonchalance.
"Water, eh? I think I know just the place, Will."
"And without wind, how will we get there?"
"Oh, the wind is coming. I've made sure of that."
Will looked askance at that declaration, but Jack only waved dismissal.
The wind did come, much to Will's amazement, and a lively one it was. With
only a third of her canvas free, the Pearl dove through the swell and
made a deep wake behind her.
Standing beside Jack at the helm, Will asked, "How did you know the wind
"There are some offers that even the Gods can't pass up." Jack kept his eyes
on the horizon, where the sunset glowed. "There. Can you see it? One point
off to starboard."
Will squinted, and against the bright line of the sky-meet-sea he could just
make out the smudge of the island's outline. "There's no need to adjust our
course?" Will marveled. "This tack will take us nearly directly there!"
"This tack will take us exactly directly there. The currents around
this passage are strong."
Will began to wonder if Jack had made some bargain with the Gods.
The island's sides were steep, and finding a steady anchorage near to
breachable shore was challenging. With Marty swung out on the lines at the
bowsprit, watching for rocks in the water, they finally found a cove in
which to make berth.
"Looks likely over to the east," Gibbs gestured. "Trees look tall and lush.
Could be a rill over there."
"No." Jack's face was solemn and a faraway look took his eye. "Water's due
north. Straight back up the canyon."
"Are ye a dowser now, Cap'n?" Gibbs jested, laughing; then fell silent as
Jack didn't respond to the jibe.
Just as Jack had described, there was the waterfall. Those of the crew lucky
enough to have drawn water detail, dashed forward to take the first gulping
swallows of the cool, sweet elixir tumbling down the rocky cliff.
"Don't foul the pool, idiots!" Turner called, more as a formality than in
actual concern. Jack had chosen the complement carefully, and there would be
only clean, clear water in the barrels returned to the Black Pearl.
Will smiled inwardly. Fouling the pool would be his task, when he
brought the Jack here, later this evening. His breeches swelled at the
The breeze had died. The sun was set.
The water casks had been safely stowed. The foraging parties had returned,
successful, and the jubilant crew was satiated with fresh vittles and
unrationed water, more welcome than even the double share of rum that Jack
ordered given out. The watches and shore leaves were arranged, and command
had been passed to the first mate.
Time for a little rest and relaxation for a certain well-deserving Ship's
Will packed a small kit: his knife, some biscuit, a cheese and a lovely
madeira (he was the quartermaster).
The little bottle of oil.
The picnic was laid on a rock beside the waterfall. Moonlight danced in the
shimmering cascade. It was a perfect night. And yet, Jack demurred when
offered the bread and cheese. Jack said no to the wine, saying he'd had
enough to drink on board the ship.
"Will, I have a request to make of you," Jack seemed at a loss for words, as
unlikely as that state of affairs might be.
"Anything." Will replied, his voice sultry. But Jack pulled away when Will
ran a questing hand up his thigh.
"I need... I ask of you... " Jack ducked his head, stared at his boots.
"I've promised the Gods not to take pleasure with you here."
"Oh. I... I see."
"Heaven knows I'd rather be the one to do that tonight. But going back on
one's word to the Gods, when the Gods have already delivered their part of
the bargain? Not a good idea, if you take my meaning."
"Oh, no. Of course not." Will couldn't help looking a little dejected. A bit
more warning would have been appreciated, before he made all the
preparations. But why, then...? "You haven't touched the food or drink,
Jack. Why did you even bother to leave your cabin?"
"Well, my dear fellow, I'm afraid you haven't heard what my request is, yet.
Or rather, Her request."
The hair on the back of Will's neck stood on end. He felt something,
and turned to look over his shoulder just in time to see the form of a lithe
young woman, unclothed but for a strand of pearls at Her neck, step out of
the waterfall and walk across the surface of the water. Her hair was jet and
Her eyes... were not like eyes but were something else entirely.
Jack bowed, "My Lady. This is William, of whom I spoke," Jack turned to Will
and grinned. "Will, this is The Lady of the Falls. Her price for the water
today was to have you to Herself this night." He clapped Will on the
shoulder, and leaned in to whisper, "Be sure to show Her that trick you can
do with the you-know and the other thing, aye?"
And with that, Jack turned on his heel to leave.
"Jack." Her voice had a deeper timbre than one might expect from Her slender
form. "You may remain, if you would care to watch?" There was laughter in
the Lady's voice.
"I was hoping you might say that, My Lady." Jack flopped down on the sandy
streambank, reached over and unstoppered the madeira.
The Lady took Will by the hand and led him under the waterfall. Deft fingers
made short work of his clothing, and soon he wore as little as she, only a
single leather thong at his neck, holding an amulet Jack had given him.
Jack swigged the wine, and recalled his own visit to the Lady, years before.
He hoped Will appreciated what he was being given.
Will could never quite recall that night in full detail. There had been
delicious movement and the sensation of drowning, and then of becoming the
water itself. There had been ecstasy and agony and joy.
And there had been that moment when he had been given the certainty.
Someday, I will be Captain.