It was barely dawn when Elizabeth woke with the realization that she'd
started her courses. After a fleeting panic, she reassured herself with the
memory of the preparations she'd made the previous day. Beside her, Jack
slept on, one arm thrown across her body. A few tangled elflocks had fallen
in his face, and Elizabeth pushed them back, revealing his eyes, circled
with a faint remnant of kohl and sunk deep in his head. In amongst the beads
and trinkets in his hair, Elizabeth noticed a few glinting strands of
silver. The thin morning light emphasized every line and hollow in his face.
For the first time, he looked his age, and she felt a pang of protectiveness
that Jack would surely have scoffed at if he'd been awake.
She reached out and covered the scar on his chest with the palm of her hand.
Keep him safe, she prayed to whomever and whatever was listening, keep us
all safe. In his sleep, Jack tightened his grip on her, pulling her in
closer, and nuzzling against her neck. He sighed contentedly, and she closed
her eyes and fell back to sleep.
When next she awoke, Jack was sitting in the far end of the cell, whistling
quietly to himself. Will and Norrington were still asleep, their bodies
huddled in opposite corners of their cell. Jack was fussing with something
in his hands; she recognized the stub of the previous night's candle, and
one of the larger splinters she'd removed from his leg. Piled beside him
were the remnants of Will's shirt, and a bead from Jack's hair. Faintly, she
could smell the peculiar aroma of a man's seed.
"What are you doing?"
"Making a juju." The wax had grown soft in his hands, and he molded it
around the shard of black wood as he talked. "Just you going on the ship, in
your current state, will weaken their magic." He made a gesture with his
hands, as if he were weighing the charm. "There's a. . .balance, see,
between man and woman, between the sun and the moon. They've tipped the
balance to the sun, to the gods, with their sacrifice. But a woman's monthly
blood -- a mother's blood -- is a different kind of magic. . .life
not death. Now, if we could leave you on the Princessa, our problem
would be solved." He looked up at her and grinned. "But your husband'd never
speak to me again if I did that. So we need something else to slow 'em down,
once you're safe on the Pearl. "
"Aye. I've only ever fooled around with these, and I'm missing some of the
usual ingredients, but I think I've found suitable substitutions." He held
it up and contemplated it critically.
"Why, it's a little man!"
"Woman," he corrected, pressing the bead into the chest, and then shaping
the wax to give the manikin a voluptuous bosom. With a few folds and crimps
he fashioned the damp pieces of Will's shirt into a tiny dress. "All it
lacks now is some of your blood. Take it with you, and hide it somewhere on
the ship. Don't matter where, but try for a spot where it's not likely to be
Elizabeth had fretted and worried over how she was to get onto the
Princessa, but in the end, it was ridiculously simple. Shortly after
breakfast, more Spanish sailors came into the brig and indicated that
Elizabeth was to come with them.
She touched the blood-dabbed charm in her coat pocket, and Jack waved his
hand smugly, as if to say, "You see?" Then the smirk fell from his lips, and
he clasped her to him tightly, whispering something faint and incoherent
into her hair. When she pulled back, he was as nonchalant as ever, and under
his breath, he said, "Keep an eye out for the main chance, eh?"
She was mounting the companionway when Will shouted, "Take me as well! I
insist on an interview with your Captain." The guards stopped and looked at
each other uncertainly. Will continued, haltingly, "I have. . .información
for your Capitan. Comprende?" When they failed to unlock the
cell, he slipped into French, gesturing emphatically. "Portez-moi!"
"Don't pay him--" Jack started, but then Will said Jack's name, in a
forceful, warning tone, and he stopped his tongue.
The guards muttered to one another in Spanish, and then one turned back and
released Will. Elizabeth felt a rush of relief, mingled with fear. She
didn't need his help for the task Jack had set her, yet it was reassuring to
think of Will accompanying her. But was he putting himself at risk
needlessly? Confusion and shame at her own weakness made her turn her face
away from Will when he ascended behind her, and they proceeded on in
To Elizabeth's surprise, instead of taking them to the Pearl's great
cabin, the guards loaded them onto a boat. As they rowed over to the
Princessa, a gentle rain began to fall, cool and soothing after the heat
of the brig, sluicing away the accumulated grime on their skin. Will tipped
his head back and closed his eyes, a blissful expression on his face.
Elizabeth's irritation vanished and she slipped her hand in his, taking a
simple comfort from his presence. All too soon, they reached the
Princessa and were being escorted to the great cabin.
Sparrow tipped his hat over his eyes and leaned back against the hull. James
might have thought he was completely unconcerned if he hadn't seen the
fierce embrace Sparrow had given Elizabeth, or the brief flicker of dread in
his eyes as she and Will left the brig. James sighed and shook his head
slightly; in spite of all the ways in which Will had changed, at heart he
was still a gallant, foolhardy boy, thoughtlessly braving any danger for
Echoing his thoughts, Sparrow said, "I suppose I should've anticipated
"No one could accuse him of being faint-hearted," James agreed. "But it's
understandable. I'd be hard pressed to allow my wife to go into that
Sparrow strove for a conversational tone, and yet there was something
malicious about the look he gave James. "I never heard; is there a Mrs.
Norrington pinin' away for you back in Port Royal?"
"No." Inwardly, James winced at the curt reply, well aware that Sparrow
would consider it a point scored.
"Ah, and no sweetheart nor. . .boon companion neither?"
"Not that it's any of your concern, but no, I have no lover of either sex."
"In all of Port Royal, there's none to warm your bed? Lonely town."
"Not as lonely as that island. Goats make poor company."
Sparrow gave a coarse laugh. "Selkirk apparently didn't find 'em so."
Amused in spite of himself, James smiled wryly. "Perhaps it's for the best
that I was never able to catch one."
Sparrow abruptly changed the topic. "You and young Will seem to be getting
along famously. . . But then, I understand you and he were friendly when he
was a boy. You were the one who taught him to wobble his point all around,
"Rather, I tried to drill it out of him, but he's always been inclined to
let his emotions get the better of him."
Sparrow nodded sagely. "That's true. He's like his father in that regard.
Doesn’t always consider his own best interests. . .Not the best judge of
All was suddenly made clear. "He's not a child, Sparrow. Besides, given
your. . .arrangement with the Turners, your jealousy ill-becomes you."
"Jealous? Who's jealous? Will's free to do as he pleases, as are we all."
"Yes, I don't suppose you are ever-faithful."
Indignantly, Sparrow said, "I'm loyal. . .in my own way!"
James cocked an eyebrow in disbelief.
Sparrow tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. "We have things worked out to
our satisfaction, savvy? You best keep your nose -- and other parts -- out
When Will and Elizabeth entered the great cabin, the priest was talking
quietly with de la Cruz. Remembering what Norrington had told them,
Elizabeth stood as far away from the priest as she could. De la Cruz raised
an eyebrow at Will's presence and smiled mordantly at Elizabeth.
De la Cruz and the priest exchanged a few more words, and then, moving with
deliberate slowness, de la Cruz divested himself of his exquisitely cut
black coat and draped it over the back of his chair. He then poured himself
a glass of wine and loosened his cravat.
Out of the corner of her eye, Elizabeth could see Will swaying, ever so
slightly, like a cat waiting to pounce. His weight was balanced on his toes,
and his hand had automatically gone to his waist, reaching for the sword
that he normally wore.
She knew full well that de la Cruz was baiting them, waiting until their
nerves were on edge to speak -- Elizabeth's governess had often employed
this trick -- but it did not lose its effect for all that Elizabeth was
aware of what he was doing. De la Cruz sat at his desk, and long moments
ticked by as he shuffled through some papers. She was unpleasantly aware of
the scratch of her coat against her neck, and of the way her shirt clung to
her sweaty back. She began to think she would go mad if he did not say
Will's hair was damp and curling in the heat; a trickle of sweat slowly
rolled down the amber bead knotted into one lock and plopped onto the
shoulder of his coat. His expression became increasingly churlish, until he
opened his mouth to speak. Elizabeth cast him a warning glance and he
grudgingly clenched his jaw.
De la Cruz's lips quirked maliciously. "Now that my ship is restored to her
full powers, I wish to find Cortez's gold. It is my plan to send the
Black Pearl on to Hispaniola with a prize crew, taking Capitan
Sparrow with me, to guide me to the treasure. But first I must ensure his
There was a sinister note to de la Cruz's voice, but Elizabeth refused to be
intimidated. She lifted her chin and waited for him to continue.
"Señor Turner, I am told you insisted upon accompanying your wife.
What is it that you must impart to me?"
Clearly Will had no idea how to reply to this. He blinked and stammered, and
finally replied, "I wanted to tell you. . .I don't want to end up like Hans.
I'm willing to do what I can to get Jack to cooperate, if you'll guarantee
my life -- and Elizabeth's."
"I have heard from Wickham that you are Sparrow's catamite. . ." De la Cruz
stood briskly. "Perhaps it is for the best that you are here. I will ransom
you and your wife to her father, if I get what I want. But please remember
that you are both expendable to me. You don't have the knowledge that I
seek; you are merely tools to pry that knowledge from Sparrow. Do you
He gestured languidly, and the priest opened a small chamber -- it must have
originally been intended for the Captain's servant, but now it was full of
cruel, sharp devices, things Elizabeth had no name for, which were clearly
designed to torture and torment.
De la Cruz took her arm with a show of courtesy. She was too stunned by the
gleaming blades and contraptions to balk, and allowed him to lead her to the
center of the room. Although everything was polished and clean, there was a
lingering odor of blood and urine: the smell Elizabeth associated with fear
and death. Above her head there was a dark blotch on the wood, a splash of
blood that had been missed when the room was cleaned.
Will followed behind, his eyes wide with fear and horror. De la Cruz turned
to him and proudly said, "These are the instruments with which we divine the
Will caught her eye urgently, and then grabbed de la Cruz's arm, exclaiming,
"This is abominable! What manner of monsters are you to use such methods?"
De la Cruz released Elizabeth, and pivoted sharply toward Will. The priest
turned as well, repeating something insistent in Spanish, and Elizabeth
began desperately seeking some place to hide the charm. She heard Will fall
heavily against the hull. He stood and continued ranting and de la Cruz
responded in a similar tone. Again, Will lost his footing, colliding with
something metal that pealed a jangling note.
There! A small crevice between the hull and a row of lockers, where the wood
had begun to warp and pull away. The crack was narrow, but wide enough for
the tiny doll Jack had fashioned. Shielding her actions with her body,
Elizabeth slipped the juju down into the space, just as she heard the sound
of sword leaving its sheath. Her heart pounding, she turned to find de la
Cruz's blade at Will's chest.
"I have often wondered which would be worse; to be tortured yourself, or to
watch a loved one in pain. Mark my words, Turner, if we kill her, it will
not be fast." De la Cruz took a moment to compose himself. "It is amazing
how much pain one can endure before death. . .This is convenient, you see,
because it gives you so many opportunities to cooperate." He sighed
theatrically. "But there is much that, once done, cannot be undone."
Will looked as though he might be ill. There was an ugly cut on his cheek,
and blood oozed down his face. He glanced past de la Cruz to Elizabeth and,
off her tiny nod, held up his hands. "My apologies. I was. . .taken aback. I
assure you that we will cooperate, and that we will do everything in our
power to persuade Jack to assist you."
De la Cruz sheathed his sword. "I advise you to make short work of it.
Tomorrow you shall have a more thorough demonstration."