Tia Dalma gripped Norrington’s hand hard. He gasped and closed his eyes, then slid to the floor. She didn’t let his hand go, but followed him down and squatted on the floor next to him. He opened his eyes, but didn’t see her. Then he squeezed them shut and his face contorted in agony. Sweat broke out on his forehead, and his breathing sped up. Suddenly, Tia Dalma’s anger faded.
Norrington was right. The fact that Beckett and Tia Dalma had a sordid history was no fault of his, and now in addition to using him, she had pushed her grief and anger onto him. She let go of Norrington’s hand quickly and put the doll back into her pocket. She shook him gently. “Jameh…Jameh, come bahck now,” she said.
He opened his eyes once again and looked at her. He stood up and wiped his forehead on his sleeve. “I can’t stay your hand,” he said hollowly.
“Oh, Jameh, I’m sorry,” she said.
Norrington shook his head. “It’s too late. I’m already Beckett’s right hand. Why shouldn’t I be your left? Actually, what you showed me is the perfect metaphor in this case, and at least now I understand why you want to kill him.” He swallowed and slowly put his hat back on. “You had better get together the things you need for this God-forsaken voyage so we can get it underway.” He walked around the porch and disappeared.
Tia Dalma sighed and looked at Barbossa. “I wish I coul’ take dat bahck,” she said.
“Ah, but truth is ne’er a mistake,” Barbossa said. She couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or not.
“You bettah laugh when you say dat,” Tia Dalma said. She frowned. “He’s nevah going to trus’ me again.”
“I think you ensured that when you used Ragetti and Pintel to coerce him into bringing the heart to you,” Barbossa pointed out.
Tia Dalma sighed again. “Maybe so. Styill, it was wrong. An’ it will do naht’ing to help get Jack or de Pearl bahck.”
“Oh, come off it woman,” Barbossa said, exasperated, “He’ll recover from it.”
“Like I did?”
Tia Dalma reached into her pocket once more and brought forth the Beckett poppet. She looked at Barbossa, who shrugged as if to say “this is your game.” With the poppet in her hand, she ran in the direction Norrington had gone. She caught up to him at the pool. He stood at the very edge, staring into the perfectly clear water, which now reflected sunlight and trees, rather than moonlight. She rarely came here during the day and forgot how beautiful it could be.
“Jameh,” she said.
He turned slowly and looked at her with haunted eyes. “What can I do for you now?” he asked flatly.
She came up to him and held out the poppet. Slowly, she pulled each and every pin out, chanting softly. When she finished, she tossed the doll into the pool, where it floated, facedown like a tiny drowned man. The blood started to come out of the white fabric, spreading in a cloud of scarlet. When it reached the edges of the pool, the surface of the pool shimmered and changed.
When it cleared, it showed Beckett’s bedchamber. He sat by the window in a smoking jacket, his cold eyes surveying whatever was outside. Tia Dalma stole a glance at Norrington, whose jaw was clenched and eyes were full of darkness. Another man came in. “Mercer,” Beckett said to him.
“Milord,” Mercer said.
“It would seem that the witch has taken her talons out of me finally.” He shook his head. “I should have killed her when I had the chance.” Then he brightened. “However, Captain Norrington is an effective man. Maybe he’ll kill her for me.”
The scene shimmered once more and the pool cleared of the blood once more.
Norrington looked at Tia Dalma. “I suppose I should thank you for that,” he said.
Tia Dalma said nothing. She felt strangely at peace, as if a weight had been lifted. She doubted she would ever completely forgive Beckett, but his life was no longer her responsibility, and whether she had ever realized it, now that it was gone, it was a relief. She reached up and tilted Norrington’s face so he looked at her.
“I don’ regret saving you,” she said sincerely, “It was de wahn good decision I made.”
Norrington looked at her sadly. “I’m beginning to wonder what I was thinking, stealing the heart of Davy Jones and giving it to Beckett. It’s caused nothing but misery.”
“It was destahny, Jameh,” she said.
“And is this voyage destiny as well?” he asked, “Or was it destiny that Sparrow died and the Black Pearl was lost? Was it destiny that Captain Barbossa died?” He looked back at the pool. “You say over and over that destiny causes all of these things to happen and yet you thwart it constantly with your magic.” He looked into her eyes. “I fear you. I truly do. You hold too much power in your hands and you use it indiscriminately to get whatever you want. In that way, you and Beckett are exactly the same. Only he doesn’t operate under the guise of destiny. He has no illusions about his use of power. That’s the only difference between the two of you.” He sighed. “Now we really must get underway. You should get your things together.”
“Fine. I’ll leave you alowen.” She left him by the pool. As soon as she was out of sight, Norrington crouched by the pool, pushed his sleeve up, and plunged his arm into the clear depths, feeling around until his hand closed on the sodden poppet. He drew it out of the water and stared at it with fascination mixed with revulsion. It was still caked with blood and although Norrington was not usually sensitive to these things, he could feel the power emanating from it. He squeezed the water out of it and put it into his pocket, and then walked back to the house.
They set sail on the evening tide and as the ship put the island to the rudder, Norrington reflected that it was strange to command this same rabble he had so recently betrayed. He had never led such a strange mix of people and it would be an interesting challenge as captain. He assigned Barbossa as first mate. He didn’t trust him even a little, but he had to admit that Barbossa was extremely intelligent and no stranger to commanding men.
Gibbs became the sailing master because of his experience, coupled with the fact that he was relatively clever when he was sober. Which was rarely.
Norrington barely spoke to Elizabeth and brushed off any of her attempts to talk to him. She followed him around and begged for a job, so in a fit of exasperation, he made her ship’s cook. Her food was terrible, but at least it was consistent.
Turner stayed in the crow’s nest and didn’t speak to anyone. He had good eyes and seemed to want to avoid Elizabeth, which Norrington thought was curious, coupled with the fact that Turner was unusually friendly to him, to the point where Norrington even entrusted him with keeping the heart safe in a locked chest, the key to which Turner kept on his person.
Cotton and Marty took their places among the crew readily enough and seemed happy just to be back on a ship. Of all the former of his Pearl crewmates, those two seemed to bear him the least grudge. Norrington had expected far more hostility from the lot of them and he began to wonder just how much loyalty anyone had for Jack Sparrow.
Tia Dalma was a natural choice for ship’s surgeon and volunteered for the position right away. She was the default ship’s navigator as well although her notion of navigation was unorthodox by Norrington’s reckoning. She insisted that no one go near the helm but her. She would sacrifice a live animal at the helm every night at midnight. On the second day, they sailed into an impenetrable fog, and Norrington grew antsy to take the helm and steer them, but Tia Dalma forbade him.
“We mus’ drif’ to de lan’ of death,” she said.
In the end, Norrington let her have her way. The fog lingered all day and night. The next day, the fog was still there and an impenetrable silence seemed to descend over the ship. The water deepened from the bright greenish-blue of the Caribbean to the darker waters of the Pacific, although Norrington couldn’t imagine they were out of the Spanish Main. By the third day, the water was black, and the waves had all but disappeared.
On the fourth day, the fog had lifted to reveal that they were being followed closely by none other than the Flying Dutchman. Everyone rushed to the rail to look at the dread ship.
“He’ll call the kraken any moment,” Turner said through clenched teeth.
Norrington looked at him sideways. “Then you’d best get his heart, hadn’t you?” he said. Turner ran and got it, plus his father’s knife. The crew held their breath as they heard the crew of the Dutchman call to each other and crank the giant winch that would signal the kraken. The call went out with a boom that reverberated in the strange quiet waters of the in-between world.
When it arrived a few minutes later, the kraken created the only ripples in the otherwise dead water. Norrington watched it approach the Huntress, closer and closer and when it got close enough to the ship for Norrington to see the suckers he nodded sharply to Turner, who opened the box with a gleam in his eyes. He wet his lips and dragged the jagged knife over the heart, making a shallow laceration.
“Call off your monster, you bastard,” Turner whispered to the heart. From the Dutchman Norrington heard a cry of rage and pain and the kraken turned and fled with a splash. A ragged cheer went up from the crew of the Huntress. A moment later, Davy Jones himself appeared on the deck.
He pointed at Turner with one of his remaining fingers. “You!” he bellowed. “You traitorous whelp.” Turner just looked at him evenly, the knife still poised over the heart.
Norrington stepped between Turner and Davy Jones. “Remove yourself from my ship, Captain,” he said. “This is not a mission that concerns you. And if you call the kraken once more, the ‘whelp’ will cut your heart deeper than you can afford. Is that understood?”
Davy Jones glared at Norrington. His tentacles danced angrily around his face. “Fine. I won’t call the kraken, but I’m not going to leave, not while I know this upstart has something that belongs to me. That’s my heart and I want it back.”
Norrington nodded. “I realize that, and perhaps we can strike a deal once our business here is concluded, but for now, I must insist that you not hinder us. Now please go away.” Behind him, Norrington heard Pintel and Ragetti snicker.
Davy Jones glared at him and turned into a puddle of water.
“ ‘Please go away,’” Ragetti echoed, giggling like a maniac.
Norrington turned and looked at him. “Oh that’s funny, is it? Clean up that mess,” he said, pointing at the puddle. Ragetti looked properly chastised and ran to obey. Norrington suppressed a smile. The ex-pirate’s reading had come along well and Norrington knew that he had bought Ragetti’s loyalty at a very cheap price.
Norrington looked at Turner, who stared into the box with the heart. “What is it, Mister Turner?” Norrington asked.
Turner looked up at him sadly. “I was wondering what’s to become of the heart once we get Jack and the Pearl once more.”
Norrington sighed. “Well, that’s really a question for Tia Dalma.”
Turner cleared his throat. “I would speak with you on an unrelated matter,” he said.
“What could you and I possibly have to say to each other?”
“It’s regarding Elizabeth,” Turner said.
“Very well, if you insist. My cabin.” Norrington strode off with Turner in his wake.
Once inside, Turner closed the door and set the heart down on the table.
“Well,” Norrington said impatiently, “Say your piece.”
“Elizabeth kissed Jack,” Turner said, looking down at the floor.
Norrington almost laughed. He tired of being right all the time. “I’m sorry to hear it,” he said as gravely as he could. “But I really fail to see how that’s my business.”
Turner looked at him. “You were her fiancé before I was,” he said.
“Yes, Mister Turner, I am well aware of that. And now the honor falls to you. What of it?”
Turner took a deep breath. “Well, I just wanted to tell you that I’m sorry I betrayed you and Governor Swann.”
Norrington smiled slightly. “I can’t afford to bear that many grudges, Mister Turner, so I have only one question for you. Do you still love Elizabeth?”
“I don’t know.”
“Very well. Another question, then. Do you consider yourself a man of honor still?”
Turner narrowed his eyes at Norrington. “I haven’t taken her maidenhead if that’s what you’re really asking,” he said hotly.
Norrington closed his eyes in exasperation. “No, Mister Turner, I wasn’t asking that at all, although it is to your credit that you haven’t. I was asking if you have honor in you. Are you an honorable man? I’m asking generally.”
“Then yes I am, although I’m a pirate.”
“Then you must marry her. As her fiancé, you entered into an agreement with both her and her father. You say you feel remorse at betraying not only me but Governor Swann as well. It would be a pretty poor way to express that remorse to refuse marriage to his daughter after you promised yourself to her.”
Turner looked confused.
“Although you so delicately stated you hadn’t had relations with her, her reputation is nonetheless ruined as far as Port Royal is concerned. Her only salvation lies in marriage to you.”
“But I don’t trust her.”
“I’m afraid that’s your misfortune, Mister Turner.” He smiled at Turner.
Turner smiled back slightly. “Well, I just hope you don’t want to kill me any longer.”
“I forgive you. Now go back to your duties.”
Turner sighed in relief, picked the heart up once more and left. Norrington followed him out a moment later, glad that he himself was well over Elizabeth although he now felt a strange kinship with Turner that came from having been in Elizabeth’s clutches at one point. Norrington walked to the quarterdeck and watched his mishmash crew work.
After a few moments, Tia Dalma approached him. “We ah nearing de Black Pearl” she said to him.
Tia Dalma explained to him what would need to be done. He looked at her dubiously but her eyes carried the warning not to question her. The magic of death was her bailiwick not his. He nodded to her when she was finished. Now it was truly her voyage.
The ship came to a complete standstill of its own volition and Tia Dalma knew it was time. She went up to Barbossa and told him so. He looked nervous.
“I don’t want to die,” he confided in her as she embraced him.
“It is not for evah,” she reassured him, “Besides, dis was your idea.”
Barbossa drew away from her. “I know it,” he said. He took a deep breath. “Well, let’s get it over with,” he said. She went to the helm and untied a bag she had tied there at the beginning of the voyage. In it was the remaining inky death potion, a knife, a needle, a satchel of ritual components and thread. She brought the items to Barbossa, who shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
“You know what you hahve to do, right?” she asked him, placing the satchel in his hand.
“Swim for the Pearl,” he answered her grimly. “Get Jack Sparrow to let me aboard, then loose the contents into the sails.”
Tia Dalma nodded. She took the knife and put the point up to his heart. He wrapped his hands around hers on the hilt. “I love you,” he said.
“I love you too,” she answered. She leaned in and kissed him as they both rammed the point of the knife home. Barbossa gasped and fell on the deck, dead. Tia Dalma quickly popped the cork on the bottle and took a mighty swig. The world shifted into a series of gray halftones and the members of the Huntress stopped in time, poised and watching her, but completely still.
Tia Dalma saw the pulsing line of light extending from her heart out into the black water once more. She went to the mainmast and walked around it over and over, wrapping the crimson line around it many times until she had secured it. She swallowed and sat down to wait.
Jack paced the deck of his ship nervously. As far as he could reckon, it was the middle of the afternoon of the sixth day and Tia Dalma hadn’t shown herself since the very first day. In the distance, he saw the mouth of Hell, like a dark sun sitting on a malignant horizon. He had seen a few pale figures circling in the non-wake behind the stern from time to time, and they had increased in number over the past few hours. His time was running out.
Suddenly he heard a human voice, out loud, not in his head and he jumped, startled.
“Oy! Jack! Jack Sparrow!”
He ran to the rail and peered into the water. “Barbossa?” he asked in disbelief.
“Toss me a line, Jack!” Barbossa called up to him.
Jack grinned at him. “Now why would I do that?” he asked. “I killed you once, Barbossa. Why would I let you aboard me ship?”
Barbossa tread water and rolled his eyes at Jack. “Don’t be an ass,” he said, “Tia Dalma sent me to retrieve you. Now toss me a line.”
Jack hesitated, and then threw rope overboard. Barbossa swam up to it and grabbed it. Jack hauled him up slowly. “Well, I suppose there’s no one aboard for you to rouse to mutiny,” Jack grumbled, helping Barbossa over the rail.
“Your gratitude is overwhelming, truly,” Barbossa said.
Jack was surprised to see a line of red light coming out of his chest, and running over the side of the Pearl. “Wot’s that, then?” he asked, pointing at it.
“That be yer salvation, Jack,” Barbossa said, smiling at him. “Now stand back.” Barbossa opened a satchel and tossed the contents upward. “Wind of the living,” he said, closing his eyes, “bear me out of the realm of the dead.” Immediately a breeze filled the sails that had hung limp for days. Jack closed his eyes as the sweet breeze caressed his face. When he opened them, Barbossa pulled on the red line three times, before pulling on it hand over hand.
Slowly, the Pearl came about with a great creak and groan of wood. The noise was a welcome change from six days of absolute silence. Barbossa braced himself, his feet wide and pulled the line, although now the wind picked up. Jack watched him with something akin to wonder. “‘A man so evil Hell itself spat him back out,’” he said softly.
In the distance, Jack saw a ship, hazy in the strange pale gold light of the netherworld. As it came closer and closer, Jack did not recognize it, but he did recognize the crewmembers. A range of emotions crossed his mind as he looked over their faces. Elizabeth brought a surge of lust and a sense of betrayal, William Turner a sense of guilt at the number of times Jack had wronged him, Gibbs a sense of trust and camaraderie, Tia Dalma a sense of relief, and finally Norrington a sense of fear.
Jack swallowed as the Pearl neared the other ship. Tia Dalma was the only one of the crew who moved. She kneeled over a supine figure and it looked as if she were sewing something on its chest.
Behind him, Barbossa said, “Ah, she be just in time.” Jack turned around to see Barbossa grinning at him. “See ye on the other side, Jack Sparrow,” he said. With that, he loosed a line and swung over to the other ship, landing on the deck next to Tia Dalma. She looked up and Jack could see the other end of the line disappearing into her bosom. “Ah,” Jack said to himself, suddenly understanding.
Tia Dalma gently swept the back of her hand down Barbossa’s face. She then guided him down to the other figure. Barbossa lay down in the same spot and disappeared into the figure and Jack saw that the other figure was also Barbossa. Tia Dalma said a word that seemed to reverberate against both boats and suddenly the rest of the crew came to life.
Elizabeth looked at him with a look of relief in her brown eyes. “Jack,” she cried, “Thank God.”
“’ello, love,” he called to her. The line Barbossa used had come back swung back over to his side and he grabbed it and swung over to the other ship as well, tying it up to the rail of the other ship. Elizabeth ran up to him and went to embrace him, but she passed through him. Jack caught Will’s eye, who looked at him with satisfaction.
“Caught yerself a case o’ death, eh, Jack Sparrow?” Gibbs said.
“Nothin’ I can’t beat, mate,” Jack returned.
Tia Dalma stood from where she was crouched by Barbossa’s side. Barbossa breathed shallowly, but did not wake. Tia Dalma approached Jack. “You ah a ghos’, Jack,” she said sadly. “You ah out of Hell, but without a body, I cannot bring you bahck to life.”
“AHOY!!” bellowed a voice, “Is that the miserable ruffian Jack Sparrow, back from the dead?” On the other side of the Pearl, the Flying Dutchman drifted up.
“Not really,” Jack called. “I’m not really here, Davy Jones. I’m a figment of your briny imagination. And I don’t have your heart, by the way.”
Davy Jones smirked. “I know that by now.”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” Pintel said. “If Jack’s a ghost, what of the Pearl?”
Tia Dalma smiled. “De Pearl is real ahs you an’ me,” she answered.
“How’s that even possible?” Ragetti asked.
“Aye, it does seem a bit far-fetched,” Gibbs chimed in.
“De Pearl was part of de curse, along wid de res’ of you,” said Tia Dalma, “so she is not undah de syame law of life an’ deat’. She cahn go where she please. Dis is part of de reason Captahn Barbossa wanted her bahck.” Tia Dalma looked at Jack guiltily.
Comprehension dawned on Jack. The whole point was the Pearl, not him, and that had been the price of his salvation such as it was. He looked from one crewmember to the next. “So no one gives a rat’s arse that I’m a ghost,” he said accusingly. “Not a one of you cares for old Jack, eh?” Elizabeth looked sad, but not crushed. Gibbs and the rest of the original crew wouldn’t meet his eyes. Norrington smiled at him in much the same manner as he had in Tortuga when he had aimed a pistol at Jack’s head. Will looked hurt. Tia Dalma looked at him with pity, before engaging Cotton’s help in dragging Barbossa below decks.
“I care,” Davy Jones called. “You still owe me your very own soul. And I’m happy as a clam to see that it has not been lost to Hell.” He disappeared from the deck of his ship and reappeared on the deck of the ship the crew was on. “Where be the captain? I wish to parlay.”
Pintel groaned at the word and Ragetti giggled.
Norrington approached Davy Jones. “What do you have in mind, Captain?” Norrington asked. Turner looked from one to the other.
“First I’ll tell you what I want, and then you tell me what you want.”
“I want Jack Sparrow and I want my heart. It’s as simple as that.”
Norrington raised an eyebrow. “That’s a tall order, sir.”
“I want my father back,” Will said hotly, his hands shaking on the box that contained the heart.
Norrington ignored him. “You may have both of those things if…” He paused and looked past Davy Jones at the Flying Dutchman. “If you hand over Turner’s father and…kill the kraken with your own hands.”
The crew collectively gasped at Norrington’s sang froid and even Jack had to admit that Norrington was the perfect man to parlay with Davy Jones.
“Yes to the first condition, no to the second,” Davy Jones said with barely controlled rage.
“Indeed? Well, I’m afraid I must say the same thing to you sir, and you’ll still come out the loser, given that if I possess your heart, I can also control the kraken. You’ve already proven that.” Norrington smirked at him.
“Bring Bootstrap Bill!” Davy Jones called to his men aboard the Flying Dutchman. He turned back to Norrington. “What’s my guarantee that Jack Sparrow won’t just float away?”
Tia Dalma came back up the stairs and stepped up to Davy Jones. “I cahn bine him to your ship,” she said.
“No, no, not good,” Jack interjected, waving his non-corporeal arms.
Tia Dalma looked at him. “Did you make a deal wid Davy Jowens?”
Jack grimaced. “Well, technically—“
“Shut up,” Davy Jones said to him. “You know you did, Jack Sparrow. Your time was up long ago, now it’s my time to get what is owed me.”
Just then, two of Davy Jones’ monsters came up on the deck carrying Bootstrap Bill between them. They dumped him unceremoniously at Norrington’s feet. Will rushed to his father who breathed raggedly and grimaced in pain with the smallest movement.
“What did they do to you?” he asked, his voice filled with anguish. He set the heart and the knife next to Bootstrap.
Bootstrap Bill opened his tired eyes. “Will,” he said softly, “I had hoped to see you again before…” his voice trailed off.
Will took him by the shoulders and shook him. “What did they do to you?” he asked again, more insistently.
Bootstrap Bill smiled at him. “It was just a flogging, Will. 100 lashes for helping you, but I don’t want you to regret anything. I’d do it again, if it meant your freedom. Promise me one thing, Will. Give up piracy and become a blacksmith once more. I never wanted this life for you.” He looked away and sighed.
Will closed his eyes in pain, and when he opened them, he looked murderously at Davy Jones.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Jack said quietly.
Will took up the box and the knife once more. Before anyone could stop him, he opened the box and stabbed the heart within, hard enough to embed the knife in the wood of the box itself. Then he twisted the dagger free once more and held it poised over the heart again.
“Like that,” said Jack.
Davy Jones clutched his chest and fell to the deck. The crew was silent with shock. Norrington was the first one to move. He strode to Will and kicked the knife out of his hand, then hauled him to his feet. Before Norrington could dress him down, Davy Jones laughed.
“You fool,” he said, looking up at Will, then at Norrington. “You had the right of it, Captain. Without the heart, there is no controlling the kraken. I call it with my dying breath.” He looked back at Will once more. “You got your revenge, boy. But you’ve also killed your shipmates.” With that, he closed his eyes and stopped breathing.
Norrington let Will go. “I couldn’t have said it better myself,” he snapped.
Pintel suddenly spoke up. “Look!” he cried, pointing at Davy Jones. Slowly, the tentacles retracted, the carapace of the crab claw and leg turned to flesh, as the monster retreated, leaving the man underneath. Tia Dalma’s hand flew to her mouth. Jack looked to the Flying Dutchman. The barnacles faded off the hull, the seaweed diminished until the ship became wood and canvas once again.
The crew of the Flying Dutchman transformed similarly and fish features gave way to flesh and hair. A cry of joy went up from the ship and the crew danced about the deck and embraced each other. Will went back to his father once more. He too had changed and had a smile on his face, but his eyes were vacant. Will kneeled beside him and gently shook his shoulder, but could get no response. Will buried his face in his hands and wept. Elizabeth approached him, knelt beside him and held him as he cried for his father.
Suddenly the ship bucked beneath them. “We have not a moment to lose,” Norrington said to the rest of the crew. He turned to Jack. “Sparrow, you’ll take the Dutchman and captain her through this action. Gibbs, you’ll take the Pearl.”
“Erm, why can’t I get the Pearl?” Jack asked, “She is my ship after all.”
Norrington glared at him. “Don’t argue with me, Sparrow. When the kraken surfaces, we shall surround it with the three ships and hit it with our three broadsides. It won’t know which way to turn or which way to attack. Wait for my signal, then hit it with everything you’ve got.” The ship bucked again and a tentacle shot out of the water. “GO!” cried Norrington.
Norrington was sure that the kraken would concentrate on the Huntress, based on what Davy Jones had said. He was also sure that three broadsides would not be enough to take the kraken down, but it would buy them enough time to execute another plan. He came over to Turner and touched him on the shoulder. “Your father wouldn’t want you to die today,” he said quietly. Turner looked up, his eyes red. “Take him out of the way and then you and Elizabeth need to haul up every barrel of gunpowder in the hold.”
The tentacle snapped out and grabbed a screaming man out of the crow’s nest. “Gun crews,” Norrington yelled. He caught Pintel and Ragetti before they went below. “You two know what to do,” he said, “Don’t let me down.” They nodded and rushed below. There would barely be enough people to man the guns of the Huntress and the Black Pearl. Norrington had to place his faith in Jack to do the most damage to the kraken. Their own broadside would not be simultaneous, but at least Norrington could trust his gun crews to be swift. He had exercised them continually on the voyage and they worked solidly. He only regretted there were so few of them.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth, Will and a few others had hauled half a dozen barrels of gunpowder onto the deck. The kraken now had its tentacles over the rail of the ship. The Huntress fired her broadside, making the deck shake. The kraken shuddered but did not loose its grip. The Huntress began to list as the other ships fired their broadsides.
The shots hit true, and yet the kraken held fast to the Huntress, which was what Norrington had been afraid of. The kraken, however, did not seem to be interested in pulling men overboard, but groped gently on the deck with a tentacle as if looking for something. When it brushed Davy Jones’ still form, the kraken paused and carefully encircled him. It dragged Davy Jones back over the side of the ship and released the Huntress, then sank beneath the black waters.
Suddenly, all was silent. The waters rippled briefly and then returned to their preternaturally still state. No one moved as they waited for the kraken to return. When it seemed as if it wouldn’t, the crew started to move and talk once more, but their cheers were tentative and muted.
“Looks like I missed the action,” said a voice behind Norrington. He turned to see Barbossa leaning against the railing.
Norrington looked confused. “Such as it was. It seems that the kraken lost interest in us once it had its master.”
“Ah. So Davy Jones perished, then.”
Tia Dalma rushed into Barbossa’s arms. They kissed and Norrington looked away to where Elizabeth and Will stood a little apart from each other.
“It’s over,” Will said blankly. Elizabeth nodded, her eyes fixed on the Flying Dutchman.
Later, after cuts were bandaged and wet clothing changed, Norrington, Barbossa, Sparrow, Turner, Elizabeth, Gibbs, and Tia Dalma sat around the table in the captain’s cabin. Norrington spoke first. “I think you’ll all agree that some fundamental things need to be decided before we sail from here.”
“The Pearl is mine,” Barbossa said flatly.
“No, I don’t think so, you mutinous bastard,” Sparrow replied cheerfully.
“Ah but you see, Jack, t’was my idea to rescue her from death’s clutches. And if the Black Pearl had not sailed into the waters of death, and it had just been you, no one would have mounted a rescue mission at all.”
“She’s still my ship, mate,” Sparrow said.
Norrington cleared his throat and the two of them looked at him. “Sparrow, the idea was for Captain Barbossa to take the Pearl and to leave you with the Flying Dutchman. As much as I’m loath to admit it, you handled her well during the action, and the crew seem to have taken to you.”
“Even if you ah a ghos,’” Tia Dalma added.
“Ay, a ghost,” Gibbs agreed. “Look at the bright side, Jack. You beat death in a matter of speakin.’”
“An’ I tole you de price woul’ be steep an’ you agree’ to anyt’ing for passahge out of Hell,” Tia Dalma said.
“Besides, the fact that you are getting a ship is more than you could possibly have bargained for,” Norrington added.
“Jack wants everything he can get,” Elizabeth said.
Jack looked at her sharply. “Well, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black, love?” he said. He turned to Will. “She wants the both of us, mate, or didn’t she tell you? We had a moment back on the Pearl just before Davy Jones’ beastie took a bite out of me head.”
Will nodded. “I know it. In fact, I saw it, Jack. But Elizabeth told me the truth.”
“Aye? And what was that?” Jack asked.
“She only did it to save the rest of us.”
Jack laughed and shook his head, then looked back at Elizabeth. “Is that what you told him, Lizzie?” He looked back at Will. “An’ you believed her?”
Will nodded firmly. “Yes. I do believe her, Jack. She’s still my fiancée and I trust her.”
Norrington raised an eyebrow but kept quiet.
Elizabeth spoke up. “I’m sorry, Jack. You wouldn’t have saved anyone but yourself, which is why no one truly wanted to risk his neck to save you.”
“Yet you seem to be getting one more chance to inspire loyalty among the men beneath you,” Norrington said. “Take the Dutchman. She’s more than you deserve, surely.”
Jack sat back, beaten. Barbossa smiled in triumph at Tia Dalma, who returned his smile with a bright one of her own. Will and Elizabeth looked at each other tentatively and then Will reached out his hand to her and she took it with a small smile.
“So what remains to be decided then is who goes with whom,” Norrington concluded. “Mister Gibbs? What of you?”
Gibbs looked around at the others at the table, his gaze resting on Jack. “I’ll stay with Captain Jack,” he said, smiling. “I wanted to rescue him, if no one else did.”
“You’re makin’ me heart flutter, love,” Jack said, batting his long eyelashes coquettishly at Gibbs.
“Mister Turner?” Norrington continued.
“I wish to return to Port Royal and set up shop as a blacksmith.” A small, sad smile played about his face. Elizabeth looked horrified.
Norrington tried not to smile. “Miss Swann? Will you join your fiancé and your place in decent society?”
Elizabeth glared at him. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” she spat.
Norrington sighed. “Elizabeth, what you do with your life is your affair, although I would like to extend the concern that your father expressed to me before I left. He is your sole family and he misses you terribly. You know he cares about you a great deal and wants you out of harm’s way.”
Elizabeth looked at the table. Will looked at her. Jack grinned, flashing gold teeth.
“So, what be yer choice then, Miss Elizabeth?” Gibbs asked the question that was on everyone’s mind.
“I…I’m sorry, Will,” Elizabeth said. “What I told you was the truth, that I only kissed Jack to get the crew of the Pearl safely away, but you have to understand that I can’t go back to that life.”
Will pulled his hand away from her angrily. “I should have expected this,” he said. “Go to Jack, like you wish to.”
“And so I choose to sail with Captain Barbossa, if he’ll have me as a crewmember.”
“What?!” Will and Jack asked at the same time.
“Are ye certain, Miss Turner?” Barbossa said.
Elizabeth nodded. “Captain Barbossa, you’ll find that I can work as hard as any man and I know how to shoot a musket accurately. I can climb the rigging without fear and can cook for a crew if that is your wish.”
“No she can’t,” Gibbs muttered. “Cook, leastways. An’ it’s frightful bad luck to have a woman on board.”
“Done,” said Barbossa, slapping his hand flat on the table. “But ye’ll follow me rules, missy, an’ no mistake. I know yer accustomed to orderin’ men around, but that’ll not do on my ship.”
“Agreed,” said Elizabeth. “Excuse me.” She got up from the table abruptly and walked out.
Tia Dalma looked at Norrington. “An’ what of you, Jameh? What of de Huntress?”
“Aye,” said Barbossa, “Aren’t ye going to hunt us down like dogs? We are pirates, after all.”
Norrington sighed. “I hadn’t really thought about it,” he answered. “There are a few other pirates in the Caribbean besides you.”
“Aye, but none so brave,” Gibbs said, hitting the table with his fist.
Norrington rolled his eyes. “Indeed, Mister Gibbs; well said.”
Gibbs laughed and got up from the table. “Come on, Jack, let’s get to our new ship and toast…everything about it,” he said. Jack looked bewildered and followed him out.
“And I better be gettin’ to me own ship as well,” Barbossa said, standing.
Soon, only Tia Dalma, Turner, and Norrington were left in the cabin of the Huntress.
Turner eyes were fixed on the table. “Now you can say that you told me so,” he said, his glance darting to Norrington.
“I wasn’t going to say anything of the kind, Mister Turner,” Norrington said quietly. “I bear you no ill will. I’ll take you back to Port Royal with me and see that Lord Beckett drops the charges against you.”
Tia Dalma looked at Norrington sharply at the mention of Beckett’s name. Norrington shook his head slightly at her to warn her that it was neither the time nor the place to speak of him.
“I appreciate that,” Turner said, looking at Norrington. Then he too, got up and left.
“Dat was more dan he hoped for,” Tia Dalma said.
Norrington sighed. “I just know exactly how he’s feeling, compounded by the fact that he watched his father die today.” Norrington shook his head. “And if I can help him leave his lawless ways behind, then I consider it my duty to do so.”
“An’ what of Beckaht?” Tia Dalma asked.
“I’ll go back to him. What choice do I have? I understand that you hate him, and I certainly understand why, but duty binds me to him.”
“I know, an’ I expected dis,” she said. They were silent for a moment. Finally, Tia Dalma left and Norrington was alone. He sat at the table and drummed his fingers on its surface. Just then, a knock came at the door.
“Come,” Norrington called.
Pintel and Ragetti shuffled in and saluted them.
“Yes, what is it?” Norrington asked wearily.
Ragetti said nothing, but dropped a piece of parchment in front of Norrington. Norrington unfolded it and read:
Me and Pintel whant to go wit you wen you leve plese.
Norrington was touched, but he sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Mister Ragetti,” he said waving the letter, “This is appalling. Pretty much the only thing that you spelled correctly is your own name.”
Ragetti looked devastated.
“However, your sentiment seems sincere, and you have both proven yourself faithful hands indeed, so I find that I’m willing to keep the two of you on. And in time I’m sure you’re writing will improve.”
They both looked at him and beamed.
“Now go back to your duties, gentlemen.”
They saluted him and shuffled back out. Norrington looked out the window at the inky black ocean. It was time to set sail for the land of the living. The three ships sailed in opposite directions. Within a few days, the watch in the crow’s nest spotted Port Royal.. Norrington watched it come closer and sighed. The voyage had brought him no clarity when it came to Beckett.
Turner stood with him at the rail. “A strange homecoming,” he said, his voice far away.
“Indeed,” Norrington agreed.
A figure waited for them on the dock. Norrington squinted and was surprised to see that it was none other than Governor Swann. His appearance at the lowly docks was unprecedented. The crew lowered boats over the side and rowed ashore. When Norrington stepped onto the deck, Governor Swann clasped his hand and shook it firmly. “I would speak with you, Captain,” he said without any sort of preamble.
“Elizabeth’s not with me if that’s your concern, sir,” Norrington said quietly.
Governor Swann looked sad for a moment, but then shook his head, dismissing it. “I wanted to speak with you before you visited the East India Company.” He steered Norrington ashore by the arm, moving the two of them out of earshot of any eavesdroppers. “Beckett has been arrested.”
“What?” Norrington asked. “Why?”
Governor Swann practically danced with joy, although he attempted to look grave for Norrington’s sake. “The question, Captain, is why not? The charges are…Good Lord, let’s see now…embezzlement, fraud, extortion, and some dalliance with the Admiral’s daughter.”
“My God,” was all Norrington could say. “My God.” He did a double take at Governor’s Swann who had an air of mischief about his face. “You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you, sir?” he asked.
Governor Swann dropped his voice to a conspiratorial stage whisper. “Well, to tell you the truth, Captain, I started building a case against Beckett since he first arrived in Port Royal and arrested my daughter. It took a lot of clandestine meetings and a lot of string-pulling and calling in of favors, but I finally was able to press charges against him.”
“So, what happens now?” Norrington still reeled from the shock of the news.
“He currently resides in the Port Royal jail, but then he’ll be transported back to England, where he’ll await trial.”
“He’ll get off,” Norrington said heavily.
Governor Swann sighed. “Perhaps he will. He still has friends in high places, but at least it will get him well clear of Port Royal, and it will sully his reputation beyond repair.”
“What of the East India Company?” Norrington asked.
“For now, the Royal Navy will take over its operations here in Port Royal until the East India Company can designate a suitable replacement. You wouldn’t fancy the job, would you, Captain? There are still some strings I could yet pull.”
Norrington smiled sadly. “No, but thank you, Governor. Beckett once said I wasn’t ruthless enough for the job, and I’m afraid he’s right. Besides, it would take me away from the ocean. I know my place.”
Governor Swann clapped him on the shoulder. “Right you are, Captain, right you are.”
“I must ask a favor of you, Governor, one that I was originally going to ask of Beckett.”
“I realize that I’m asking quite a bit, here, but I would take it kindly if you would once more grant leniency for William Turner.”
“Has he returned, then?” Governor Swann asked, his smile fading. “What has he done to my daughter?”
“Absolutely nothing, sir. I can vouch for his honor on that. It was she who broke their engagement, not he. All he wants is to be a blacksmith.”
“Honestly, Captain, I’m surprised at you. Most men put in your position would not ask for such a favor.”
“I understand, sir, and I pray that you forgive my presumption, but I ask this of you nonetheless.”
Governor Swann pursed his lips in thought. “Very well, but this is the last time for young Mister Turner. If he so much as looks at me sideways, I’ll hang him for piracy. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Governor. Thank you.”
“Call on me tonight and tell me of Elizabeth,” Governor Swann said, turning to leave.
“I will, sir, once I take care of business aboard the ship.”
Governor Swann waved at him from over his head. Norrington watched him go. Turner approached him tentatively.
“What did he say?” Turner asked.
“He’ll be lenient to you if you stay out of his way. But this will be the last time he grants you such a favor. I’ve really put my neck out for you, Turner. See that I don’t regret it.”
Turner nodded. He walked back to the boat with his head hanging. All the way back to Port Royal, it was as if he had left himself in the land of the dead. Norrington left orders with the boat to leave a watch aboard the ship, and sent the rest of the men ashore to take care of their business. He had his own affairs to attend to.
First, he went to the Port Royal jail. Beckett was the only prisoner. He sat on the straw of the cell with his legs crossed. He still wore his brocade and wig. He lifted his cold eyes to meet Norrington’s as Norrington walked into the jail. At the sight of those eyes, Norrington recalled Tia Dalma’s memory and shivered.
Beckett stood and smiled at him although the smile did not reach his eyes. “You held up your end of the bargain, Captain.” He walked over to the bars and stood in front of Norrington.
“Davy Jones is dead,” Norrington said quietly. “And the kraken is on its own, with no master, yet it seems to have lost interest in attacking ships.”
“So be it.”
“Where’s Mercer?” Norrington asked.
Beckett smirked. “Fled, Captain. It seems that not all of my men are as loyal as you.”
Norrington looked down at the bars separating them. “There’s something I feel compelled to tell you,” he said. “I know the real reason Tia Dalma wanted you dead.”
“Captain Norrington, did it not occur to you that she might lie—“
“I never said she told me anything,” Norrington snapped, looking back at Beckett. “I said I know what you did to her.”
“What of it?” Beckett asked. “Believe me, Captain, she had it coming.”
Norrington closed his eyes for a moment, but the images of Tia Dalma’s memory floated behind them and he opened them once more. Beckett smiled up at him. It was all Norrington could do not to reach out and throttle him. Norrington summoned all of his self control and backed away from the bars. “I resign from your employ,” he said coldly. Then he turned and went to leave.
“I’d do it again, Captain,” Beckett called after him. Norrington stopped and turned slowly. “I’ll get off and you know it,” Beckett said.
“Why did I save your life?” Norrington asked.
“Because you don’t know any better,” Beckett said condescendingly. “A smart man would have let me rot and kept the heart for himself. In fact, you should never have given the heart up in the first place.” He shook his head. “Foolish.”
Norrington walked back to him. He reached into his pocket and took out a bedraggled doll, wrapped in a rag. Norrington grabbed Beckett’s wrist.
“What do you think you’re doing, Captain?” Beckett said, struggling.
“Oh, just a bit of voodoo, milord.” Norrington pressed the doll into Beckett’s hand, pinning it there with his own hand. He closed his eyes and summoned the memory once more. He felt the familiar pins and needles pass down his arm and into his hand before they jumped to Beckett. Norrington opened his eyes and watched Beckett, who grimaced in pain and fell to the floor, where he writhed on the dirty straw. Norrington kept his hand clamped in a death grip.
Soon, Beckett stopped moving, opened his eyes once more, and looked at Norrington fearfully. “Now you know,” Norrington said, pocketing the doll once more. “I hope you hang. You deserve to die, Cutler Beckett, but it won’t be by my hand. You’re not worth it.” Without another word, Norrington turned and climbed back up the stairs and out into the sunlight. He walked down to the shore just as the sun set.
He took the doll out of his pocket for the last time and stared at it sadly. Then he cocked his arm back and threw it as hard as he could into the ocean. When he saw it disappear, Norrington felt somehow lighter. He turned and walked up the road in the direction of Governor Swann’s house. Beckett was now in the hands of destiny. Norrington’s part was done.