All of Them True
by Rana Eros

Something between a story and an extrapolative essay, really. My apologies for the lack of story-ness. Eliza liked it, which is really all I can ask.

Her Will began as a blacksmith, forging weapons from earth and fire, and so they meet, every ten years, on the shore of Shipwreck Island where first they lay together. In between, their bed is the bunk in his quarters, or hers, the ship she lost replaced at Calypso's whim. Or perhaps Calypso's love; Will is a diligent guide for the sea's dead, and Elizabeth reigns as King and priestess both, reminding the brethren from whence their power comes.

Calypso has blessed them in other ways. Young William rode a tide of water out of Elizabeth's womb, already humming sea shanties. He's a good weather eye and a compass in his heart, pointing him where he's needed. Sweet Bess was concieved at sea and born with a caul over her head, a sickly child who always watched the horizon, waiting for her father to come and claim her. When she was five, he did, and now they come together to see mother and wife, brother and son. There have been no other children, but in truth two is enough. Two is more than they might have had, were she still the governor's daughter bound to land, and not the Pirate King.

Two is enough to give them each one, and Young Will already knows what his duty will be, when his mother tires of even the months of separation between herself and her true love. He'll keep that chest hidden and pass the secret of it down his own line, no living soul to know but Captain Jack, who hunts immortality in every form he hears, lest one should fail him. There's one he'll never take, though, not until the captain of the ship of the dead is ready; then Jack Sparrow will fulfill the unspoken promise he made to bonny Will on the boy's dying day, his wedding day. Then Jack Sparrow will drive his sword through the heart that steers the Flying Dutchman, and take his own place at the helm, with the Turners to guard his heart in trade. Calypso seems inclined to allow such a bargain, for it's her winds and currents that push Jack where life fills him, where he can bring it back to his fine King, so her Will need not see her age while he does not.

It's not the story any of them expected to live, though in Jack's case, that's only because he has no expectations. It's the one given them, though, and they're all pirate enough to take it. Pirate enough to make the story a song to be sung over tankards of rum, how the Pirate King has a heart in a chest, but the heart is not hers, for hers sails beyond world's end, the fair sailor who guides the dead home, the will that keeps the living free.

Sing yo ho.


Pirates of the Caribbean
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