5. The Plot Thickens
the plot thickens
"This has to be a mistake." Aragorn said as he and Will looked at the sorry group of sailors lined up on the dock. ".you would be better off enlisting hobbits "
Will cocked his head. "What is a hobbit?" Aragorn just waved his head and told him to forget it as they made their way over to Gibbs.
"Feast your eyes, Captain. All of them, faithful hands before the mast, every man worth his salt and crazy to boot." Gibbs said.
Jack nodded and the four of them made their way down the line inspecting the men. Aragorn at one point noticed a gap in the line. Looking down he saw a short bald man standing among the others. Close enough to a hobbit.
Will made a face as they continued down the line. "So this is your able- bodied crew?"
Jack didn't respond as he made his way towards an older looking pirate with a parrot on his shoulder. "You, sailor "
"Cotton, sir." Gibbs informed Jack.
"Mr. Cotton. Do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death?" Mr. Cotton Answer me "
Gibbs cleared his throat. "He's a mute, sir. Had his bloody tongue cut out, so he trained the parrot to talk for him. No one's yet figured out how." Mr. Cotton opened his mouth to prove he had no tongue. Jack made a face like he'd just eaten a lemon, while Will leaned back and Aragorn stood staring with his jaw dropped.
Jack started to walk past Cotton, when he turned and looked at the parrot. "Mr. Cotton's.parrot, same question."
The parrot squawked and flapped it's wings. "Wind in the sails Wind in the sails "
Gibbs raised an eyebrow and looked at Jack. "Mostly, we figure, that means 'yes'."
Jack just nodded. "O' course it does." and turned to face Will and Aragorn. ".satisfied?"
Will sighed. "Well, you've proven that they're mad." A feminine voice rose from further down the line, "And what's the benefit for us?"
Aragorn and Will followed Jack to the end of the line and watched as he took the sailor's hat off and cringed. "Ana Maria." Ana Maria slapped Jack so hard that his head snapped around. Will looked disgusted with Jack while Aragorn went into a fit of laughter. "I suppose you didn't deserve that one either?"
"No, that one I deserved." Jack turned back to an enraged Ana Maria.
"You stole my BOAT "
Jack smiled innocently. "Actually." She hit him again, and again snapped his head around, causing Aragorn to laugh harder. ".borrowed, borrowed without permission. But with every intention of bringing it back to you."
Her eyes narrowed. "But you DIDN'T "
Jack looked frantic, trying to placate the angry woman. "You'll get another one "
Ana Maria looked at him skeptically. "I will?"
Will took a step forward. "A better one "
Jack nodded in agreement. "A better one "
Will looked around, then spotted the Interceptor and pointed at it. "That one."
Jack turned and looked at him. "What one." Aragorn, who was still red-faced and giggling pointed out to the Interceptor. ".that one?" Will raised his eyebrows and Jack moaned, but turned back to face Ana Maria. "Aye That one. What say you?"
The whole crew agreed and began heading off as Gibbs came up to Jack. "No, no, no, no, no, its frightful bad luck to bring a woman aboard, sir."
"It'd be far worse not to." Jack muttered.
Waves crashed against the Interceptor as she sailed through a heavy storm. Jack remained at his place by the wheel, constantly checking his compass and making direction changes when needed as the downpour continued, and the rest of the crew struggled to keep the sails and everything on and below deck in place.
Aragorn and Will struggled to pull a rogue rope over to Gibbs. Will called out over the noise of the storm, "How can we sail to an island that nobody can find, with a compass that doesn't work?"
Aragorn's head shot up. "It doesn't work ? I told you he was mad "
Gibbs grabbed the rope and began tying it down. "Aye, the compass doesn't point north, but we're not trying to find north, are we?" Gibbs left the two and made his way to Jack to try to convince him to stop.
Jack shook his head. "She can hold a bit longer."
"What's in your head that's put you in such a fine mood, Captain?"
Jack smiled broadly and turned the wheel slightly. "We're catching up."
The storm had died by daybreak, and a few hours after that they reached the dreaded waters of Isla de Muerta. Aragorn made his way up from below deck to find everyone was now standing by the railing and looking rather glum. Shrugging into his old, worn leather overcoat, he made his way over to the others and stood next to Gibbs. Looking down into the water he saw the many sunken ships just below the surface.
Gibbs shook his head. "Puts a chill in the bones how many honest sailors have been claimed by this passage." Gibbs turned and walked away, followed closely by Aragorn and Will, who looked at Jack and watched him again check the compass and turn the wheel ever so slightly.
Will looked to Gibbs. "How is it that Jack came by that compass?"
"Not a lot known about Jack Sparrow before he turned up in Tortuga with a mind to go after the treasure of Isla de Muerta. That was before I met him. That was when he was captain of the Black Pearl."
Aragorn frowned. "He was captain of the Black Pearl?"
Gibbs nodded. Will turned and looked back at Jack again. "He failed to mention that."
Gibbs looked at Will as he spoke. "He places things closer to the vest now. And a hard learned lesson it was. See, three days out on the venture the first mate comes to him and says everything's an equal share, as should be the location of the treasure. So, Jack gives up the bearings. That night there was a mutiny. They marooned Jack on an island and left him to die, but not before he'd gone mad with the heat."
"Ah, so that's the reason for the." Will began imitating Jack.
Aragorn shook his head. "No, no, you have his face all wrong, it's kind of like." Gibbs found himself suppressing a laugh as Aragorn mimicked Jack's facial expressions perfectly.
Smiling slightly, Gibbs continued. "Reason's got nothing to do with it. Now, when a man is marooned, he's given a pistol with a single shot. Well, it won't do much good hunting or to be rescued. But after three weeks of starving belly and thirst, that pistol starts to look real friendly." Gibbs formed a pistol with his fingers and rested his fingertips against his temple. Aragorn shivered. Gibbs didn't seem to notice. "But Jack made it off that island and he still has that one shot. Oh, but he won't use it though, save for one man. his mutinous first mate."
Will narrowed his eyes. "Barbossa. How did Jack get off the island?"
Gibbs nodded. "Well, I'll tell you. He waded out into the shallows and he waited there three days and three nights till all manner of sea creatures came and acclimated to his presence. And on the fourth morning he roped himself a coupled of sea turtles, harnessed them together and made a raft."
Aragorn gave Gibbs a disbelieving look. "Sea turtles?"
Gibbs nodded. "Aye, sea turtles."
Will looked puzzled. "What did he use for rope?" Now it was Gibbs turn to look puzzled, what had Jack used for rope?
"Human hair." All three turned to see Jack standing behind them, ".from me back." Jack moved past them, and gave the order to drop the anchor, and announced that he, Will, and Strider were going ashore.
Gibbs called out to Jack. "Captain What if the worst should happen?"
Jack gave him a grim look. "Keep to the Code."
Gibbs nodded. "Aye, the Code."
Jack was now rowing a boat through the dark caves of Isla de Muerta while Will held out a lantern for light and Aragorn sat back. With nothing else to do, the ranger decided to light his pipe. He hadn't had time for a smoke for a while.
Will's curiosity got the better of him and he addressed Jack. "What code is Gibbs to keep to if the worst should happen?"
Aragorn and Will turned to Jack for an explanation. "Pirate's code. Any man that falls behind is left behind."
Aragorn huffed. "Nice code."
Will looked annoyed. "No heroes amongst thieves, eh?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "You know, for having such a bleak outlook on pirates, you're well on your way to becoming one. Sprung a man from jail, commandeered a ship of the Fleet, sailed with a buccaneer crew out of Tortuga." Jack caught Will looking over the side of the boat at the gold and silver pieces scattered about in the water. ".and you're completely obsessed with treasure."
Jack rowed the boat up to the shallows and they got out while Will protested Jack's assessment. "That's not true. I'm not obsessed with treasure."
Jack led them up a mound of rock and stopped when he caught sight of Elizabeth. "Not all treasure is silver and gold mate." Aragorn and Will came up beside Jack to see Barbossa's men crowded around a mound of gold with Barbossa on top, along with the treasure of Cortez and Elizabeth wearing the medallion around her neck, standing over the treasure chest.
"Elizabeth " Will got up to go to her, but was pulled back down by Aragorn and Jack. Unwittingly, they disturbed a small pile of gold next to Will's hand and several of the gold pieces slid down the rocks with a tinkling noise. Aragorn held his breath, hoping that no one had heard that, and it seemed like the pirates hadn't.
Jack shook his head. "Not yet. We wait for the opportune moment."
Will's eyes burned with fury. "When's that? When it's of greatest profit to you ?"
Jack looked Will in the eyes. "May I ask you something?" Not waiting for Will's response, Jack continued. "Have I ever given you a reason not to trust me?" Will considered that and didn't respond, indicating that he couldn't think of any reason. "Do us a favor, I know its difficult for you but please stay here.and try not to do anything stupid. Strider, come with me."
Aragorn nodded and followed Jack to an area closer to the pirates. When Jack's attention was fully on them, Aragorn reached into his pocket and withdrew a folded cloth, being careful not to inhale too deeply. Jack scrunched up his nose at the sudden acrid smell around him. Before he knew what was happening, he felt a strong arm wrap around his chest, pinning his arms to his sides. "Strider, what are you doing? "
Aragorn quickly placed the cloth over Jack's mouth and nose. Jack's eyes went wide and he struggled somewhat until the drug took effect and he went limp against Aragorn's chest. "Sorry, Jack, but I can't let you go through with your plan."
Will watched as Aragorn removed the cloth from Jack's face and placed it back in his pocket. "What are you doing?"
Aragorn looked up and was surprised to see Will standing before him with an oar raised as if he was about to clobber the ranger. "What are you doing?"
Will raised the oar higher. "I am not going to be anyone's leverage "
Aragorn eased Jack down to the ground. "And I didn't want to see you used as leverage."
Will looked him up and down. "What do you want?"
Aragorn sighed. "You're not the only one who overheard the conversation between Jack and Gibbs that night in Tortuga. It's time you learned to trust me Will. I told you before we got Jack that I wanted to help you and I meant it." He patted his coat pocket. "When I realized what Jack was up to, I went below deck and prepared an herbal mixture, a drug, that my father taught me how to make. Jack is fine, he's just going to sleep for a few minutes, and by then we'll have Elizabeth."
Will sighed and threw the oar to the side. He still didn't trust Strider but he would need help if he wanted to get Elizabeth to safety. "Fine." Aragorn smiled slightly and made his way over to Will. "What do you want me to do?"
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.