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30 April 2008 @ 04:12 pm
Fic: Saltpetre and Sulfur  
Title: Saltpetre and Sulfur
Author: lizardbeth_j
Character: Elizabeth Swann-Turner (with presumed Elizabeth/Will)
Rating: PG, Gen
Words: 1250
Summary: When you're bargaining with a goddess, it helps to have leverage.

Notes: Another failed comment!fic for the Because We're Awesome drabble-a-thon. This time, the prompt was "Elizabeth Swann, gunpowder".




When the sky turned hurricane-black and the wind whipped the deck, Elizabeth knew her summoning was working. She'd spent two years of sailing the seas, baby in tow, to find the secret. Her lips made a small smile. At least she hadn't overpaid.

The men were below, with Billy, out of the way and as safe as they could be when one called a goddess.

The sea went flat, despite the storm. She faced into the wind and shouted the name three times: "Calypso! Calypso! CALYPSO!"

The wind died so abruptly the silence seemed heavy on her ears. Elizabeth didn't have to turn around to know Calypso was behind her.

"The answers you seek you already know, child," the familiar voice of Tia Dalma said.

Elizabeth turned slowly, one hand on the hilt of her sword for courage and to remind herself of why she was doing this in the first place. Calypso, in the guise of Tia Dalma, stood there dripping sea water on the deck.

"How can I free Will?" she asked, keeping her voice steady.

A small crab jumped off Calypso's bare feet and scurried across the deck, under the railing, and over the side. "He is bound to me. Dat is the bargain."

Her hand tightened - Will had made this sword for her, his soul was in it, and she was not going to lose him forever. "He made no bargain with you," Elizabeth retorted. "How could he? He wasn't even awake."

Calypso shrugged one shoulder. "He were dying. Better to be captain of the ship, than passenger, hmmm? You didn't stop Captain Jack. Him made the bargain by proxy."

She remembered how Will had turned grey and his hand had turned limp in hers. He'd stopped breathing and she had nearly stopped breathing with him. She felt the echo of the same despair when she had thought Jack's desperate attempt to save him had failed. Luckily Jack had saved him. But only for one day... Before Calypso had stolen him.

She narrowed her eyes at Calypso. "You didn't answer my question."

Calypso laughed, a full-throated sound like waves crashing. "So greedy, child. You had your day, an' you got his son. You should be grateful to me."

"Grateful?" she spat, that old fury and grief rising up like a tidal wave inside her chest. "Will serves as your ferryman for all eternity, a fate he never chose and never wanted? That is not payment for a debt, that is slavery. He helped free you, and in return you put him in shackles with no hope of escape?"

Calypso turned her head to look out over the sea. "The Flying Dutchman needs a captain. In seven years he may step ashore again for one day. Dat is his destiny."

"Destiny to watch me and his son grow old and die? His destiny is to be trapped without recourse on a ship of the damned? Parted from his wife and child? No wonder Davy Jones went mad." She shook her head, feeling suddenly very calm. Calypso had no intention of freeing Will of her own choice. But Teague had found her the way to force Calypso, and now she would. "No, Calypso, that will not be our fate."

Calypso turned from the rail, eyes as black and fathomless as the bottom of the sea. "You dare threaten me, child? On my own sea?"

Elizabeth's body tensed and she felt full of ice, but still she lifted her chin, calmly facing down her enemy. "I know how to bind you again. And I will, I swear it," she declared and she opened her other hand. There was gun powder in her palm. Gun powder contained saltpetre and sulfur - things of fire - which were the binding agents in the spell the Pirate Lords had used before to trap Calypso in the mortal shell of Tia Dalma. "I will take away your freedom again, as you have done to Will. If it takes my life and my child's and his child's, we will not stop until Will is free." Elizabeth turned her hand and poured the grains to the wet deck, like black sand running through an hourglass.

Calypso's gaze followed the gunpowder down. The air grew oppressively thick and hot, as if to test her resolve. Sweat beaded on her forehead and started to drip down the sides of her face. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a towering wave, frozen, ready to crash down on the ship. Elizabeth didn't move and kept her gaze on Calypso, hoping Calypso knew she wasn't bluffing and she would not be turned from her course by fear.

"I could sink this ship," Calypso whispered in warning. "You an' your son will die."

A chuckle escaped her. Was that supposed to be a threat? "Then the Captain of the Dutchman will find us. And the Turners will be together. United, there is nothing we can't do."

Calypso didn't look impressed, but her expression seemed irritated for a moment, before she grinned toothily at some new idea. "Would you wait for him, child? You, daughter of the wild sea? Can you be steadfast?" she asked, taunting. "Dere is one chance. One chance alone."

"Tell me."

"If you be steadfast and faithful to him, William Turner, until the day he come ashore to you. And den, he stay wi' you for always an' I needs find ano'er ferryman."

Elizabeth was about ready to grin in relief. There was a way to get him back to stay.

But Calypso wasn't finished. "T'ink you dat you will get your William back? After he sail the uncharted sea of the dead you t'ink he care about land? Foolish girl," Calypso shook her head at Elizabeth in pity, and Elizabeth felt a chill, having never thought of that before. Ten years of being the captain of the Dutchman, maybe he wouldn't want to come back. The doubts were a sudden trough in a rough sea, and her stomach sank with them, and she realized Will was something not quite a man anymore. Is that what he would stay, even if the curse was broken?

But then she caught sight of the triumphant gleam in Calypso's dark eyes and snapped straight. "No. I love Will and he loves me. And he'll want to be with his son. I know that, and none of your poison will make me doubt it. I'll break your curse and he will come home to me."

"Seven more years, capricious girl," Calypso warned. "Be true, an' be there waiting. Else de curse is forever."

Her form began to grow transparent, like a shallow sea, and Elizabeth watched, right hand stroking her sword-hilt. "Keep your half of the bargain, Calypso," she warned in return. "Or I will tame the sea in revenge. You know I will."

Calypso did not reply. But she vanished and the clouds began to clear, as a sweet breeze cooled her face. The ship rose and fell gently on the regular swells as the goddess withdrew her power, and the sea returned to normal.

Elizabeth let out a long breath as soon as she was sure Calypso was gone. Even as bright sunlight fell on her again, she started to shiver. Her shivers turned to shakes, and she sank to her knees on the deck. One hand clutched the old key that hung on a cord between her breasts - the key to a treasure beyond any gold or silver, resting in a chest buried on the island where she and Will had been made husband and wife.

"Mama, mama!"

She turned to catch her small Billy as he raced across the deck to her and she wrapped him in her arms, burying her face in his soft hair. "Your father will return to us, little one. It may take awhile, but he will come home. I promise you we'll be a family together one day."

Turning her eyes back toward the shimmering ocean off the starboard side, she thought the words like a prayer, hoping they could reach him somehow, Come to me, my love. I'll be waiting. And if she's lying to us, I swear I'll tear down heaven itself if I have to, to free you. Whatever it takes.

Calypso thought her weak, but Will never had. He would know she would be there on the day he came home.

In the meantime there was a boy to love and teach to use his father's sword, and a ship to run. Seven years would pass by in a flash - made easier by knowing Will was out there, somewhere, both waiting for the day.

She saw a flash of white at the horizon, like a ship with its masts full of canvas or the alabaster wood of the Dutchman's hull or just the glint of the sun on the water, and she smiled and kissed her son one more time.

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Current Music: Hans Zimmer - One Day
 
 
 
mamazanomamazano on May 1st, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
I like this, very much. You've a wonderful way with words, and captured the essence of Calypso perfectly.

And the strength and resolve of Elizabeth. Very nicely done!
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on May 1st, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! Calypso doesn't come easily to me, so it's nice to hear I captured her at all. :)
stabbycutlass on May 1st, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
In the words of Strong Bad, "Now that's what I'm talking about!!" I loved how Liz handled Calypso, so strong and badass. (And I love the Brethren's method of entrapping Calypso, very clever!) But she also had the softness in her after Calypso left and she was there with her son. Excellent, excellent fic.
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on May 1st, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
She is badass, isn't she? You just know if the curse is meant to be forever, she would totally find some way to break it. And if it meant standing up to Calypso, then she'd do it. Good thing Calypso didn't require a bigger sacrifice though...

Thank you! :D
showmewrtr: Spike Reading Beautifulshowmewrtr on May 1st, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
Lovely, lovely writing. You captured their voices perfectly!
lizardbeth: Anders - no shirtlizardbeth_j on May 1st, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
thank you! :)
entertaining in a disturbing way: elizabeth the fucking pirate kinglyssie on May 1st, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
Man. You do not mess with Elizabeth. I love this. And am far too tired to say anything profound other than YAY.
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on May 1st, 2008 06:06 am (UTC)
YAY is just fine! :)

And yeah, even goddesses should know better than mess with Elizabeth. *nods*
graycardinalgraycardinal on May 1st, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
[wandering over from the drabble-a-thon]

Very nice indeed; properly voiced, and with just the right kind of magical thinking to it.
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on May 1st, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
welcome! And thanks very much! :D
KSena: Elisabeth made by purple_wingskseenaa on May 13th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
That was great! :-D Elisabeth sure aint' weak in any way. :-D
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on May 14th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
thank you! And exactly, Elizabeth is fierce, especially in defense of those she loves. Even Calypso better watch out! :D
Sophsophiaiswisdom on January 7th, 2009 08:22 am (UTC)
I loved it. I love strong Elizabeth and also the underlying optimism of this fic. I wish it were true!
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on January 8th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
thanks! and yeah, I love Elizabeth too. And I'm convinced there's no way she'd just sit around and do nothing about the curse (whether it worked or not... I hope so!)
ayiana: Mountain Lakeayiana on October 19th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
When lyssie found out that I was a lonely wanderer in search of some good PotC fic, she pointed me here, and I'm very glad she did. This is beautifully written, entirely true to the characters, and portrays Elizabeth just the way I like her - strong, courageous, and undaunted in the face of trouble. I'm glad that, more than four years after the fact, this story is still here for my enjoyment. Thank you.
lizardbeth: Will-Elizabethlizardbeth_j on October 20th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
wow, blast from the past! Thanks for letting me know it's still being read and enjoyed! :)