bushel_o_apples: (Smirk)
Barbossa closes the door to his cabin and only then allows himself to crack a satisfied smirk. Let the men share the meager booty they had got. They don't need to know why they have just attacked a small Franciscan monastery on a sheltered little bay on the Northern coast of Cuba. And thanks to the good friars and their vineyards, they easily accepted the "explanation" that all major ports of the island were under heavy guard by the Spanish Navy.

With a sweep of his arm, Barbossa clears a space in the middle of the huge and always overcrowded table of the captain's cabin. Then he opens his coat and carefully, even delicately produces a small bundle wrapped in what looks remarkably like an altar cloth.

"See, Jack. You have the charts, and thus have the headstart on how to find the Fountain. But finding it and actually -getting- to it are different things entirely, aren't they...?"

His long, gnarly fingers stroke the cloth covering the small bundle, then unfold it to reveal a leather-bound book.

"You see, if you had happened to be a Spanish sailor, Jack, you would have heard a legend about a man who went in search of the Fountain of Youth. A man who instead found and claimed the Florida. A man called Juan Ponce de León."

He opens the book, revealing the same name written with a calligraphy a couple centuries old with ink that has turned to a faded sepia with time. A thin grin bares his yellow teeth. Up until this point, he hadn't been sure, but now he is. The tension changes into exultance, and Barbossa chuckles at himself.

"Can't go around talking to people what aren't there. Lest my crew start having weird thoughts about mutiny. Can't have that, now can I?"

though of course he speaks on because, let's face it, this man loves the sound of his own voice above almost anything else.

Carefully, he closes the small leather-bound book and looks towards the door of one of the cabin's many closets. It's been some time now. But he could use the quiet and time to do some reading...
bushel_o_apples: (At Rest)
Eyes ablaze with anger, Barbossa slammed the door of the captain's cabin closed and flung the useless roll of charts on the table. Whipping his hat off his head he threw it on the table too and paced around the room like a caged lion, his graying hair streaming behind him with every turn of heel.

Bloody ungrateful bastards, the lot of them! and bloody, bloody, accursed Jack Sparrow...!

The rage lasted for only one moment, or rather its hold on his thoughts did before receding. What he needed now was not rage, but a calm mind. With mutiny in the air (And he had been able to steal the Pearl from under Jack's feet not once, but twice, because of his ability to read the crew and gauge how close their mood was to throwing the captain overboard) he needed to think of a way to channel the men's discontent towards another target. And being angry wouldn't help, because he'd try to turn them against Jack, and at the moment that just wouldn't work.

He plopped onto the chair and studied the mundane charts for a moment, then slowly lowered his head. Silence, then a low rumbling sound as Barbossa raised his head once more and laughed. Ah, the irony of the situation. Slowly he leaned back and pondered: Jack had the charts, and that compass of his, but there was one thing he didn't have, and Barbossa was so much better at than him. And something that was always critically necessary when it came to dealing with such supernatural instances as the Fountain of Youth.

Lore. Wisdom. Knowledge.

With no more of that than a few overheard legends and sailor's tales, Jack was doomed to run into the Fountain's defenses and meet a most unpleasant death. And Barbossa was sure Sparrow knew, too. So his headstart was diminished by the need to gather some information. And he didn't have the Pearl, a fact that never failed to spread a warm feeling over the Spaniard's black heart.

With a new spring to his limping step, he stood up and headed for the drinks cabinet, opening the large double doors...

Into the sight of a bar that shouldn't be there, a place that Barbossa never expected to see again. For a moment he paused at the door, eyes narrowing.

Then again, time doesn't pass while I'm in there. And I could use some time to adequately plan how to deal with these mutinous curs...

Slowly, without losing sight of the cabinet's door, he stepped back to take his hat from the table and adjust it on his head. And then, with barely a look at himself in the mirror, he stepped through the threshold.
bushel_o_apples: (Ahahahaha!!)

"Nothing. The final hope has failed us."

Barbossa doesn't just say the words. He means them. Calypso has rejected them, even after he fulfilled his part of the deal and freed her from the bonds that the first Brethren Court had forged. And without her help, against Beckett's fleet and the Dutchman, there's nothing they can do.

"It's not over."

He hears Elizabeth's words clearly in the unnatural calm that surrounds both opposing fleets. Her next words are Jack's, even if she isn't aware, and Barbossa won't be a pawn on Jack's bid for immortality.

"Revenge won't bring your father back, Miss Swann. And it's not something I'm intending to die for..."

So what then? Mutiny and escape? A life of running, trying to outrun the world? Are you going to take the same route you berated Jack for not too long ago?

Elizabeth speaks, but he hardly hears her words, lost in his own thoughts. What he saw in Calypso's gaze was hatred. Pure and simple hatred. But they are still afloat, and this unnatural calm stretches on. Maybe... Maybe there is something else she wants. And then Barbossa remembers Turner's words right as the binding spell on the goddess was broken, and somewhere at the back of his mind, pieces start to fit together.

"And they will see what we can do... By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts!"

Barbossa looks up, hearing his own words in her mouth, and the fire in them, and the meaning of them which is both the old one and a new one at the same time. Mutiny would be impossible now. She is beautiful, and passionate, and desperate, and men will follow her to their deaths without hesitation. For the first time since he met her at Port Royal, he feels genuine respect for her. It takes more than mere will to turn your desperation into true courage. It takes grit, and experience. This is the change he has been foreseeing for a long time now. The change he even tried to encourage.

"Gentlemen, hoist the colours"

As the men cheer and the order runs along the pirate fleet like a flash-fire, Barbossa stays calm. Despite their enthusiasm, he still realizes just how little chance they have. Slowly he makes his way to the quarterdeck, to stand at the railing overlooking the main deck together with Turner and Miss Swann. This may be the last chance he gets of giving the Pearl a good look.

 

[…]

 

Suddenly the rain starts. Thunder and lightning shatter the unearthly silence and the water starts to churn. The two flagships start forwards, blown by a wind every bit as unnatural as the previous calm. Barbossa pulls back from the others, leaning on the board to ponder.  A plan. He needs a plan, but it eludes him. How can he prepare a plan, when there is nothing to hold on to?

 It was hatred, yes, but… Was it towards us? Was it –just- towards us? Or was it something else? She smiled, at first, after all. Just like the sea, is she? A harsh, unforgiving, whimsical mistress, and even when you think you know her like the back of your hand, she keeps a nasty surprise or two for you. And who else does she hate? Beckett…? No, that kind of man is beneath her contempt. She could sweep him and his fleet away with but a wave of her hand, a toss of her hair. No, it must be someone who is beyond her power to hurt and…

 Of course. That’s what Turner’s words meant, right? She loved him once, and he betrayed her. And, as Jack would put it, she’s “A woman scorned like which fury Hell hath no”. So maybe… Maybe she wants him dead. But if she does, shouldn’t she help us? Then again, the favourable wind… But we can’t win such a fight. So what, Calypso? Is this just a divine tantrum and we the toys you will shatter to satisfy your anger?

 Jack. Of course. We can’t win the fight and as things are now, Jack doesn’t stand a chance to find the heart and stab it. He needs chaos aboard the Dutchman, and that’s where we come in, isn’t it, Calypso? We fight a doomed battle to provide distraction, Jack stabs the heart and Davy Jones dies, whether to satisfy your vengeance or so you can once again reach out and hold him I don’t care.

 Because, captain of the Dutchman or not, Jack would never sink the Pearl. And he will be bound to his new ship. So the key is to bring chaos and distraction to Jones and his ship as quickly as possible, so Jack can do his part, all of it –before- we get ourselves blown apart, right?

 Overwhelming odds if I guess right, and certain death if I don’t. I’m going to need a little sign, Calypso.

 

And right then Gibbs’ voice raises over the din of the storm.

 “Maelstrooooom”

 Barbossa looks down at his hand, observing the play of bone and muscle, the skin, the long fingers which so perfectly follow every command of the mind. Even without the vast whirlpool that now sinks before them, this would be every sign he needs of Calypso’s power and her reasons to bring him back. Even the gods need someone to tie all loose ends together and come to the right idea, don’t they?

 “Captain Barbossa! We need you at the helm!”

 The face he turns towards Elizabeth is sombre, almost like unto a skull in its deathly stillness. Then, all of a sudden it animates into a ferocious grin… Or a savage scowl, eyes a-glint with a mad energy.

 “Aye, that be true!”

 He all but shoves Cotton away from the wheel and as he gets a hold of it, his voice rises above the storm, deep and grating and rich.

 “Raise up yards, ye gaggle of deck-apes!”

 He can feel Turner and Elizabeth’s eyes on him, but that doesn’t matter now. All it matters now is that the Pearl faces a fight that no one can win, a battle that no other man would dare enter, and that once again, he must bluff on an empty hand, only this time the enemy holds a full hand in one pincer and a loaded gun in the other.
 The words come to his lips unbidden and without conscious thought. They’re just what the very bottom of his black heart feels now. A life lived fully, and a death worth telling around the world, wherever sailors will meet, now and till forever. Can anyone ask for more?

 

Well, of course. To come to this end at the helm of the Black Pearl.

 “Dying is the day worth living for!”

bushel_o_apples: (Default)
Barbossa sits at what has quickly become his usual spot by the lake, on a large flat rock from which he gets a good view of the Pearl. This time, though, he's busy with something entirely different, as he has occasionally been for the last few days. He holds a small, palm-sized leather-bound book in one hand and seems to be reading backwards through it. His brow is knitted, a worried frown across his face.

There's got to be something. We can't get to the Locker without some kind of supernatural guidance, and I know I heard of something, a long time ago...

His eyes narrow, suddenly, and he tilts his head. The thought is there, fleeting, and any attempt to look directly at it will only scare it away. He has to think carefully around it, build a fence of other thoughts to keep it in.

Singapore. There must be a reason why I thought of Sao Feng first, of all the Pirate Lords. Hell, it's been easy enough to convince the likes of WIll Turner that it's the best option but of course they don't -know- the other Brethren. But why was Sao Feng the first to come to mind? Why haven't I even considered any other alternatives...?

It is a fact that most of the time the mind works without actually telling its owner. Do you know those sudden inspirations that seem to come out of the blue and hit you like a hammer after you've been pondering a problem from a completely different direction for days?

Bullshit. It's all the work of those carefully hidden parts of your mind that toil endlessly like sweatshop workers, without thanks nor ever seeing the light. Feel bad enough already? Good, back to track, then.

The memory sparks up suddenly. He doesn't dare dwell on it, but instead backtracks through the pages of the small book in his hands until he finds it, tucked into a small note on the margin of one of the pages. And he starts to laugh. Laughter that starts as a low sound and a shake of his shoulders and finally erupts in a loud, if brief, outburst.

"Of course! Singapore!"

It's the simple, elegant nature of the double-dealing that pleases him most. No convoluted scheme holds more beauty than a simple, traditional double-cross. And at the same time it holds the solidity of planned courses. Not haphazard improvisation and insane wit, like Jack's endeavours tend to be.His mood has improved much when he again starts to ponder the finer points of the plan.

And now, who? Who do we send in there? Got to be careful there, don't want to send someone exceedingly bright, lest they puzzle out the whole delightful bit of duplicity involved. But it has to be someone who can actually sneak into the temple and get the charts, maybe even possibly fight his way out...

The smile that curls his lips would could wither a whole orchard of apple trees out of sheer wickedness.

"Well, well, well, mr Turner. Seems like we've found you an use at last."
bushel_o_apples: (At Rest)
Barbossa looks around at the cabin. They've all been gone for some time now, even Jack the monkey, to tie up their loose ends before starting to search for Jack the man, but he has stayed behind. Why? Well, because a man needs some time to think, some time to reflect on things after being cursed with undeath for almost a decade and then shuffled off the mortal coil without much of an intermezzo. Not to forget, then brought back to life to such a... Spiny situation.

But enough is enough. The apples that Tía Dalma keeps wouldn't be the best, even if they were fresh, and considering the surroundings everything edible or drinkable in the area is sure to be poisonous or just plain nasty. And he's growing tired of rum and apples, anyway so... Time to look for that door. He pushes himself up from the chair he's been sitting on, and suppresses a small wince. His leg is worse now than it was during his undead years. Who would have thought that the curse of living death had its advantages, after all. With a sardonic smirk he grabs his weapons and starts to look around the small cabin.

[...]

Curse the bloody... Woman! How is anyone supposed to find anything in this gods-forsaken mess of knick-knacks, odd, ends and general pile of rubbish...? He stands again in the middle of the cabin and scans the room, a fierce curl to his upper lip almost looking like a grin for a moment. Then his gaze falls upon the large chest resting in one corner, near the bed he woke up on. His heavy lids fall halfway closed and he walks up towards it cautiously. Could it be? It -is- large enough for a man to walk through, and it would be so very much like -her- to hide it in such a twisted way.

He draws his sword, using the tip to open the bolt and carefully flip the lid open. Ta da. For a moment, vertigo seizes him when his brain and eyes start arguing about perspective and where exactly is "up" but he manages to impose some measure of order and sanity. Yes, it definitely looks like a tavern, or an inn's common room, just like they warned him it would. Weird, but recognizable.

Ah, what the Hell, can't be weirder than having been on all three sides of life and death, can it...? And it is with this so very wrong thought that Héctor Barbossa steps or rather falls through the door and into Milliways.

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bushel_o_apples: (Default)
Héctor Barbossa

January 2008

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