Posted by ??? on Oct. 25, 2018, 10 p.m.
It is a cloudy evening on a small island situated somewhere west of Hispaniola. No one is sure exactly where this small fishing settlement actually is. It does not appear on any official map or chart, nor is it visited by honest sailors. So as the small sloop docks at the quiet village, the staring eyes from every stall, window, and doorway know this visitor is not a person to be trifled with.
The cloaked figure walks with hunched stride through the small cluster of buildings. The only sound is the breath of the stiff wind and the squeaky thump of the open-air tavern's sign against its post. The figure shuffles through the port without a word or glance at the townspeople and then vanishes into the thick jungle barely held at bay by the constructs of man.
Deep in the jungle, at the edge of a swamp near the other side of the forsaken isle, the cloaked figure finds what they are looking for. Standing out of the near darkness, an even darker shape; a small wooden hut, lit from inside by what appears to be a single candle. Lifting his lantern high, the figure approaches the door and knocks confidently. There is a thump, a rustle, and the candlelight inside moves away from the window and towards the door. The door opens, revealing a lovely young woman with a shawl tucked around her shoulders. She holds the candle high and studies the visitor's face.
"I've come from a mutual friend," the cloaked figure says with a gruff man's voice. "I've brought... references."
At that, the man pulls aside his cloak, revealing a stuffed oilskin bag. The young woman wordlessly gestures him inside and bids him to sit in one of two chairs that frame the fireplace. He does so, and she, still without speaking, pours two cups of steaming tea from the pot above the fire. She hands him one, sipping the other herself as she takes the seat opposite him.
The man glances around the small hut. It is cramped, crammed with stuff, but well organized. The walls are filled with shelves, and the shelves are filled with small artifacts and potion ingredients that hint at a master of the mystic arts. If not a master, clearly someone who dabbles. The dimly lit hut is primarily illuminated by the fireplace, though the woman still has her candle, set down on a small table between them. Finally, she speaks.
"So... what brings ye here, to me? Not the tea, I suspect. Nor the company." She studies him, like a predator studying potential prey.
"Nay, lass, I come to ye because I has a... special request." The man shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He sips his tea and continues. "I hear you be the best one to ask."
"Ye mean I charge the least." The woman lets out a humorless laugh. "Who sent ye? I may be cheap but that be as a favor to friends and... mutual friends."
"Yer recommended by the best." The man agrees. "Men like Joshamee Gibbs and Edward Graves. I've met the former, he mentioned yer name. It were the latter that sent me here, though."
"Did he, now..." The woman traces her finger along the rim of her cup, still watching the cloaked visitor."And what is it ye'd have me do?"
"Jack Sparrow. He be... an unusual pirate. A captain without a ship, the man who vanished from under the eyes of seven agents of the East India Company. The pirate who sacked Nassau's port without firing a shot. The man who escaped bein' marooned by ridin' on the backs of sea turtles."
"Aye, what of it?" the woman says, a bit harshly.
"His luck be uncanny, be all I'm sayin'," the man answers quickly. "I wants... I wants to claim that luck fer me own."
"An' how do ye intend t' do it?"
"I've studied the rogue." The man leans in, his voice rising in pitch. "He's got a sword. A sword he... acquired under mysterious circumstances. A sword that's got as many stories 'bout it as he do. A sword what origins can't be traced. I believe his sword be the source of his luck. And I wants to take it."
"So take it, then," the woman snaps. "What'd ye need me for; ye blasted pirates don't know how to steal from each other?"
"I tried!" the man protests. "His luck be... well... lucky. I tried twice afore and he escaped me. I need a sword to not only dim the enchantment but t' replace his so he never knows it be gone at all."
"Aaaaah." The woman sits back and smiles knowingly. "Ye need an exact copy of him sword, and one capable of escaping witty Jack's luck."
"I can do it! Fer a price. 5,000 gold pieces, all in advance."
"I has that and more," the man answers, withdrawing the bag from beneath his cloak and setting it on the table between them. "Thar be another 600 for ye if I has it by t'morrow."
"Come back tomorrow. Then, we shall see." The young woman answers, almost sweetly. Rising, she takes the bag of gold from the table and leaves the room, taking the candle with her. The man sets down his teacup and shows himself out.
Jack Sparrow staggers through the drunken chaos of the Faithful Bride, towards the back room of the tavern, a laughing barmaid draped over his arm. As he enters the dimly lit chamber the raucous laughter of the patrons quiets, and he sees a man silhouetted against the moonlit window opposite the door. Jack reaches for his sword, his hand grasping empty air, and then sees that the man already has it in his hands.
"Jack Sparrow!" a gruff voice booms. "The Pauper of the Surf and Jester of Tortuga! Today, ye finally meets yer doom!"
A look of clarity flashes across Jack's eyes, and he ducks the swing aimed at his head and lunges for... his sword? Aye, in its scabbard, leaning against the wall. Jack draws his weapon quickly and spins away from another blow. The barmaid has long vanished, leaving him to deal with this threat.
"Is that anywaytocarryyerself mate; attacking an unarmed man with... uh, his own arms?" Jack asks, his voice thick with rum. "Have ye no honor?"
"I be a pirate, and so be ye," the man answers. "Now, defend yourself!"
Their blades clash and something on the bedside table crashes to the floor.
"Ye've made a grave error, mate. I drunk better when I fight!" Jack staggers forward, and their blades clash again. This time, the man lashes out with a punch to the jaw that sends Sparrow reeling back. A follow-up kick and a beat of their blades, and Jack's sword clatters to the floor. The man swings for Jack's head again, and Jack tries to duck, falling to the floor instead when he tries to reach for his sword. Still tipsy, he tries to stand, his opponent's blade barely missing his throat when he loses his grip on the bed and sprawls onto his back.
With a curse, the man stabs for Jack's chest. Jack lashes out with a mud-crusted boot and knocks the man's sword from his hand. It clatters to the floor next to Jack's, identical twins joined at last.
"Am I really so drunk, that I see two swords?" Jack asks incredulously. He sits back to consider, and the man reaches out, first for one, then the other. He hesitates until his attention is returned to his enemy when he hears the click-click of a gun's hammer cocking back. He looks up, to see Jack's pistol aimed between his eyes.
"I don't know what yer playing at, mate. But take your sword and go, before my drunk fingers decide to finish you."
The man hesitates a moment longer. Then, grabbing one of the twin blades, he leaps out the window and escapes into the night.
The sun blazes down from a cloudless sky onto baking sands when he washes ashore. Face down in the surf, though it was not the sea that killed him. Jutting from his back is a bloodied dagger, and clutched in his hands, a familiar blade. Its luck has run out, it seems… A skeletal hand reaches down, recovering the blade and leaving the corpse for the seagulls, crying overhead.
Jack Sparrow raises a glass in a toast with his best friend and quartermaster, Joshamee Gibbs.
"So, that man... the third time ye've faced him ye say?" Gibbs asks softly, leaning forward. "Did he get yer sword this time?"
"I don't know for sure," Jack answers thoughtfully. "Not sure why he wanted it, to be honest. It's just a sword, an' not a very sharp one at that." He downs his drink and slams the cup down on the table. "Some mysteries will never be solved, mate. Hopefully, a replica of the sword will be enough to please him."
"But, your sword." Gibbs protests. "That sword almost be a legend itself. What if it ain't the real one anymore?"
Jack gestures towards two pirates drinking at the bar.
"If they're to be believed, it didn't do him no good." Jack leans in over the table towards Gibbs, who also leans over to hear better. Jack continues in a low voice; "Between you and me, mate; this sword be no more special than I am." Both men sit up, and Jack continues normally. "Is me sword the real one? Aye, as I be the one wielding it. Is it the same blade I were given, all those years ago? Who can know... and, does it really matter?"