... backstory for the poor guy who says to Davy Jones, "I'll take my chances". And a fic about the guy who said "I'll serve, sir." We never see him again, but if he joined the crew he must be somewhere aboard getting encrusted with sea urchins or similar.
So here you are! I hope this suits, and sorry I'm so damn pokey! Lord, it's been so long since I posted anything I can't remember how to HTML comms.
Title: Will Ye or Nay?
Characters: Two minor, neither of which I have seen fit to give a name
Warnings: Not a one in sight.
Author's note: I may have fudged the years a bit on the second one; the time period when prison hulks held convicts for transportation to Australia may not align perfectly with the Golden Age of piracy. So call it AU, if it please you.
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own it.
Edit Pt II..but it's right on time for transportation to America, so I've changed a geographical location and tweaked a line for accuracy's sake.
Cross-posted to pirategasm and my own LJ.
Do you fear death?
Of course he doesn’t fear death; his heart is true and his soul is right with God.
He’s spent much of the passage listening to the superstitious sailors bemoan an east wind, a west wind, a red sunrise, sharks, storm petrels, a boot laced incorrectly – so many things that he wonders how any of them rise from their berths in the morning for fear of invoking bad luck. He’s never been one to hang a horseshoe over his door, nor leave a bowl out for the Little People, never worried about meeting a black dog or cat on the path; his father taught him well that belief in such things is for fools.
And he’s tried, as a reasonable, educated man (more educated than these men, at least), to explain to some of them that there’s no such thing as bad luck, only God’s will. None of the men listen to him; in fact, they’ve begun avoiding him, spitting on the deck and stabbing gestures to ward off evil when he’s not supposed to be looking. He’s even heard one or two mutter “Jonah” under their breaths, and whether he believes the superstitions or not, he knows that bodes ill for his safety.
He no longer says the rosary in front of suspicious eyes; he tucks his battered, torn Bible inside his tunic, next to his heart for comfort, but he doesn’t read daily as he used to.
“Mind yourself,” the first mate tells him one day. “I’ve naught to say against the Lord and His creation, but I’ve sailed the sea these twenty years and I’ve seen many a strange thing. Don’t scoff at what you’ve no knowledge of.”
And now, looking into at these…creatures, he doubts what he’s known and held true all his life, and he’s ashamed that his faith is so weak. Surely God wouldn’t let such abominations exist. Surely this is merely a trial, the Devil in sea-form sent to test him. He doesn’t know why he’s been chosen; he’s not neither prophet nor priest, he’s just a simple tailor from Athlone who had the yearning for a bit of adventure, the desire to see something beyond his small shop and the same faces he’s known since childhood.
Perhaps it’s a punishment, for not being satisfied with the life he was given.
His rosary trembles between his fingers. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death…
He takes a deep breath, and replies, “I’ll take my chances, sir.”
Do you fear death?
He doesn’t fear death; what he fears in imprisonment. The prison hulk in Plymouth Harbour nearly drove him mad; ‘tis no wonder that he dashed for freedom when the guards were-less-than attentive.
No chore to rid himself o them chains, neither, not when he told the blacksmith his name – not that it was his name, but it got them chains knocked off quick and proper, and that’s all that mattered.
Easier yet to hop a ship bound for the West Indies; no skill needed to scrub a deck and it’s hard work to be sure, but it’s a lark compared to what would’ve awaited in him in Virginia - he'd rather cut his own throat than be sold to a savage farmer in the wilds of America. And sure it’s not as if he’s no prospects; he’s a wicked way with a knife, fingers that can strip silver and gold from a lord in the blink of an eye.
From what he’s heard, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for a man such as himself in the Caribbean. A thief’s paradise, they say it is. He’s heard glorious stories of a town called Tortuga, and he’s fair itching to wallow in the company of proper men once more. Men who won’t be ruled by laws made by fat, powdery, mother-humping bastards who’ve no idea of how the world works outside their own doorsteps. Men with true heart.
Sure the …creature now looking him in the face is fearsome, and the …things behind him bristle with teeth and claws and things that are neither, but he’s never feared anything in his life and he doesn’t intend to start now.
But he finds that he care barely draw breath past the tightness in his throat, that he’s quaking from something more bone-chilling than the sea. He only distantly hears the question when the creature asks it of that Irish tailor who’s been so high and mighty throughout the voyage. He doesn’t have to hear the tailor’s answer to know what it is, though, and though his ears are roaring with the sound of his own heartbeat, he manages to hear the dull, sick thud of the tailor’s body when it slams into the deck, the hollow splash as it hits the water.
One hundred years before the mast…it sounds a right treat when compared with the empty, looming chasm of death. One hundred hours or one hundred years, what might the difference be? He’ll still be alive, now won’t he? And where’s the life, there’s hope, hope and possibilities unimagined. If only a man is brave enough to stick it out.
Will ye serve?
He takes a deep breath, and answers.