honorat: (Will Turner by Honorat)
[personal profile] honorat
By Honorat
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don’t have permission to be aboard POTC, mate. I’m sorry, it’s just - it’s such a pretty boat. Ship.

Summary: Finally, here is the epic of the blacksmith and the pirate. It will end on the floor of a forge, but it begins on a dusty path on the way from the governor’s mansion. What was Will doing while Elizabeth was attempting to drown and Jack was attempting to escape? Read on to find out. Contains a bit of a drabble I wrote once, Broken. Historical trivia: there was at least one volcano erupting in the Caribbean in 1719. More movie novelization and missing scenes. This one starts off the edge of the map.

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] geek_mama_2, for the wonderful beta work; I’ll buy you a hat—a really big one.

Link to previous chapter:
Prologue: To Miss An Appointment

* * * * *


Will Turner trudged down the dusty road towards the town, feeling unaccountably wretched. This was more than his usual pang of loss when he gave up a blade of his own making. It was as if he forged a sliver of his soul into each sword he crafted, and the separation always bled. But this other, darker emotion, lay over that familiar pain like a pall.

He should be pleased, he told himself. Governor Swann had admired his work, even if the man still believed that Master Brown was the craftsman responsible.

He had given his best skill and care to the making of that sword. The weapon had been a thing of surpassing beauty—Will was too honest to undervalue his own work. The glowing steel had sung under his hammer as he had folded and forged the slender blade. The balance, the grace, the indomitable strength of that sword he knew as he knew the sinews of his own arm. A worthy gift for a worthy man.

Commodore Norrrington was a man who would know how to value such a sword. He imagined the commodore, resplendent in his new uniform, drawing that slim ribbon of steel—the morning sun flashing like lightning along that damascened blade. But he, Will Turner, while worthy to forge that sword, was not welcome to attend such a ceremony, not even to be credited with his own craftsmanship. The credit belonged to Master Brown, as he himself did. The terms of his indenture grated on his soul like irons today.

Almost of their own volition, his feet left the main road that would return him to his routine and took another familiar path that led up into the hills. It would do him no good to enter the forge in this temper. A swordsmith had to be clear in head and heart to work molten steel into art. Any work he accomplished today would be as murky as his mind—fit only to scrap and smelt down.

Will began to run, scrambling up the brushy hillside on the winding narrow trail. He was panting by the time he broke out onto a rocky ledge overlooking the bay. This had always been his secret place. The place where he came when the drudgery of his days grew to be more than his soul could bear. When he could no longer endure the fine customers to whom he might as well have been invisible—another moving piece of machinery among the gears of the smithy. When the desire for some sort of freedom he could not even define twisted in his bones like torture.

This was the place where he came to remember his mother, faded lovely memories that still ached like an old wound with both grief and joy. Her courage, her laughter, her strength still inspired him. When he should have been her support, she had encouraged him. She had gone into that night of death like a warrior having fought a good fight—undaunted, thinking only of him, never of herself. When she had died, the last light had fled his world leaving only the flat gray landscape of the future. He still missed her fiercely although it had been eight years since she’d died.

And this was also where he came to wonder what had become of his father of whom he had so few memories. Each one was a treasure, a moment of pure happiness before the farewells that had been so hard. He remembered his father’s laugh. The smell of the sea. His mother’s gladness. Strong arms swinging him into the air. Going fishing, once, like the other boys. Large calloused hands showing him how to tie a bowline. A rare, travel-stained letter in a cramped, awkward hand. Bits of odd trinkets from faraway places. All gone now. Lost on the sea like the man himself. He wished he knew what kind of person his father had been. Wished he knew anything at all about him. Wished he knew why his father had never come home—what had held him here in the Caribbean so much more powerfully than his wife and son could hold him at home in England.

Today, he came here again, unsure of the reason, knowing only that he needed this place and this time to think. Across the horseshoe of the bay, he could see Fort Charles and the winding train of carriages arriving for the ceremony. One of them would be the Swann carriage. Elizabeth—Miss Swann—would be at that festive event. She would see the great man honoured, not the swordsmith behind that magnificent blade. As was only right and proper. What had that delicate, aristocratic beauty to do with the fire and sweat and iron ore of a forge?

The answer was nothing, of course. Her father had made that perfectly clear. Man to man. When Will had been sixteen and she a starry-eyed lass of fourteen. She was a young lady, blossoming from a skinny, coltish urchin into beauty that made him catch his breath. He was only a blacksmith. A common labourer, an apprentice whose work and whose name did not even belong to him. His father had been a common sailor, his mother a seamstress. Oh, the governor had not said anything so harsh, but the hard truth had hidden, a palimpsest, behind the kindly, patronizing words.

He’d fled to this rock that day, not understanding why that obvious truth had shattered him like a wrongly tempered blade against obdurate stone.

He understood now. This unyielding bit of earth was where he always came when he needed to wrestle his rebellious heart into submission—a battle he always won, because he had to. To lose it would be to lose everything, to discard all that he was, for all that he could never be.

On this high promontory over the sea, he threw himself to the ground and buried his face in his arms. The wind, like an old friend, caressed his bowed head and fluttered the fabric of his sleeves. Somehow the peace of this place, the beauty of the sea, the limitlessness of the horizon, the salt-tinged breath of the wind always calmed his heart, cooled the heat of his face, gave him the courage and the strength he needed to walk back down this hill into the narrow confines of the life that had been charted for him by well-meaning strangers so long ago.

He had been fortunate, he told himself. Not every apprentice found the capacity to transcend mere employment in the life into which he had been bound. But Will had gradually come to realize that the ore in his hands whispered to his imagination, the flames of the forge burned in his heart, the shock of hammer on anvil rang in his soul like a great bell. In his servitude, he had found his gift. The hours of backbreaking labour to produce plowshares and gratings, nails and hinges, were transcended by hours in which he felt neither pain nor fatigue nor tedium as his genius swept through his art to create a sword of exquisite beauty and strength.

It would be enough. It had to be enough. He would pour the banked fires of his heart into the steel hearts of blades that cut like unrequited love.

As Will lay on the moss-covered rock, his breathing slowed and his pulse calmed. He felt as though he were becoming stone, like lava cooling until its surface no longer crumpled to let its fretful molten core bleed fire upon the earth. He would be impervious—soon.

And then the wind changed. Its warm fragrant breath twisted and crept down on him like the chill exhalation of death. The gently fluttering foliage shrank back against the cliffs as if in fear. Will raised his head and opened his eyes, surprised to see fog rolling into the bay where only sunlight had sparkled moments before. Uneasy memory stirred, but before he could pinpoint the source, mist settled heavily around him and the feeling was gone.

The town below disappeared and Fort Charles faded to a ghostly citadel on the other side of the bay. Will felt even more alone, as though he were the only soul alive in all this shrunken gray world. He embraced the loneliness, wrapping himself in it, resigning himself to it. Only in acceptance would he find serenity.

As always, Will gained his victory, crushing all revolts of the spirit, repressing all mutinous desires. His mother had always been his example in this—the art of gracefully seizing what happiness was given when all else was denied.

Having achieved some measure of peace, Will arose, dusted himself off, and retraced his steps back down the hillside. After all, his work would not finish itself on its own. When he reached the main road, he was startled to have to wait as a contingent of marines quick-marched by him. As he continued his descent into the town, he could tell some sort of disturbance was going on. There was a subtle wrongness to the usual hum of business. And above the clatter of cartwheels on cobbles, the clamour of poultry and livestock, and the loud voices of bartering tradesmen, rose the shouted orders of officers and the rumble of military boots. Something had happened while he had been gone.

Catching sight of Old Man Sorby, Will quickened his pace. For a hard-of-hearing man, Old Sorby always knew the latest news. “Mr. Sorby,” he called loudly, seizing the hunched figure by the arm. “What’s afoot?”

The elderly man turned, wide-eyed. “Murder and mayhem, my lad,” he exclaimed delightedly. “Murder and mayhem!” Nothing pleased Old Sorby more than being the first to impart bad news.

“What?” exclaimed Will. “Mr. Sorby, talk sense! What is going on?”

“Pirate attack, boy! Pirate attack!” Sorby explained with relish.

Will felt his blood freeze. Memory swept over him, blanking out the sounds of the street like storm winds thundering in sails. For a moment he was twelve years old again, stumbling and running along scuppers draining blood like sea water, hearing the crack of pistols, the grate of steel against bone, the screaming and screaming that went on and on until he thought he must go deaf or mad. He remembered a hulking figure of terror tossing the twitching body of a young girl over the ship’s rail. She haunted his nightmares still, floating like a broken doll amidst the flames and wreckage, the water, red with her own blood, carrying away the parasol of which she had been so proud. He had dived into the sea to save her, knowing she could not swim—not knowing it was already too late. He had remained with her in the sea, clinging to a blasted piece of hull; not able to let her lifeless body slip away; not knowing he was the only survivor of that attack. Then the ship had exploded and the world had gone dark.

The world was going dark again as guilt and rage detonated afresh in his heart.

“Mr. Turner? Mr. Turner!” Old Sorby’s voice finally made it through the bloody haze in his head. “Will, lad. Are ye alright?”

Will stared wildly into Old Sorby’s rheumy eyes, recognition gradually seeping back into his dazed expression. His tanned face was gray-cast, and sweat chilled on his forehead.

“Where are they?” he demanded of the old man, the ice in his tone like a cold blade. He was no weakling child now to weep and flee. He had forged his body and his skill like folded steel for just this moment. “Tell me!” Will gripped Old Sorby’s arms and shook him.

Frightened by the ferocity his words had aroused in this normally gentle boy, the old man stammered, “It’s not r-really a ‘they’ at all. I-It’s an ‘’e.’”

“What?”

“Jus’ one,” Old Sorby spoke rapidly, trying to diffuse the unexpected cannon he had touched off. “Really, there’s no need t’ get all worked up. The Navy and them marines were right on ‘im. They’ll ‘ave ‘im cornered in no time, jus’ see if they don’t.”

“Just one?” Will felt his racing heart calm a little, and he let the old man go.

“Aye,” Old Sorby chuckled in relief. The lad had worried him there for a minute. “But ‘e’s caused an almighty ruckus for jus’ one man.”

“What did he do?”

“Do?” the old man exclaimed. “Why only fished the governor’s daughter right out o’ the drink, and then when they tried t’ arrest ‘im, why bless me if ‘e didn’t take the lass ‘ostage!”

“Elizabeth!” Will breathed her name in horror. Never in his wildest nightmares had he imagined that she was endangered by this “pirate attack.” She had been at the fort—surely the safest place in Port Royal!

Noting the return of that dangerous fury to the young man’s eyes, Sorby hastened to add. “Oh, ‘e let ‘er go quick enough! ‘E’s jus’ on the loose on ‘is own now.”

She was safe, then. Will felt his knees go weak. Thank God. Nothing must ever be allowed to harm Elizabeth—Miss Swann. He would kill any man who disturbed her peace.

However, in this case, the Navy was after that pirate. Good. He could trust Commodore Norrington to capture the despicable vermin and hang him by his lousy neck until his face turned black and bloated—and then leave him out to rot, his bones picked clean by scavengers. At that, it was better than the man deserved. Pirates! God how he hated the breed!

TBC
Ch. 2: Unrestrained Piracy

Date: 2005-09-30 04:11 am (UTC)
ext_15536: Fuschias by Geek Mama (Pirate Will by ashleygaea)
From: [identity profile] geekmama.livejournal.com
The hours of backbreaking labour to produce plowshares and gratings, nails and hinges, were transcended by hours in which he felt neither pain nor fatigue nor tedium as his genius swept through his art to create a sword of exquisite beauty and strength.

It would be enough. It had to be enough. He would pour the banked fires of his heart into the steel hearts of blades that cut like unrequited love.


I love those lines. That's Will's essence right there. Devotion to his art, and to doing what's right.

He has a lot to learn about pirates, though: Jack and Elizabeth.

Wonderful work.

Date: 2005-09-30 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for the comments on this piece that you've seen before :D I'm glad you feel this captures Will. I find him such a sympathetic character. He realistically would have no chance at all with Elizabeth, and for her sake, he won't try. I've been writing Will as an apprentice all week. Has that ever become a monster! Thirteen pages and counting. I've managed to fall in love with a heap of original characters that by definition I'm going to have to kill off. I hate it when that happens. But I've discovered the most beautiful metaphor in sword smithing for the process Will undergoes in this movie. Steel is the hard metal needed for a blade to have strength and be able to cut. But it is also too brittle alone. It must be folded into a softer metal such as iron or nickle in order to give it the flexibility that will keep it from breaking. That's just exactly Will. He starts the movie all steel and must fold in the iron that will allow him to bend where necessary. That little bit of pirate necessary to round out the good man.

Date: 2005-09-30 06:31 am (UTC)
ext_15536: Fuschias by Geek Mama (Pirate Will by ashleygaea)
From: [identity profile] geekmama.livejournal.com
Oooh, yes, great metaphor. I am very much looking forward to reading that chapter. Thirteen pages! Wow! And yet, I haven't noticed any tendency toward aimless rambling in your writing, so it's probably exactly what it needs to be.

I had an exciting idea about my end-of-the-movie gapfiller scenario, something quite different than my original idea. Will be working on that over the weekend (if I can find the discipline to eschew writing smut instead... I've had several interesting plot bunnies hopping about in the last few days). However, I am still ready and willing to beta for you, if you like. *bats eyes hopefully*

Date: 2005-09-30 06:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
Thirteen pages and Will still hasn't struck a blow with a hammer yet! The tendency seems less to aimless rambling than to whipping with lightning speed over too much time.

I'm looking forward to your end-of-movie scenario. Let me know if you need a beta. I will certainly keep taking you up on your offer as long as you keep offering. The problem is getting the unwieldy thing done!

Date: 2005-09-30 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cymbeline.livejournal.com
This is fantastic, Disney should have you write the novelization of the movie! :)

Date: 2005-09-30 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
Thank ye kindly. I'm flattered that you think my novelization is worthy.
Alas! Disney has other plans :( I love answering all my questions in my head with these missing scenes.

Date: 2005-10-02 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] torn-eledhwen.livejournal.com
Great description of Will's thoughts and emotions. I've enjoyed both these first parts of this new story. However do you manage to write so much so consistently?

Date: 2005-10-02 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
I'm happy to hear you like my Will. I'm rather fond of him myself. Too often he gets overlooked amidst the more flamboyant Jack and Elizabeth.

As for the sheer volume the muse seems determined to crank out, I have only two excuses--there's a lot of movie left to novelize and I must get done before I die! And I've written stories in my head since I was an itty bitty kidlet, so they come fairly trippingly to my fingertips when I've got an idea. Since Disney so kindly provided the plot, the writing is much easier. Plot has always been my weak point.

Date: 2005-10-04 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] veronica-rich.livejournal.com
I love Will, and you've described him so very well and done justice to his characterization.

Date: 2005-10-04 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
Will is such a great character. He's had so much to deal with in life, enough to crush a person. But he's managed to become a good man with an extraordinary gift under such trying circumstances. I really love the combination of rigid control and passion that is Will. And he does grow and change throughout the story. I'm happy you feel I'm doing him justice.

Date: 2005-11-29 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hendercats.livejournal.com
The terms of his indenture grated on his soul like irons today.
More chains! I love how you work with this recurring theme.

palimpsest Okay, you sent me to the dictionary with that one. Nifty word.

Marvelous detail on everything Will goes through as he struggles to get his emotions under control. Especially liked him as cooling lava.

Uneasy memory stirred, but before he could pinpoint the source, mist settled heavily around him and the feeling was gone.
Oooh, creepy tendrils of memory.

This is a wonderful explanation of why Will was so long getting back to the smithy, and I do like your old busybody imparting the news:
“It’s not r-really a ‘they’ at all. I-It’s an ‘’e.’”
Hee!

must run - sneaking time from work to finish what I didn't get through during lunch - bad me

Date: 2005-11-30 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
How lovely to hear from you in the middle of a rather trying day. Thank you so much.

Everyone in this movie seems chained in different ways. I love watching how they deal with them.

Palimpsest is a term one comes across when dealing with medieval texts, so it jumped easily to my mind. I'm glad you liked it.

Will always strikes me as a spring wound too tightly. He gives in a lot, accepts what others do and say--but he breaks out in places. *bounce* You like my Will imagery!

Since Will responds to the mists that come in with the Black Pearl that night, I figured he would have felt some memory of that first attack, eight years ago, when the mist comes in with the medallion hitting the sea.

Will had to find out somewhere that "You're the one they're hunting. The pirate!" and "You threatened Miss Swann." I'm happy you like my theory!

Jack is more trouble than a whole boatload of pirates! Hee!

Thanks so much for the lovely feedback. The muse is feeling all happy and stroked!

Date: 2006-09-07 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] myystic.livejournal.com
Okay, so this is really part 1. I really should learn to read chapter titles...

I love what you do for Will here. From his sense of being chained to his lot in life and the pain that causes him--not just about Elizabeth--to the subtle way he takes comfort in the sea. Freedom is an enduring theme in your work and it speaks so well for these characters, from the stoic lack of it to the agonizing loss of it to the moments of elation when its clutched firmly in both fists.

He would pour the banked fires of his heart into the steel hearts of blades that cut like unrequited love. Oh, ow. Ow ow ow ow ow. Your writing has a simplistic, painful beauty to it. Much envy and awe.

And thank you for reminding us why Will hates pirates. So many others, usually in haste to carve out a friendship (or more) between him and Jack, don't do justice to the opening minutes of the film. That's not something that Will's going to easily brush aside, and is the reason why there's such hate in his refusal to believe his father was a pirate, and why he has such poingent angst over the fact that his is pirate blood. A great write who doesn't ignore canon! A rare find in this fandom, sadly.

Date: 2006-09-15 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
Yay! More comments.

This was the part of the movie I had to write in order to understand Will Turner. Will is not just about Elizabeth. He has his own suffocating corset so much more difficult to lose because it is self-inflicted. In retrospect of DMC, I'm glad I saw that inclining to the sea in him. Will is no more meant for landbound stability than Elizabeth. I'm glad you liked this picture of him.

As for why Will hates pirates, so many people say surely that one experience shouldn't account for it. To which I say WHAT! Honestly, that had to be the most life-altering, post-traumatic shock-inducing, nightmare-causing experience for a child. It must have coloured his entire life. When Will meets Jack, he meets the representative of everything he has ever feared and hated. Those three hours a day practice could only have been motivated by an almost frantic need to never be so helpless again. No wonder Will wants to kill that pirate and has such a terrible time trusting him. I do try to write canon PotC. And I want to write more canonical Will because I don't see him being written much anymore. It's always good to find a reader who enjoys canon :D

Thank you so much for your kind words.

Date: 2006-09-15 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] myystic.livejournal.com
As for why Will hates pirates, so many people say surely that one experience shouldn't account for it. You can't be serious! And here I thought people were just sacrificing canon for their own plots, not simply rationalizing it away. Again I must shake my head at this fandom.

Much word to Will's sword practice stemming from the need to not be helpless again. So much of his character could be viewed from the angle of control vs the lack of it, in a much more obsessive way than, say, Elizabeth or even Jack.

And one of the reasons I love your work so much is because you write to (and respect!) the canon. In fanfic, an author can't capture the characters if they alter or ignore the events that shaped those characters. All that lovely prose that makes me want to laugh/cry/drink/buy the characters drinks wouldn't work nearly as well if it deviating from the impressions left by the film instead of enhancing them.

Date: 2007-12-07 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reneeks.livejournal.com
I absolutely love the joy you have brought to my life with your talent.

Date: 2008-08-05 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] honorat.livejournal.com
I am strolling through my journal archives making sure I respond to everyone who was kind enough to comment. I know in the last couple of years, my life has been so crazy that I’ve missed a lot. My apologies.

Thank you so much for such kind words. I'm so happy to have added to your happiness.

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