Categories > Movies > Pirates of the Caribbean > The Promise of Redemption

Chapter 1: Shadowing Glory

by Pink_Rapid 0 reviews

He became the shell of a worn and hopeless mind, and the embodiment of despair.

Category: Pirates of the Caribbean - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Norrington - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2006-07-26 - Updated: 2006-07-26 - 1414 words

Author's Note: This story is no longer a one-shot, and is in fact a romance story. The title is subject to change. This story is post-Curse of the Black Pearl and pre-Dead Man's Chest.

Reviews and constructive critcism are adored, appreciated, and golden.

Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean, nor any of its corresponding and rightful characters, settings, and/or theme park rides.
This applies to all current and upcoming chapters.



A tall man stumbled through the familiar pub, colliding with bar stools, walls, and patrons. His clothes were tattered and splashed with every manner of vile liquid, from liquor to mud to bile to blood. He wiped a stray trickle of rum from his chin, using the fraying cuff of his jacket. Once a brilliant royal blue, it was now caked with a sickening brown hue.

The man wiped a hand over his mouth, a thin string of saliva following his fingers and eventually releasing its hold on him. His dark brown hair hung loose and wild over his eyes, shadowing the contempt and remorse they held. His once kempt and clean hair was now greasy and filthy with dirt. Raising a hand, he scratched his short, scraggly beard with jagged, broken fingernails, nicking himself more than once. He felt immune to it now, and had long since abandoned the virtues of aesthetic decency.

Tossing his empty bottle to the pub floor, the dark man managed an ungraceful drunken swagger to the bar. He nearly collapsed on the counter, before slamming his fist down in anger.

"More rum!" he managed to yell. His slurred words were lost in the sea of other furious demands for hard liquor, and he groaned, harshly yelling again, "MORE RUM!"

Again his cries went unheeded.

While sober, though it was a rare occasion indeed, the man hardly recognized that voice as his own anymore. It was strained and gravelly from disuse, pathetic and rough. Its once patriotic and commanding tone had been swept out to sea, along with its host's hopes and aspirations. In a maelstrom of drunken foolishness and debauchery, ambition had deserted him in search of better prospects. Where his sense of enthusiasm had once dwelled, he felt a dark, bitter hole. The emptiness grew and multiplied like disease, consuming him and threatening to shred the last remaining strands of his sanity, when -as if by some great and terrible miracle-, the void in his heart was filled with a new emotion.


However, unlike its new keeper, it was not alone. It brought with it a slew of new, conflicting emotions. At first, he tried to repress them, but eventually gave into their horrible temptation. He was a walking testament to the breaking of any man, no matter how proud they once were. Where confidence and courage had once resided, now lived happily self-deprecation and disorder. In the confined chambers of his mind, where so adamantly had reigned hope and aspiration, now ruled depression and a sickening sense of depravity.

In desperation, he fled to substance abuse. At first, he avoided the liquor, the drugs, and found his temporary high at the brothels. Ironic that he had ran there to avoid the drink, and that was where he was introduced to it. Eventually, however, his pockets ran dry, and he learned that not even prostitutes would pity or humor a poor man. Spurning him and his empty pockets, they innkeepers forced the man to run to his next escape.

The drink.

Ah, the drink. That fine taste of bittersweet damnation as it burned his tongue, scorched his senses and tortured his throat. At first, it was one bottle a night, but soon one helping was not enough to sate his growing subservience to it. Only moments after the liquid fire trickled down his throat like a consolatory inferno, so too did the spark of need light a raging incandescence in every recess of his decaying mind. He craved that vile taste, that painful sensation swallow after swallow, so that eventually he became numb to it. He became dependent on it, needing it, needing what wondrous and harrowing bounty it brought.

A detachment from feeling alive. The last thing this man wanted was to feel conscious. To feel the shame and regret, and knowing it was beyond his power to return to his former glory. Each night, in a drunken stupor, he'd find his way to the beach, fall to his knees, and scream drunken curses at the sky. Each morning, he'd think of it as somewhat of a "Why hast thou forsaken me?" but knew it was in all likelihood far less cultured and far more vulgar. Yet he continued to seek fleeting solace at the bottom of every bottle he could possibly touch.

Periodically, on the rare occasion that his mind wasn't tainted and reeling from that corked poison, he would vaguely remember the refined flavor of red wine. Its piquancy and savoriness, and how it felt like Heaven to the tongue and senses. It was then that he remembered how Heaven had cast him down, and the bitter reality of how far he had fallen came rushing through him, just like the wave that had washed him ashore all those weeks ago.

To recall the wine, to recall the Heaven was futile. The spurning fire of liquor felt more appropriate in this Hell.

So, inebriated, he wandered the streets of the port, reeking of alcohol and piss and bile until not even the brothel women took pity on him anymore. Intoxicated, he'd attempt to find a rush in bar fights, though in the end they always concluded with him lying face down in the pig pen, covered in a generous amount of bruises, scratches, and scars that a cultured member of society could not possibly fathom.

He'd awake each morning, an impertinent, soggy snout in his ear and the intrusive glare of the Caribbean sun berating his weary eyes. Pain wrenched through his entire body, to the tips of his fingers, an aching collage of stiffness and infection. In his mouth, he felt the steady rising of the bile, and prepared to face yet another un-charming hangover. If he was lucky, an unknown passerby might toss him a coin on these days, though none had the kindness to stop and aid him.

So there he lay, in a gut wrenching puddle of blood, mud, and vomit, never able to be sure if it was his own or not. That was where he would go to sleep each night and involuntarily awaken each morning. All hopes of retaining his former dignity drifted away on the sea breeze, whisked off to another island port filled with customary and kindly folk, the likes of which enjoyed afternoon tea and pleasant ceremonies gathered round a procession Royal Guards. On occasion, he'd catch a glimpse of himself in a shoppe window. Before he could turn away in disgust, he was visited by the same morbid realization that haunted his every waking moment, and stalked his every prolonged nightmare.

He did not belong in that world. Not anymore.

Where he had once proudly stood, there remained an emptiness, a vacancy soon filled by someone far more capable than he. No, he was not worthy of that approval, that power. No longer did he deserve to be regarded as a symbol of authority, patriotism, protection. Fate had dealt him this hand, and he knew no bluff would ever be convincing enough to delude himself into thinking he could ever return to that place.

It was here he was again, after starting a bar fight when he could not pay penance for the rum he had consumed, lying amongst the pigs and fellow drunken bastards who had lost their lot in life. He grasped his stomach in pain, lapsing into short, haggard coughs and pants, spitting blood and trying to rid himself of the awful and dreadfully familiar taste. His body was wrenched by spasms as he expelled what little he had consumed that day, before collapsing between a pig, a puddle of vomit, and his own overwhelming sense of despair.

Nothing could ever atone for this. Nothing could ever repair the damage that had been done. He was no longer a man, merely the shell of a mortal soul that with every rising moon and sun withered little by little.

It was true.

Commodore James Norrington of Port Royal was a shadow of his former self.
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