Categories > Movies > Pirates of the Caribbean > The End of the Earth
Prologue and the Capture0 reviews
In which Miranda is introduced and promptly taken captive.
Disclaimer: I own all unfamiliar names. The rest have already been claimed.
The End of the Earth
By Miss Katonic
The darkness, cold and damp on her skin, soaked through to her very bones and the shivered pulse of water breaking on the rocks did her superstitious nerves no better. A fleck of moonlight beat through the dark and glinted on a tide pool. Gold glittered through the shallows, and she knew she had found the correct cave.
In all the long time she had known him, he had never allowed her entrance into this dragon's horde. It seemed a shame, now that she stood within these rough walls, that she could see none of its splendor.
With supreme caution, she picked her way along the rocks, often slipping into the cold saltwater or tripping in a sinkhole. The clouds parted for a moment, allowing the moon to reach its silvery fingers through the holes of the cave. One moment was enough for her to locate her prize. Her breath caught in her throat upon seeing it and she scrambled forward, abandoning all concern for everything else.
Her hands grasped at the clothes as she knelt by the body, and the moon slipped behind the clouds once more. Darkness covered her world like death as she laid her head on the corpse's chest. She felt his face with her fingers, recognizing every feature. Hot tears spilled from her closed eyes as she felt the wound with her other hand, knowing he'd died in pain. Another sliver of light graced the ground several yards away and shone off an object. She looked up and saw an apple, as green and waxy as a leaf, half hidden in shadow.
"Damn you," she whispered, shakily rising to her feet. Tears coursed down her cheeks. The moon found victory again, and shone full force through the cracks and holes in the cave, illuminating the body. The dark blood, dried and stiff, absorbed the light as she gazed down at it. A shriek ripped itself from her throat and she seized her hair in her passion.
"Damn you," she screamed, her voice echoing off every stone and reflecting back every fallen hope within her heart.
"Miranda!" The girl turned, a smile growing in her eyes.
"Quentin!" She cried, running out the door and flinging herself at the young man standing by the gate. He abandoned the large haversack slung over his back and scooped her into a loving hug and spun around, setting her down again gently and grinned.
"You've grown," he noted, tugging the fifteen year old's hair.
"You haven't," Miranda replied with a laugh as she looked straight into her brother's eyes.
Quentin scowled amiably, and heaved his bag over his shoulder. "What's for supper? I'm famished," he inquired, gesturing for the two to go inside.
"Roast duck- just for you," Miranda answered, making a face. Quentin chuckled, leading her inside.
The evening was spent in comfort for all in the house. The son, glad to return to his family. The daughter, ecstatic to be with her best friend and brother. The parents, thankful that the British navy allowed Quentin Farthing a few days' leave.
As it has been said before, and will undoubtedly be said again: with happiness accompanies the swift passage of time, for it seemed hardly a day had gone by for brother and sister before Quentin had to depart Port Royal on The Defiant.
"And you will be home for my birthday." Miranda insisted, not looking at her brother, but at the ship that would take him away from her.
"I can make no promises; I do what I am ordered," he replied weakly, also looking at the ship.
"The world seems so much bigger when you're gone," Miranda almost whispered, looking at Quentin. He didn't hear her, for at the moment a young boy smacked right into him and fell on his back.
"Easy there, Will!" Quentin barked, and picked the boy up. "Where are you going in such a hurry?"
The dark-haired boy looked up wide-eyed at Quentin, and answered, "The ship's about to leave!" Quentin glanced at Miranda, and then picked up his bag.
"You heard the boy," he said with resignation, "I need to go now." He seized Miranda in a hug, and then turned away. The boy, Will, followed hastily, looking back once at Miranda before ascending the gangplank.
"Pirates?" Miranda's mother sounded incredulous.
"He died an honorable death, of that you can be assured," the general said softly. Miranda looked at the floor, scarcely willing to believe the words spoken.
"Pirates are cowards, ma'am," the general continued, "the cheat and betray every code of decent humanity to get what they want. Even so, The Defiant was well-guarded, but report claims the ambush was at night."
"That reason does not stand on its own. Quentin was trained to fight in all conditions, was he not?" Miranda's father argued. The general's face remained impassive, but a muscle tightened in his neck.
"My superiors, sir," he began solidly, "are under the impression that the captain of The Defiant was not in his right mind when the attack occurred."
The father remained silent and stared at the general. The latter tilted his head in a gesture of humoring his will, and finished, "If you must know, the records recovered ramble on about a ship of cursed pirates that become rotting corpses in the moonlight. Why the captain was even allowed to control the ship is beyond me, but if you will allow me, sir, I have fourteen other families to inform of the death of their son, including a widowed mother who will never see her ten year old son again."
The general stood, red-faced and irritated, and left. Miranda's mother burst into tears as her father held her close. Miranda stood in the doorway, holding it for support as she closed her eyes and wept. Wept for her brother and all the other sailors who met their death upon the sea. For little Will, who was so young and eager for life. For her parents and for a place in her heart that would never be whole again.
Three years passed without ceremony. One evening Miranda found herself sitting on a high cliff by the sea with her friend Antony Murtogg by her side.
Antony, a guard of the queen's navy, had met Miranda some months ago at a military function, and the two had become inseparable since. Antony did not possess great quantities of intelligence, but his loyalty and love were strong enough for his friends to overlook his often slow-witted comments. Antony did not like to talk much, perhaps he realized how simple his remarks could sound or perhaps he preferred quiet, but he was a thoughtful listener, and no silence with Antony could ever be considered an awkward silence.
Miranda leaned back, watching the blue-gray horizon in thought while Antony pondered ways he could "accidently" put his hand on hers. She looked rather pretty in the sunset, he noted, appreciating the way the falling sunlight banked off her loose curls.
A ship bell sounded in the distance and Miranda jerked, looking around. Seeing his chance, Antony sat up straighter and flung his arm forward. The plan had been to softly brush his hand across hers, but he miscalculated. His hand caught her wrist; the wrist, unfortunately, that she had been supporting her weight on. She flailed backwards with absolutely no grace or dignity to save her. Antony sighed.
"Isn't it late for the bells?" Miranda asked, looking up from the grass at Antony as if nothing had happened. Antony nodded, standing up and turning toward town. Miranda, however, looked the other way, and promptly gasped.
Port Royal was nestled in a bay, and the outcropping of rock that she and Antony rested on not only overlooked her town, but also a small cove shielded from the view of the British port. During the day the cove was a labyrinth of coral and sharp rocks, but as the tide came in it harbored small vessels of men that couldn't afford docking space in Port Royal. This evening only one ship dominated the cove.
It was made of wood dark with age and sails ragged with neglect. On the mast hung a black flag. There was no wind to pull it, withholding the identity of the ship's master.
Miranda tugged at Antony's jacket and pointed to the ship. Antony frowned. "Not many ships that big would risk that place."
A wind lifted Miranda's hair from her face, and she scrutinized the mystery ship. The same wind passed down the cliff and ruffled the flag long enough for the crossbones to become evident.
"Pirates!" She hissed, hate and anger welling within her heart. Antony, aware of her tragic past, understood her feelings as he watched a small boat full of pirates row to shore. He knew he had to report their presence, but the only way down the cliff was a path that went towards the cove and then wrapped back to Port Royal. He couldn't send Miranda back to town without the risk of pirates intercepting the path. He turned towards her, and knew that she also realized this.
"I need to go," he said hesitantly. "Stay here and stay low. I'll be back with help as soon as I can."
"But-" Miranda protested, but Antony had already taken off down the path, and there was nothing left to do but wait.
When Quentin had been killed, Miranda's perception of pirates had transformed from a nuisance and mild hazard to fearsome monsters disguised as humans. The mere thought that such beasts were so near consumed her with such horror and fury that she knew not whether she would rather run away or run to them to seek her vengeance.
She looked down at the dress she was wearing, and at her pale, smooth hands. A slight smile passed her lips as she realized what foolishness it would be to try to take on a crew of pirates. As she chuckled to herself, she looked down and noticed something long and slim half-hidden in the long grass.
Antony had taken off his belt so he could relax more as they sat together, and had left it and his pistol on the ground. True to his character, he had forgotten it in the moment of haste. Cautiously, Miranda picked up the pistol and turned it over in her hands. She held it at an arm's length, aiming it at the ship's flag.
A cannon at Port Royal sounded. The alarm had been set in motion, but Miranda had been startled. Her fingers slipped and fired the gun into the sky.
The sound echoed into the cove, and she heard several shouts ring out from the ship. Panic seized her common senses as she realized she'd given away her position, and she began running down the path. Night had fallen and upon entering the sparse forest she could hardly see anything. She paused, hoping for her eyes to adjust. Footsteps clambered towards her and she picked up her skirts and ran. A pair of thick hands clamped down on her arms and a growling chuckle trickled from behind her.
"Let go of me!" She screamed, terror choking her voice.
"You fired a gun at us." His scratched words were next to her head, his hot breath in her ear.
"Bang!" a second voice contributed, and then burst out in manic laughter.
"I didn't mean to; let me go!" Miranda begged, squirming against his tight grip.
"I think she needs a lesson taught to 'er, eh? Silly girl needs t'know which toys are dangerous."
"Silly girl, silly girl," the second man parroted in a sing-song tone.
"We heard the cannons," the first man hissed raggedly, "now when d'you suppose the coats will be here?"
"Any minute," Miranda replied hatefully.
"In that case . . ." the growling voice trailed off, and Miranda found herself being lifted off her feet and slung over the man's shoulder like a sack of grain.
"Time to go, silly girl," the second man sang, skipping along behind them as the man carrying her hastened his pace down the cliff.
Miranda screamed, hoping her voice would carry. Neither man seemed to care that she was so adamantly protesting the current situation. After a few minutes the men stopped, and she was flung to the ground. The wind was knocked from her chest as she hit the sand, and several new voices began jeering at her.
"Time to meet da cap'tin, poppet. 'E's angry wiv you."
The moon was hidden behind the clouds, and though she could hardly make out the figures around her, she knew the silhouette of the captain immediately; his form was intimidating and demanded authority. His hat was interesting.
"And what be yer name?" His voice was low and gravelly.
"Miranda Farthing," she replied, petrified in fear.
"And I take that yer the one who signaled our peaceful arrival with a gun shot?"
"It was an accident," she pleaded, straightening up. A hand fell heavily on her shoulder restraining further movement.
"Be it accident or no, we're still about to be greeted by the coats, aren't we?"
Miranda didn't feel an affirmative word was necessary.
"Let's move, men!" he barked, whirling around. The pirates began shuffling around, but the man holding her down remained close. Miranda struggled fruitlessly against his grip for a moment, and the captain turned around again.
"I hope ye like the sea, Miss Farthing," he began mirthfully. "It may be bad luck fer a woman to be on board, but my men do like new entertainment, and a happy crew is the best crew, don't ye agree?"
"No!" Miranda shrieked as the meaning sunk in, but she was already being dragged towards the small boat and was thrown unceremoniously into it. She gave one more scream before a hand slapped itself over her mouth.
"A happy crew is the best crew! The best crew is a happy crew!" the pirate idiot sang happily.
The room she was shoved into was dark and dank. A wet rope lay coiled about her feet and something metal brushed her shoulder. She pounded on the door, shrieking and hoping beyond all hopes that the soldiers would come to rescue her.
"Anchors aweigh!" she heard several voices shout, and the ship began rocking even more so than it was before. Miranda crumpled to the floor, sobbing as she curled up in a ball, and it was in that position that Captain Barbossa found her the next morning.
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