Isla de Muerta
"I think we should have headed for Tortuga," said AnaMaria worried
"Why?" asked Gibbs quickly, carefully adjusting course with Jacks compass. "The passage is ahead so it's not far."
"She still has a lot of holes from the battle with the Interceptor and we no longer have a curse compensating for the Damage." Said AnaMaria quietly. "When the sails mended I thought we'd be all right but those bloody pirates didn't fix anything, it's not just damage from the Interceptor causing the rising water but ten years of unfixed battle damage and neglect starting to appear."
"The Lady is holding off the worst of it." Mumbled Gibbs after closing his eyes and cocking his head as if listening to the wind. "That we can be thankful for, good thing she isn't a Muggle ship, she'd a sunk when the curse broke."
"You can hear her." Gasped AnaMaria in shock.
"Cause I can, the Lady, has known me since I was a boy. I use to visit the manor every summer, Neran Ravenclaw young Jacks father and myself were at Hogwarts together, and the Lady considers me almost one the family and is happy I'm looking after young Jack. As if I wouldn't, some of the happiest days of my life were at Ravenclaw Manor with Neran and his family when I was growing up. Never met little Jack as I got busy with me own family but Neran and myself often still owled each other and he wrote about his youngest little Jacklon, more trouble than a Keazle kitten getting into all sorts of mischief he'd complain."
"The Lady?" said AnaMaria with a squeak.
"The ship, Jack had her made out of the wood from the manor and let me tell you she is not happy about the last ten years. You can't really blame her the original idea was see the world and keep an eye on young Jack so he didn't get into trouble, instead thanks to the Ministry forcing Muggle limitations on her, she has been a Pirate ship for the last decade."
"So what do we call her?" asked AnaMaria gazing at the ship with new eyes.
"This incarnation of the manor goes by the name the Black Pearl, she responds to Milady or Lady Pearl or just The Pearl as you please. Jack has been known to call her all of those, or if they start fighting an outraged 'stubborn inanimate magically sentient Ravenclaw know-it-all' might eventuate, I wouldn't advise using the last." Said Joshamee with a grin.
AnaMaria calmed down as she realised she wasn't about to be toasted for treating an actual person like a ship.
"I'll be sure to leave that one to Jack." She grinned "So what do we do about the damage?"
"Go tell Captain Jack, fixing the bloody leaks will be good practice for his magic." Said Gibbs with a frown "It will also get him out of the depression that has him brooding in his cabin drinking rum. I'm thinking saving the Pearl will be all the incentive that boy needs to buckle down and get his control back. Don't look at me like that girl we both know he isn't gonna let the Pearl sink if he can help it. Savvy!"
"Bloody Barbossa, how dare he not look after her, if her structure wasn't made from the Manor she's have sunk," grumbled Jack as he painstakingly transfigured and spelled wood from anything they could scavenge as a temporary fix for yet another of the Pearls numerous canon holes as it appeared. Praying to whatever Gods listening that the fix would hold, even as he did it he knew it wouldn't last more than a few months a year if they were lucky. The wood they were using was too Muggle for the Lady to tolerate long even with the waterproofing and anti rot spells."
"How long will it hold Jack?" asked Gibbs quietly.
"Not long a few months a year tops." Growled Jack.
"To be expected, she isn't a Manor any more, on land she'd have time to adjust to this Muggle stuff and time would blend it into the whole on land she'd have the luxury of taking the time to slowly change it until it's part of her. Unfortunately the Sea be a lot more unforgiving of the use of magic and the stress of it will cause her to fail in the end."
"Aye, good thing I stored the rest of the bloody manor just in case, it's going to take months to fix her right once we get her back to England in a Wizard dock. Good thing we got that bloody treasure to pay for it." Said Jack giving the patch he'd just merged with the hull a kick to test it's give. "We'd best slather on a good coat of tar just in case." He muttered.
"Aye, I'd be going to suggest that myself." Said Gibbs. "Speaking of the treasure, the crew be wondering how ye intend to split the profit."
"Even split amongst us all including young Will as he broke the curse not to mention Bootstrap took out the Dark Lord so we all owe him." Muttered Jack.
"That be thirteen all told, awful bad luck thirteen." Said Gibbs worried.
"What do you bloody mean it's fourteen with your share?" said Jack thoroughly shocked and obviously talking to the ship. "I don't care if you are the one that's been playing pirate for the last bloody decade Milady you're a bloody ship."
"No need ta fret luv, the Lady is right she deserves her share and I'm thinking she wants it to pay for her own fixing, not ta mention her retirement, eventually she'll want to be a house again. The crew will be understanding that need we are all Wizard born." Said Gibbs quickly, no way were they splitting the treasure thirteen bloody ways it would permanently curse the treasure to bring bad luck when used? Which meant they either give the Black Pearl her share of the treasure. Or try to talk Jack out of giving young Turner his cut of the treasure. Which as Jack had so rightly pointed out, they were doubly indebted to the Turner's as a whole so it became a matter of Wizard Honour that they see young Turner and therefore his descendants set up for a comfortable future. Easier all round to just let the ship pay for her own upkeep in future none of the crew were insane enough to piss off a ship that used to be a centuries old Wizarding manor.
Jack suddenly looked canon concussed, "She claims all the furniture, house fittings and statues are hers to give away, sell or keep as she decides and not to be included in the split. It seems she influenced some of the more susceptible of Barbossa crew to take them for her… and the books." he suddenly added, "she wants them for her library which has been sadly lacking in Muggle reference. Bloody hell, Milady anyone would think you were the Bane not me, can we say I think you enjoyed being a Pirate a little to much." Said Jack primly.
"Jack, can we say pot an kettle luv, you aren't going to be winning that argument." Grinned Gibbs deciding to leave Jack arguing with the ship before he busted a gut laughing at the two of them. Neran always did claim the Manor house had absorbed more of the magic and personality of the Bane's of the family over the years. The crew will love this little twist, he doubted any of them would begrudge the Lady her plunder, being from Wizarding families they all knew the habit of often used structures gaining limited sentience as it absorbed the excess magic of its occupants. The Lady was old and a lot more conscious than most of the crew were use too, being the Ravenclaw manor it made sense that she had absorbed their smarts as well, not to mention any lasting effects of the Aztec curse magic that had infected her for a decade. By taking her share she wouldn't be as dependent on her family to maintain herself ship or manor she'd be able to maintain her structure in the centuries to come. Ye couldn't blame her really, Ravenclaws might be brilliant but it was only the rare Bane's like young Jacklon who pushed the family to greatness. Or added significantly to the family coffers, research and such and the odd invention might make a decent living but rarely made you rich, the destroyed manor had long been dependent on fee's charged for use of the famous Ravenclaw Library and research facilities. The original Ravenclaw fortune had dwindled over the last eight centuries frittered away but rarely added to, by the good natured often absent minded scholars the family usually produced. With little funds the Manor had suffered and it had been easy prey for Mad LeStrange and his pack of twisted fiends.
That had been the wake up call for the Wizarding world. The first move of a rising Dark Lord had the Ravenclaw family dead and dying and the famed Ravenclaw library stolen. It was still told in whispers how young Jacklon Ravenclaw returned home from Hogwarts to find most of family dead their bodies set around the dining table as if having supper with their murderer. The Dark Lord had stayed for a week entertaining himself and his followers Royally on the Manors food stores using up in days what would feed the large Ravenclaw family for months. Lazily dining like a King as he leisurely ransacked Ravenclaw of all its treasures. For that week Jacklon and the other Ravenclaw survivors of the original attack of which young Jacklon had been the eldest at sixteen had been the testing ground for any obscure curses LeStrange discovered within the rarer scrolls kept in the Ravenclaw Library. Most only whispered at what had been done to the Ravenclaw children, they talked of young bodies broken and twisted by dark curses. The Healers who tended them weren't talking although more than one Healer had been heard to whisper that death would be a mercy when it finally came. Young Jacklon had eventually been the only survivor as wanting to test Hecate's Bind one someone old enough to use a wand LeStrange had limited himself to merely inflicting physical damage of beatings and broken bones.
Two years later young Jacklon Ravenclaw had been forgotten in the wake of the Mad Dark Lord's attack on Diagon Alley. Mad LeStrange had his men round up every poor soul in both Diagon and Knockturn Alleys then he threw dice to determine his victims fate, evens; a quick death of the Avada Kevada, odds; madness from the Cruciatus, doubles; the loss of their magic from Hecate's Bind. The Auror claimed afterwards that the dice must have been loaded. No normal Dice would throw doubles eight out of ten times. It had been bad whatever those damn dice threw, although he had envied those that got evens and a quick grave, the poor souls who got the odds, might still have their magic but no mind left to use it. Then there were the hundreds of poor souls like himself suddenly magicless in a world of magic, crippled and helpless, not even the simplest of healing draughts would work if they got injured, their very existence a financial burden few families could afford. The only thing left was the one he himself had made; to be Muggle and try to live in the Muggle world.
"Bloody Hell, Jack! Barbossa's lot were busy nifflers the last ten years, weren't they." Said Joshamee in quiet awe, gazing in wonder at the piles of treasure littering one end of the cave system to the other. "This will take years to collect by hand, I'm afraid you'll be doing most of the work collecting it all as you can do magic. Looks like they just dumped it where ever they found room from the look of this." He said in shocked wonder trying to see how deep it was with his toes before giving up.
"What do we do first?" said AnaMaria bracingly but her eyes were just as big at all the gold on display.
"First we get rid of the bloody bodies." said Jack with a look of disgust on his face. "It's been a days and they're starting to rot."
Gibbs grimaced but he saw the sense in getting rid not only a source of potential disease but smell, the longer they put that job off the worse it would become. "Jack's right best be getting rid of them soonest for our health and comfort."
"How? Picking up rotting corpses isn't something you can do without a plan, what do we do with the bloody things?" snapped AnaMaria.
"There should be a couple of boats left, pile the corpses into one and sink it out in the channel." Offered Jack.
"At least it's a plan." Offered Gibbs looking at the rest of the crew. "Jack Luv, do you mind mobilicorpus them into the boat so we don't have to actually touch the bodies." The rest of the crew eagerly nodded their approval of that idea.
"Oh Aye! While I am doing that find some big rocks as well and some canvas and rope or ties. We'll need her to sink and the canvas will hold them so they don't float."
The crew immediately scampered off to look for rocks and canvas, just glad they didn't have to handle the week dead pirate corpses."
A good hour later the boat that looked the least sound was loaded with rocks amongst the bodies, all of them were dammed queasy after having found the pieces of the pirates, blown to pieces with a grenade. Watching the rotting flesh be floated to the boat caused more than one of the crew to lose their breakfast and be eternally grateful they didn't have to actually touch it with their hands. Finally all that remained was Barbossa, a job Jack had put off as long as possible. Sighing tiredly at the expenditure of magic he started floating Barbossa's body to the boat before he could do more than dump it onto the other bodies a Chittering annoyed monkey started throwing treasure at them.
"Bloody hell, Barbossa's monkey how did it survive without food for a week." Snapped Gibbs.
"It's got one of the bloody cursed coins it's a living skeleton it doesn't need food." Said Jack exasperated. One of the crew raised a pistol, "don't bother it won't hurt it, even magic won't bloody work on the cursed, anyone see a net to capture the poor damned thing with." Sighed Jack tiredly sitting on the nearest rock as a wave of dizziness took him.
"Captain, Oh Bloody hell, you've exhausted yourself first fixing the Pearl and moving these corpses." Groaned Gibbs. "AnaMaria, the Captain needs to rest, did you see anywhere suitable in the search."
"Aye, there are bales of fabric all wrapped in oil cloth in some of the inner caves he should be able to rest there, while we catch this creature and sink the corpses."
Jack found himself being led further into the caves to the bales of material. "Rest Jack, get your strength back, we'll need you later." Said AnaMaria gently, tucking some canvas around him as a makeshift blanket.
Jack woke to subdued light, blinking he realised they had left him a shielded light so he could see in the caves. Rubbing sleep from his eyes he grimaced as a chill hit him, the canvas covering wasn't exactly warm but had helped retain body heat as well as a barrier to the chill of the wind blowing through the caves.
Sighing he stood picking up the lantern meaning to get back to work but as the light spread out showing the cave he had slept in he was stunned. Walking over he examined the walls, this wasn't a cave the walls while rock were perfectly flat this was a room carved out of the islands heart, the black volcanic bedrock had been cut with a precision only magic could create. The room was large and had a massive archway leading off to the left but what almost made Jack drop the lantern in shocked wonder was the massive stairwell on the unarched wall leading up to more levels. In the dim lantern light he could make out at least two more levels maybe as many as four it was hard to see in the dim light, it was massive construction considering the rooms were at least twenty very possibly thirty feet in height. Add another five to ten feet of rock between floors this place had to stretch to the top of the island. Closer inspection showed that behind the stairs was another archway leading to another stairwell this one going down instead of up, basement his logical mind insisted.
"Siren Keep, the outer Dragon Weyrs anyway." Came the confirmation from the Black Pearl, his families ancient manor made ship sounded unbelievably smug. "The inner Keep is missing legend has it that it covered the Siren retreat after the sinking and is still trapped by a combination time schism and Ley line disruption. I have decided this will be our new home, although if we don't want to scare people off we better rename it." She mused.
Stunned Jack shook his head; "Is that how I can hear you, Milady?"
"Yes I have moved into the vacancy and can use the keep wards as a conduit to my ship body, luckily this part of the Keep had no surviving consciousness of its own, the Millennia of disuse has destroyed whatever remained after the sinking. From what I have theorised from studying the wards each individual Keep section had its own consciousness as they acted independently and as this part was empty I have had ten years to make it part of myself. If the Pearl is destroyed I shall fully manifest into the Keep wards, not an ideal situation but manageable. Eventually it would be best if the Black Pearl is eventually dismantled built into the Keep along with the rest of myself you had stored. It is not anything to rush; I enjoy being a ship and will be so for many years to come. After I am fixed the remainder of the Manor can be incorporated into the Keep anchoring myself into this structure further. With a permanent nexus on site we should be able to get the Wards Defenses and Muggle repellers fully operational." There was fierceness to her mind voice that worried Jack. He had always known the old Manor had taken the death of her family hard. He prayed the next dark lord that tried for the family a quick death for 'The Lady' wouldn't be so merciful. It was always wise to remember that sentient structures were not limited by mortal flesh, Jack idly wondered just how much of the Ravenclaw Siren heritage the old house had absorbed over the millennia at times she had a wildness he doubted came from their human side. She had to have a lot of Siren in her thinking considering she had blithely moved into a pure Siren structure without destroying herself in the process.
"Looks like you have it all planned, except for one little fact. What if I don't want to move to the Caribbean permanently?" he said sarcastically trying to bring a little sanity back into the situation.
"Really Jacklon, you have forgotten your Siren lore, unforgivable for a Ravenclaw as we are the foremost experts on Sirens in the Wizarding World. The Keep's are almost forgotten relic's of old Atlantis, they were troop transports designed to move to designated ports all over the world to stop Demon incursions. They were Siren built and used it to evacuate Atlantis before it sank. They were abandoned afterwards as the ley line pathways they travelled on were disrupted until the world recovered from such a massive restructure. This the master dock was reclaimed by the Sirens millennia after the sinking as their home until outraged Muggles who blocked their ears against Siren song killed them. There is an area between the Mer and Selkie colonies off the coast of Wales, everyone avoids the area not just Muggles, it is the Mer and Selkie claim where a ghost island appears now and then only to disappear after a score of years. The family research over the centuries led to the conclusion that with the Sirens death the master dock locked into the old Atlantean patrol pattern and moves randomly amongst the surviving ports, staying from a few years to a century in each place."
"So what makes you think we will be able to move it, let alone lock it into place at a single port indefinitely." Said Jack sarcastically.
The Ship gave the mental equivalent of a snort. "The Sirens liked the comforts they got from salvaging ships they had sang onto the rocks, they kept the island in populated areas such as the Mediterranean. As for controlling the island you have forgotten the family heritage, the Sirens were the original Pirates in the true sense of the word, and we both know the Ravenclaw Bane's are throwbacks to that heritage the Turners also have Siren blood."
"Aye, as I told William he has pirate blood." Laughed Jack.
"An old joke in both families," laughed the ship amused "Although you should not be so blasé about your heritage. The Sirens sacrificed their entire race to sing Atlantis to the bottom of the ocean using the pressure of the deep to keep that hell portal closed. It is a sacrifice few remember or acknowledge. Wave after wave they burned themselves out the males were the first to die, in the end they tore Atlantis to pieces by spell sung wind and wave sending it and the opening hell portal to the depths. Their sacrifice worked but only a dozen of the strongest Sirens made it to the keep as it fled the sinking. We both know that wasn't the end of the tragedy, the surviving Sirens had been driven mad by the outpouring that broke Atlantis; their minds never recovered from the power they wielded. They sacrificed themselves to save the younger races and in their madness they ended up preying on those they sacrificed themselves to save and that is all people remember. In the millennia after the breaking they scattered Halfling children to the four winds, sane enough not to watch their mortal offspring wither and die while they lived on immortal and unchanging."
"Until hacked to pieces by terrified Muggles." Concluded Jack ending the old lecture on the families hidden heritage.
"Well yes and it was probably a mercy killing," said the ship with heavy irony. "They went from saving the younger races to eating them, in their madness the sailors that washed up on the rocks had only two uses; food or sex. Not that those used for the second got much of a reprieve most of the time they usually ended up in the larder anyway after a few years of having their mortal minds pulverised by Siren song. Although the dangled carrot of freedom with enough treasure to live off the rest of their lives if they got one of the Siren's pregnant probably made them quite diligent in their duties." The ship said with grim humour.
It was Jack's turn to snort. "They just exchanged one form of slavery for a safer one, the fathers were spelled to exist for the resulting child's happiness and wellbeing. Not even Wizards were immune to the compulsion as we well know, they were the epitome of doting father, Imperious is a poor reflection of what a full Siren can achieve with song magic." Said Jack with a shudder. "It's a damn good thing that talent never bred true, occasionally I almost get there and it's terrifying and addicting to see that power at work. Imperious imposes your will on another and can be easily broken if you have a strong enough will. A Siren persuades their victim until they agree with the outcome, the natural instincts of a father to protect their child overcoming the terror of its conception. I did the exact same thing when I lulled Barbossa with dreams of empire building with the concept of Commodore." Said Jack dryly.
"Barbossa didn't need much encouraging in that direction he already had plans along similar lines before you opened your mouth." The ship's tone was just as dry. "It wouldn't have worked otherwise." She confirmed. "He wasn't idle these last ten years he has been turning this island into a self supporting fort, which he intended to conquer the Caribbean from once the curse was broken. Barbossa was already empire building, you just crystallised how to do it with the thought of a fleet of ships. Until then he was incapable of relinquishing any of his power. He thought he had a way to control you, as all you wanted was me, which made me hostage to your obedience. In that instant you became a desirable commodity the perfect future slave an extension of his will and a stepping stone towards his dream of empire. That is the Siren in you, Jacklon. That is what it means to be a Ravenclaw Bane 'you are the ones who see' you saw all the permutations of that instant and reacted, bringing the situation to the best outcome for all concerned. You are considered Chaos made flesh but you are in fact Order incarnate, it is why your line is the only line trusted with the voice. Each Siren line has a different gift, the Turner's gift is Chaos that seems to be Order, they are ruled by their emotions and the power is that emotion, they are the shield to our sight. A Turner Bane must always be given truth, manipulate them at your peril, Chaos unleashed leads only to destruction. As you my dear Jacklon almost found out with young William did you not." The ship gave a mental smirk.
"I never quite knew if he'd react right, it was one of the most terrifying rides of my life, he's bloody scary to be around." Shuddered Jack.
"But exhilarating and addictive and once you stopped manipulating him he anticipated your every move. Opposite and the same two halves of a whole and that my dear Captain is why you gave him up. Please do not bring up his childish crush on the girl, it would have evaporated if you had shown him any encouragement, he is your other half and you are terrified of the commitment a relationship with William would bring." Concluded the ship brutally.
"This subject is for later discussion, We need the treasure cave emptied and the curse chest well hidden before Norrington turns up on our doorstep. We must convince the good Commodore that the Island has been ransacked in our absence, which means little or no treasure left in the cave and the cursed chest hidden from sight. Can the Keep be sealed and if so will it be shown for what it is."
"I haven't tried to close it, it's not something I dared attempt with Barbossa around. Let me try it." She said.
"Hold let me get out into the caverns so I can see the effect for myself." Ordered Jack suddenly inexplicably excited with a sudden rush of childish euphoria feeling as ecstatic as he had been when at the grand old age of five he had found what he had thought was a dilapidated toy castle in the attic. He with the help of the old paintings stored in the attic had spent months painstakingly rebuilding it using a century old wand from a dusty chest and transfiguration instruction a precocious five-year-old could follow. He smirked he had the feeling this was going to cause an even bigger ruckus at the Ministry. An echo of that blinding resentment at the loss of his favourite toy resurfaced. They had no right to take away his castle just because it was the Hogwarts master model; I fixed it they had no right to take my castle away. All the paintings had agreed Hogwarts needed some secret passages and tunnels, since all of them had attended the school they should know what it needed, we were right they were lots of fun. Remembering how he drove the teachers mad because he could always avoid prefects by slipping in and out of the passages and getting back in bounds without being caught.
Well! Thought Jack irrepressibly, at least they can't shove my New Castle into a Gringotts vault so I can't play with it." Suddenly very happy with the world he grabbed the lantern and rushed out, noticing in passing that the cavern entry was in fact a very thick tunnel, portcullis his mind insisted a place to trap invaders. He stumbled slightly at the recognition this wasn't Hogwarts this was an ancient deadly battle fortress from the darkest days of the planets deadliest history. So what! Cried the eternal child at the heart of every Siren, we have another castle to play with.
"This one, I won't let them take."
Pearl darkly, "This one is ours."