Silver and Gold
Jack changed the rope holding the stone lid in place to metal, pleased that the damned thing was sealed at last.
"Okay everyone stand back lets see if we can do this the easy way now." Said Jack quietly. "Wingardium Leviosa" he commanded with the flick and swish all Wizards and Witches learnt as part of their first spell. He had deliberately concentrated only on the metal ropes not the stone chest itself, as it has proved resistant to magic. "Clear the way to the Keep it's bad enough trying to keep my balance in this mess without you lot getting in the way as well." He snapped as they all crowded around. They quickly moved out of danger, years at sea making instant obedience to Command tone instinctive.
"Well don't just stand there while I'm shifting this out of the way start finding chests and containers for the treasure, we're on limited time if we want it cleared before Norrington and the Dauntless gets here." Said Jack sarcastically. "Bring what ever you find to the Keep it will be easier in the long run." He added in a gentler tone.
"Aye Capt'n" came the confirmation of the order.
Once in the Keep entry hall he contacted the Black pearl " So where shall I place this?"
"Against the wall out of the way." Came the Pearl exasperated voice, "Really Jacklon asking such elementary questions.
"Don't get snarky with me Milady, what I didn't mention is that I think Norrington could find the Keep if he gets suspicious."
"Don't be silly even a Wizard couldn't discover the Keep when it's sealed and warded."
"Well I know that, but what about a Muggle with Siren Heritage?" muttered Jack with a grimace.
"That is another matter entirely! Are you sure?"
"Reasonably sure, Sirens are always attracted to other Sirens, even with my Magic bound I always knew when I encountered another Siren, I had Bill as a template to tell the difference before and after my binding. During that last mess I encountered three people with Siren blood. Young William no surprise there, it really just confirmed his identity as Bootstraps son. The other three were a bit of a shock, first was young Elizabeth Swann, I first felt her as I saved her from drowning. The Siren must be from her mother as her father is very Muggle. The good Commodore was of a similar resonance as Miss Swann it was obvious that for all their strong Siren Heritage they are Muggle and cannot consciously access their Magic it would take interbreeding with a Wizard or Witch to bring forth the Magic in their immediate children. One of the reasons I have no objections to William having children with Elizabeth any child they have together will be very powerful and purely Magical in nature. Although I have my doubts the marriage itself will survive more than a few years, my dear William is much too respectable and proper to satisfy Elizabeth. Do not get me wrong she not only loves William he has the added factor that as he seemingly wasn't her rank so he was slightly unobtainable, Malarky of course given the fact the Turners are a Pureblood Noble House which unfortunately doesn't translate well into Muggle society as most Wizards under the Bind have learnt to their Sorrow. It is quite amazing how young Williams seeming lack of rank and his own lack of knowlege of his own heritage has interacted with Miss Elizabeth's innate rebelliousness as it has made each other perfect crush material for both of them as it made each othe seem unabtainable due to rank and station. I think young Elizabeth will find the reality of being married to her unobtainable crush less than ideal. William of course will attempt to make her happy in all ways and he will eventually fail which is why I think the marriage is doomed from the start."
"Is that why you were hoping for the Commodore to win his suit?" asked the Pearl.
"Yes, they would have been the better couple and Elizabeth would have expended her energy in the cut throat business of politics that she would encounter as Norrington's wife. Her pirate heart is much more suited to the role of Mrs Commodore as I called her. Not only that the Siren Magical Inheritance would not have been wasted merely delayed a few centuries as the combined Siren Heritage would have slowly gain ascendancy and eventually their union would produce a Magical line similar to my own or young William's. Don't get me wrong the Siren in their heritage gives both the Commodore and Miss Swann a few quirks above the average Muggle. The ability to hold their breath longer than a human just one of the perks of Siren blood and of course the Siren's innate unconscious stacking of probability in their favour when their life is in immediate danger. Both gifts are the only reason Elizabeth is alive. She stacked probability so she did not hit the rocks, I emulated her when I used the same spot to fall from, the probability pathway was already warped not to hit the rocks and easy enough for another Siren to follow. Then of course having better lungs she did not drown as quickly as a human would have."
"You mentioned a third Siren?" questioned the Pearl.
"Oh that was Lieutenant Groves, I doubt he'll be a problem Wizard born that one through and through, I wouldn't be surprised if he recognised me, a Ravenclaw first year during my fifth and last year at Hogwarts. A very old family Druid blood originally it's where the surname comes from. Probably one of the Dark Lord's victims if he's in the Muggle navy once he works out I have my Magic unbound he'll play along if only to get his own Magic back."
"I see the problem, we can't just close the Keep and hope Norrington doesn't sense something. Which is a distinct possibility as the Keep being of Siren make would resonate on a level we can't block, both Norrington and Groves will sense something."
"Aye, my fears exactly, we are going to have to leave the Keep open for his inspection. So where do we hide the treasure Milady, if we leave the door open?"
"Go through the archway it is the lower Weyrs, the riders each had their own quarters with a bathroom attached opposite the Weyr. If we use the riders rooms to hold all the treasure they won't be noticed as they can be sealed for security and will look like solid rock once closed. The only thing we need be is consistent by closing all the riders rooms on each floor so no one will suspect hidden chambers against the outer wall."
"I'm surprised Barbossa's men haven't been using them for storage or quarters?" said Jack looking at the empty rooms.
"The rider rooms were all sealed so Barbossa and his men never found them and this floor tends to flood during storms and as they didn't know about the portcullis, they decided to abandon it to the elements for the time being, they only used these lower Weyrs to store parts of the ships they salvaged. Barbossa intended to fill the portcullis with rock and seal it over with cement so the water can't get in and then use one of the exit holes on the next level as a doorway. He had it all planned to make the keep totally weather proof once the curse was lifted and they could feel cold again they decided it wasn't worth doing until then as it would be less convenient to enter the treasure caves."
"You weren't joking about Barbossa's plans were you." Said Jack thoughtfully.
"Once the portcullis was sealed they even intended to bail out the lower ground floor which is always flooded as it has no Muggle way to drain the storm water, he has plans drawn up in his study upstairs."
"Are you telling me they were mad enough to stay in the Keep during storms there must have been every chance of being drowned if the water rose to the upper levels?" exclaimed Jack in horror.
"Living skeletons Jack they didn't need to breathe, and there are openings on every level that lets the water drain out if it rises that far."
"That's interesting sounds like somebody left the windows open." Said Jack puzzled that didn't fit given the portcullis defences, which could be termed over kill if you didn't know what they were made to defend against.
"Truer than you know, the Sirens were so slack in their madness they never closed the dragon exits they left the defences wide open. Barbossa has been using ship windows in the openings on the floors above this simply because he didn't know they could be closed. The top floor is one big space as it was the exercise and staging area so it was big enough for the Dragons to exercise. Barbossa and the crew have turned that floor into a Farm as with the dragon exits open it gets enough sun and is sheltered from the elements. They have made the Keep almost self-supporting food wise, probably a consequence of their constant hunger from the curse it caused them to became completely obsessed with food and were determined to have their favourites on hand in case the curse broke."
"Like Barbossa and his apples?"
"Exactly, there are at least five different types of apple trees up there along with other fruit trees but apples predominate. Another got obsessed with poultry so we have enough chickens and ducks to feed a fleet there is a entire weyr of duck down they have been saving for new mattresses and pillows, another Weyr is stacked with completed bedding all ready for them to use when the curse broke. Then there are the vegetable gardens and cows, pigs, sheep and goats. Food obsessed them almost every waking moment, a few of them even learned to cook they got so obsessed and if it wasn't food it was luxury and comfort ready for their eventual use. The curse turned everything ragged and torn if they used it for themselves so it has all been stored away in preparation. Every waking moment of their cursed existence was geared for being ready for when the curse broke."
"Four floors, five of you count the flooded level bloody hell were all the Keeps like this?" cried Jack in shock at the shear size of the Keep.
"Not all of them. They were purpose built for different functions the closest claw to this one was for non-Siren troop transport. If it was docked that claw would be filled with barracks so I doubt the ceiling height is dragon size so logically it would have more floors but as it is missing we can't just go and see. That claw of the master port is solid rock and will remain so unless the missing Keep is found wherever it landed and a Siren manages to move it back into position." Said the Pearl
"What are the chances of recovering it?" asked Jack idly.
"If the humans had enough sense to close the doors after they vacated after the evacuation it would be hard to recognise, it could be in front of your nose and you'd miss it. Then there is the problem of power it would have very little power left as the individual Keeps are dependent on the Master Dock and its massive sunstone furnace to recharge their Magic. Without that periodic influx of energy the larger sunstones and tandem icestones that are the work horses for phasing and ley line travel would have expired and turned to crystal shards long ago as they shattered. They'd have to be replaced and a sunstone and icestone that size has to be purposely force grown and that takes a few centuries and you would need more than a hundred of them to power each Keep you find. Trouble is that part of the system is lost with the main Keep so you can't grow replacement stones.
"How many Keeps did this thing house originally."
"Five claws originally but some of them have crumbled away which indicates those Keeps are destroyed, what the Master dock calls the palm had the main keep and the infrastructure. The infrastructure is the only part that is permanently part of the island and is by far the greatest area of the master dock. It has to be as the sun-stone and ice-stone furnaces are part of it as well as the giant water purification tanks and all the plumbing that supplies the Keeps with hot and cold water."
"The Ministry is going to have kittens, they will try to take it off us it's massive. Wait a moment if the hand has the water how did the Keeps operate away from it."
"The Keeps have water tanks that got filled before a mission and rain water collection. Think of them this way, the Keeps are the ships and the Master Dock is the port they restock at between missions. As for the Ministry trying to confiscate the Keep I'd like to see them try the actual Master Dock is still operating and has been learning about the Wizarding World and recent world history from me and it makes its own decisions. So we are actually only claiming this claw as our salvage, the actual Master Dock and its infrastructure has traditionally been shared by all the keeps. As first with a docked Keep we only get to say which port the master dock permanently resides at. Which will be off the coast of Wales as long as it considers it safe as it likes the Mer and Selkie in that area but if the Ministry makes a fuss it is quite willing to move out of their jurisdiction. The Master Dock doesn't care where it ends up it just wants its Keeps back if possible, it considers them its lost children." Said the ship disgruntled.
"It's trying to mother you." Laughed Jack in amusement.
"Laugh it up Jacklon, it's worse than that since I'm so young by its standards and replacing a dead Keep, it considers me a baby Keep that needs educating on my new place in the world, its been feeding me Siren and world history for a decade." Muttered the Pearl in disgust. "I'm over a thousand years old and it acting as if I'm in diapers."
"By its standards you are in diapers, let it fuss you're Ravenclaw enough to enjoy learning things." Snapped Jack with a laugh moving the floating Aztec chest into the closest Riders quarters, noticing that the Dragon riders weren't exactly cramped it was about half the size of one of the Pearls master cabins but the roof was only half the height of the weyr a stairway led up to a second floor inside the room, Jack placed the chest along the room wall and unable to resist exploring Jack quickly scampered up the stairs which ended in an even bigger room double the downstairs one. It didn't take Jack long to figure out why, which he confirmed once he returned to ground level, "Am I correct in thinking the difference in size between the two floors contains the bathroom?" A door opened in the seemingly solid wall exposing a luxurious bathroom to Jacks delighted eyes. "Very nice." Said Jack in approval eyeing the deep pool like tub. "Once I leave these rooms you are to close them and don't open it for anyone unless I say so."
"Aren't you going to put the rest of the treasure in there as well." Asked the Pearl.
"No there are plenty of rooms and I'd rather it be kept separate for security reasons." Said Jack. "What's upstairs on the other floors?" he asked out of curiosity.
"The next floor is where the crew lived they all wanted captain cabins so they transferred the furniture from captured ships into the Weyr."
"How nice, is that what you meant by furniture?" he asked.
"No, my plunder is on the third floor they raided a number of French ships and others from china it was all so beautiful so I had to have it, they even raided a shipment of Turkish rugs. It's was all stored for when they got rid of the curse until then as it turned to rags they were using old ship fittings instead."
"Milady I think you went overboard, you have enough furniture to sink a dozen ships let alone outfit a Castle. We also salvaged a lot of the Ravenclaw furniture from the manor did you forget about what was in storage."
"I might have gone overboard but Barbossa kept planning to build false floors in all the Weyr as they were so high and that would have been six floors to furnish, that's what they salvaged the ships for building materials, the next floor is already completed."
"Sounds like Barbossa was creating a fortress to raid from he wouldn't have needed that much space with just the Pearls crew." Said Jack not liking the picture painted, Barbossa could have easily ruled the Caribbean from the island.
"He never would have gotten that far, the Master Dock went into Mommy Mode and was going to move us out of the Caribbean if he got that far."
"Mommy Mode?" muttered Jack "What the Tartarus is Mommy Mode? Are you sure this was a War Keep, it sounds like a house elf nanny."
"Yes it is a War Keep," snapped the Pearl angrily, "It just isn't a Human War Keep. Sirens might have been the big guns Magic wise and the toughest most ruthless warriors the Earth has produced but they were big kids at heart so they made the Keeps as places they could relax and play between battles. It made perfect sense to the Sirens for the Keeps to look after and protect them while they recovered between battles so as they often ended up in charge of injured warriors they started acting like surrogate mothers. Hence Mommy Mode as the Sirens laughingly called it."
"You can laugh now but the Sirens gave the Keeps and especially the Master Dock a lot of decision power, if the Master Dock thinks its charges are in danger it will move away from the danger without mortal imput unless in a battle situation and is over ruled." Said the Pearl.
"So it will move if it feels threatened but if we are attacked it will defer to us?"
"Jack it doesn't consider anything but Angels, Demons and Gods a major threat, anything else even a full Wizard War is an annoyance it will ignore unless someone tries to use it or attacks. The Ministry trying to claim it will just get 'Annoyed Mommy' and the equivalent of a Magic spanking. If they continue it will simply move away ignoring a child's temper tantrum because it can't have the toy it wanted."
"That's interesting, so does the Master Dock have a name?"
"The closest Atlantean translation is Mom, Mommy, Mother." Said the Pearl sheepishly. "Gibbs is at the portcullis." She suddenly informed him.
"I guess I have a treasure to pack." Said Jack with a sigh, moving out to the waiting crew.
"Capt'n, while we have been gathering the trunks I've been giving the logistics a lot of thought, we just don't have enough containers to do it the Muggle way, the cursed crew must have reused the trunks time and again for ten years. So I'm thinking the only way to compensate is if we, sorry you create wizard space inside the trunks add lightening charms so they have little weight and we should be able to contain the lot."
"One problem Mister Gibbs, Wizards space is a seventh year charm and I was bound after my fifth year, I have of course read how to it but I have no practical experience. Expansion charms can be dangerous to the neophyte wizard and are taught only in seventh year for good reason and then only to those considered able to perform them. Inversing the laws of space is a tricky business done wrong it will cause an explosion."
"Sorry Jack, I hadn't considered how young you were when you were bound, I could probably guide you through the spell." He said doubtfully as it usually took weeks to get right.
"We don't have the time, Gibbs."
"Well I guess we do this the hard way." Sighed Gibbs. "How are we going to sort it."
"The coins first."
"In that case, you lot get the big water barrels we found." Snapped Gibbs sending the crew scampering to obey.
"Water barrels?" asked Jack slightly confused.
"Found five of the big ones ships use, you know the ones that are four foot high and about two and a half foot diameter at its widest, we dumped the monkey in one of them as a cage. Should hold coins and lightening charms should enable them to be moved afterwards."
"Best do it by metal as well." Said AnaMaria thoughtfully. Jack's eyebrow raised in question so she elaborated "Separate the gold, silver and copper coins out into separate barrels, it will give us a good idea of what we have here as well."
"Good idea, AnaMaria, easier to count them afterwards as well."
"While we are waiting we may as well pack something else," said Jack walking over to an open chest. "Accio clothing." He called aiming into the chest within seconds clothing of all shape came flying towards the trunk, quickly it overflowed but Jack never let up quartering the caves with the spell until there weren't any clothes left in the caves except in front of him.
"Bloody hell, I certainly wasn't expecting that much and it isn't all female either, if we use the trunks there won't be room for anything else." Said Gibbs.
Jack gazed at the massive pile in thought, "I have an idea," he said with a grin preforming his mothers favourite packing spell remembering how she always squeezed masses of clothes amongst the books he carted to school with this spell. Before their eyes the clothes folded and packed themselves into neat piles in the trunks.
"Jack we need the trunks." Objected Gibbs.
"I know that but they are all neat and tidy, much easier to tie into bungles this way." Smirked Jack.
"He's right, tie rope or canvas around them and they can be easily shifted like this, good thinking Jack," said Anamaria with a grin. "Damn, when I get a wand you better teach me that spell Jack, they are even sorted by type."
"My mother could not stand untidy and heaven help you if you put clothes with the underwear." Said Jack in explanation. "Stand back." he said using a simple binding spell he had seen Bootstrap perform many times to tie them into ten large tight bungles.
'Bloody hell Jack where did you learn that? That's an Auror binding spell." Exclaimed Gibbs.
"Is it?" asked Jack surprised it was such a simple spell a first or second year could probably do it. "It was Bootstrap's favourite spell he used it so many times I guess I learnt the movements and tone." Shrugged Jack.
"What do we do with them now?" interrupted AnaMaria.
Jack shrugged, "Put them with the material inside the Keep we can move it all later."
"Jack sit down on one of the trunks, we can shift this the Muggle way, conserving your strength for the Magic is the main thing. If you give out we will get nothing done."
Jack nodded with a yawn he couldn't hide, that made sense, he pushed one of the stronger looking trunks against the cave wall for a back rest and flopped down, at this rate he'd be exhausted in no time.
Gibbs shook his head, Jack was exhausting himself they would have to pace him and do more of the easy work the Muggle way tempting as it was to leave it all to Jack and the Magic.
"Jack wake up we have the water barrels for you."
"Oh good," said Jack with a yawn.
"Here Capt'n, hot tea with a dash of rum to take the chill from your bones." Said Gibbs gently.
"You should have woken me before this." Complained Jack, if they had time to make tea he must have slept longer than he thought.
"You needed the rest it's not as if we haven't been busy meanwhile. We used the time to light the lanterns the Pirates set up in the Keep and 'The Lady' even showed us how to work the water room. We shifted all the material and clothing to the next floor and all the food supplies and rum up to the galley they made on the top level. Found another fifty barrels up there as well the pirates were using them to collect rain water it seems they never found the plumbing being Muggle and not knowing what to look for, so collected rain water for their farm." Smirked Gibbs with a grin "Ingenious little bastards I'll give them that, had a nice little water collecting set up even has a cart to move the heavy barrels when they fill."
"Water room?" questioned Jack still sleep stupid as he sipped the hot rum flavoured tea letting the heat of it soak through him in relief.
"Aye, handy thing used to get the Dragons between floors so it is big enough to shift a big load, the Pirates never found it or the bathrooms for that matter according to 'the Lady'. It's a room with permanent lightening charms that floats in a well as far as I can figure, sea water gets pumped in and out of the well and the room goes up and down between floors. Very ingenious but the only other alternative would have been getting fully grown Dragons up and down stairs which would have been a nightmare so it was probably thought up in self defence."
"Most things like that usually are, time wise how does it compare to the stairs?"
"A fit person would find the stairs faster, but if you have cargo, the water room is easier and a lot less dangerous. We emptied out the water that had been collected as we don't need it having access to the keep water supply and used the cart and water room to bring them down couldn't do that as easy if we had only the stairs to do it with. Time wise it takes about six minutes between floors so if the lower floor wasn't flooded it would be half a hour top to bottom using the water room." Said Gibbs calculating times.
"So an hour round trip, not exactly speedy but better than carrying stuff up and down stairs. Maybe we should put a couch and some books in there so it's comfortable." Said Jack with a yawn.
"It's certainly big enough to include a couch and still move cargo." Laughed Gibbs thinking only a Ravenclaw would want a bookshelf in a cargo hauler. "I'd forget the books Jack, your father Neran use to take a book to the bathroom and get so involved he forgot to come out again. If I had a Knut for every time I had to retrieve him for dinner or class I'd have been the richest kid at Hogwarts. I can imagine the same thing would happen in the water room, I can see it now all those future Ravenclaws lost to the world going up and down in that room all day long because the book they picked up to pass the time got interesting." Smirked Gibbs.
"Ah! But my dear Joshamee, Ravenclaws have long since solved that little problem." Said Jack his eyes glittering full of devilry.
"Really in what way?" smirked Gibbs.
"The House Elves had orders to check the bathrooms for missing Ravenclaws and visiting scholars twice a day." Said Jack sweetly.
"And the terrible thing is we both know you're not joking, well be sure to add the water room to the list of places to check for those future missing Ravenclaws." Laughed Gibbs. "How are you feeling, up to some more Magic?"
"Aye." Confirmed Jack draining the last of the rum tea even as he held out his hands for help up."
"Everyone in the Keep, flying coins will be a hazard to your health, probably as dangerous as flying cutlery." Called Jack moving over to the waiting barrels.
"Hold on Jack, I don't like the idea of you standing there unprotected." Called Gibbs worried. "Cotton, I saw an oak door in the first Weyr they stored the ship parts in, it looked pretty solid bring it here it will give him some protection as a shield if coins over shoot the barrel, each of those coins will be as dangerous as a pistol shot."
Jack raised an eyebrow in amusement.
"I know your Magic should protect you, just humour me a Wizards natural protective Magic hasn't been tested against things as dangerous as cannon fire or flying shrapnel. No Wizard or Witch has been insane enough to put it to the test considering they are still debating if a point blank pistol shot will be deflected. Your father would turn in his gave if I let you be the first."
"Deflected?" questioned AnaMaria curious, she knew an active Wizard or Witch had Magical protection's they had little control over but no one ever actually explained what happened.
"They discovered it when arrows got popular, fire one at a Wizard or Witch and the Magic warps the arrow path away from them, very dangerous to be standing next to a Wizard or Witch in such a situation as you may imagine, unless you be a Wizard or Witch yourself and have our own protection. Legend has it the Saxon Muggle King Harold got killed that way at the battle of Hastings, hit by a Wizard deflected arrow but it's just a legend. Then of course the closer a arrow is fired less leeway for the Magic so the Wizard gets hit but it's deflected to a less vital target. Most broom accidents are the same, the Magic protects the vital organs so you hardly ever see a broken neck or crushed skull and if they get impaled its never the heart. It makes Muggle weapons less effective where Wizards are concerned. But once you add Magic to a situation the odds of something getting through get better, which is why I want Jack shielded, adding Accio to the situation makes it more dangerous as Magic can interact in odd ways it's the reason Bludgers in Quidditch are so dangerous. It's also one of the reasons Magical swords got so infamous, they were designed to cut though Magical protection like butter, it's a damn good thing they are so hard to make." Said Gibbs.
"Imbuing metal with permanent Magic is not really a Human ability, all the more deadly weapons of the last few millennia are Goblin or Dwarf made. Although I believe some of the more infamous swords were crafted by Siren or Elven Magic simply because it took a volcano to forge them in." added Marty a half Dwarf.
"Not exactly true, Sirens and Elves tended to make their own volcanos in the form of a sun-stone furnace much more controllable and the heat more pure. Humans can combine Magic and metal the difference is that Human Magic is more an overlay affecting the metal properties not imbuing the metal itself." Said Jack.
"What does that mean, sounds like it does the same job in the end." Asked AnaMaria.
"True on the surface but the difference is that the old Siren and Elven made swords are more reliable on a Magical battlefield, the Magic imbued metal stays that way as it is part of the metal. Goblins and Dwarfs can do something similar but not as well they simply can't control all the elements needed for such intricate metal work only earth and fire. Which is why they don't make weapons that often, the forging fails nineteen out of twenty times and the failed metal is useless for anything else that requires spells. Compare that to an overlay which is just that an overlay of Magic covering normal metal it is separate from the object it is attached to as such it can fail if the proper dissipation spell hits it during a battle." Said Marty.
"A very good reason why Wizards now prefer to rely on their wand and leave the sword for ceremonial duties and of cause the Auror are taught the use of a sword as it comes handy when killing the odd Magically immune monster or demon." Shrugged Jack. "Now if you please since Cotton has been good enough to fetch this stout oaken shield I can shelter my frail body behind, get into the bloody Keep so I can start Accioing coins before we loose the light."
Over an hour later no more coins came to the call.
"I can't believe this we filled thirty-three of the barrels with coins." Gasped Gibbs in shock.
"Only thirty of them are gold, two of them are silver and the last one is copper and there is still some more gold coin out by the boats, William and I saw it in the water when we first came here." Shrugged Jack.
"Probably got spilled unloading," muttered Gibbs all those barrels of gold finally driving home that he was a rich man. "We'll get it later, put some lightening charms on the barrels so be can get them into the keep, once on flat ground we'll shift them with the cart. With the charms on them they will only be a few pounds in weight easy enough to shift the Muggle way even up the rider room stairs." He said shaking his head. "How are you holding up?"
"I'm tired but I can still work, leave the first room alone it has the cursed chest and I would rather keep it sealed up away from people as much as possible. Other than that any chance of some more of that rum tea and my coat where ever I put it when I took it off, its getting chilly out here." Said Jack with a shiver. "I think we have a storm coming late tonight, while you are in the Keep ask the Pearl if she is sheltered enough or do we have to move her before the storm after ten years she should know the best spot to anchor out a storm."
"I'll arrange it, what will we call next?"
"I was thinking the jewellery, but looking at this mess I say we get the silver and gold service sets into the barrels all that fancy dining wear are big and unwieldy. I'm for dumping it all into one of the rider rooms for sorting out later, that way we can reuse the barrels, half this stuff is so damaged from being trampled and stepped on it's good only for melting down for the metal that made it. I'm not even sure if a repair spell will work on something this damaged." He said picking up a large plater of silver that was so dented and battered it was unusable as a platter, it was basically reduced to a lump of metal. "We don't have time for fancy what with Norrington coming, sort it later the main thing is getting the valuable stuff hidden as you said."
"Three floors twenty rider rooms to a floor, so we have sixty rooms to use as temporary vaults, after we clear this lot we start on the Keep a lot of the plunder in there is just as valuable." Mused Jack.
"Aye, and Norrington and his lot would get prize money on its resale it all being pirate plunder. We will have to plan carefully what we leave out in plain sight for the Muggles to see and confiscate." Said Gibbs wisely.
"Very true, all of the good stuff on the third floor the Pearl told me about has to be hidden, the second floor fittings were all salvaged from wrecked ships so will probably be safe enough to be classed as salvage. The farm could go either way but we need to hide most of the portable food stores and do a harvest of what's ripe just in case."
"All good ideas, can't see him ripping up the orchard after ten years the trees are simply too big for easy ship transport but it might be an idea to hide a lot the poultry and livestock, they fetch good prices in Jamaica."
"Indeed, are we in accord then when Norrington arrives he will find an island with little value, a farm barely enough to support us and little fresh water but what is collected by rainfall."
"Aye I'm in accord, best the good Commodore doesn't get any ideas about turning Isla De Murata into a British Fort best it look a miserable place to live."
"Which is why it is vital he think rainfall is the only fresh water on the island." Muttered Jack.
"Jack there is a waterfall in the hand part."
"If I understood the Pearls explanation correct it is the overflow of the water purification system. We fill up the rider bathtubs as a water supply it will keep fresh if charmed and with sixty bathrooms we should have plenty of water to last for weeks. Turn off the purification and with in a day that waterfall will be saltwater not fresh." Said Jack with calm deliberation.
"Then we turn it on again when the Muggles leave, remind me to put some of the barrels back after we shift the treasure, he'll get suspicious if he finds no water in the place.
"Indeed we will put them back before the storm hits, let him see our little Keep its presumed best. Remind me to barter for water barrels if we visit Port Royal, Bootstrap Slytherin that he was always claimed the best con is when you let them draw their own conclusions from a few subtle carefully planed misdirections." Smirked Jack. "The Black Pearls condition should be in our favour as well, she needs a lot of expensive work so he should let me keep her when I produce my original owners papers. None of his men ever stepped foot on her so it is a clear case of my reclaiming my own stolen property."
"We could be reading Norrington wrong." Said Gibbs.
"Very true, unfortunately he is very by the book, and I grate on his nerves. When I produce my Admiralty papers it will be a blow to his ego and authority he will attempt to use what power he has to make sure I gain little profit from his being bested. I know his type well many of the politicians at the Ministry of Magic are similar in nature. Power and politics are his forte and as such public appearance is everything. What he will do in private he will take pains not to do in public with an audience. Which is why I shall present the papers in front of his officers making it not only a matter of honor but treason if he disregards my rights. There after if I am reading the man correctly to get back at me he will follow and use the regulations about pirate plunder to put me in my place. He will of course be gracious about it and leave me with enough to survive if I work hard enough. To do otherwise would put him in a moral bad light and bring question about his lack of control in such a situation. His actions will be judged to a political knife-edge, he will hurt me as much as he can while seeming only a just and dutiful officer of the crown. He will be very conscious of the fact that his officers and enlisted men will talk of all his actions once back in Port Royal. He knows he will be judged on all his actions and it is obvious the man is aiming for Rear Admiral in the near future, why else stay out in the colonies where advancement is swift and supervision limited."
"Indeed, hate to say it but I think you read the man correctly, I remember him as a Lieutenant on the crossing from England eight years ago. Got chummy with Miss Elizabeth's Father the new Governor within days of leaving port, always respectful and conscious of the mans position, but I don't doubt Swann has been behind Norrington's swift rise in the ranks." Said Gibbs.
"I wouldn't bet against it but one must also remember the good Governor Swann was advancing a prospective son-in-law when he helped the Commodore advance in rank so swiftly so the machinations were not all Norrington's doing. There is a darkness in Weatherby Swann I do not like, for all the man presents such a pleasant exterior he will bear watching where William is concerned his daughter marrying a lowly blacksmith will not be to his liking."
"But a very rich blacksmith with his share of the treasure." Grinned Gibbs.
"Which William will not find out about until he is twenty-five, before I went to Port Royal I checked out the people I would be dealing with. The Admiralty was most helpful well used to my asking for such intelligence before entering a situation. The Goblins of Tortuga were even better on the financial situation of those in charge. Norrington's family has money as well as social standing he is only a second son but he will still receive an annual income of about four to six thousand pounds when his father passes away. Governor Swann on the other hand has little beyond a bought title and the five thousand pounds a year he earns as Governor of Jamaica. It would seem the fortune he expected to receive on the death of Elizabeth's mother two months before he left England did not eventuate. From what the Goblins could discover Elizabeth's maternal grandfather did not trust his son-in-law and his will had unbreakable stripulations in perpetuality for his descendants which was a diabolical little trap for a fortune hunter now or in future."
"What did he do?"
"The estate is set up so only the interest can ever be accessed and you can't get at the capital no matter how hard you try but on top of that it has this little stripulation that must have galled the Governor when he found out."
"In what way?"
"You can only get what you can match on your own, which is why Swann became the Jamaican Governor not long after his wife's death. The job comes with both house and an income of five thousand pounds annually which is matched by his late wife's estate bringing his income up to ten thousand pounds then add the allowance for raising Elizabeth until she is twenty-one which is another three thousand pounds. It is a nice little income as long as he is Governor it also evaporates if Elizabeth dies without issue. Elizabeth's husband will have the same deal, which will be a step down for young Miss Swann I fear. William will inherit his share of the treasure when he turns twenty-five simply because I fear Governor Swann would be tempted to make Elizabeth a Widow if he found out about it before then he is after all reaching an age when he will be expected to retire. Which might have been his plan for Norrington and Elizabeth once a few children were born, that way he would have Norrington's inheritance as the children's guardian as well as an allowance for each grandchild from Elizabeth's estate until they were twenty-one."
"Surely Swann wouldn't kill William and his own daughter just for the money?"
"I am not so sure about that the Goblins are a nasty suspicious lot and say the maternal grandfather had some justification in his fears as the maternal grandfather and Elizabeth's mother were poisoned when they accidentally ate toadstools instead of mushrooms. Swann was in London so had an alibi, Elizabeth disliked mushrooms so did not partake of the meal and survived but a kitchen maid inherited some money soon afterwards."
"Bloody hell, Swann was after a rich son-in-law he could bump off!"
"Indeed, which makes William's chances of surviving his marriage into the Swann family infinitely better if he seems the struggling blacksmith for a few more years during such time Swann shall hopefully reveal his true colours." Said Jack.
"We better get back to work, if we have to watch out for both Norrington and Swann we better be well prepared."
"So dining service, cups and cutlery first then the Jewellery, I think all the empty Spanish caskets that had the gold in will be invaluable when we sort the jewellery out. The Goblins will have give us a better price very close to there real value if we put the matching sets together and we will need something to pack them into afterwards."
"Aye if it's not sorted the Goblins will just give us the value of the metal and gems like any pirate fence in Tortuga. They all justify it due to damage. Then after reducing it all to the base level worth of the original material instead of even close to their real value they will then have the gall to charge us a fee. Presumably to cover the cost of breaking it all into gems and metal, then they will add another fee for smelting the metal they recover into useable bloody ingots. We'd end up with a pittance of the real value of the pieces." Muttered Gibbs in disgust he had seen that happen with pirate swag time and again all over Tortuga.
"Which is why we will be doing all the work ourselves as we have plenty of time and barrels full of money." Laughed Jack "Goblins are mercenary little buggers where anything of value is concerned, the trick is not to give them openings for their little games. If you treat a treasure correctly they will treat you as someone worthy of consideration and be scruplessly honest. On the other hand dump a mass of mixed up plunder for them to sort out and they will try and fee you out of it simply because you are an ignorant barbarian human who doesn’t know how to treat something as precious as a Treasure Hoard."
"Hoard, never heard it called that before?"
"Goblins main source of power comes from 'Hoard Magic' which is why they make such great bankers and money caretakers. They literally gain power from stockpiles of treasure. They really don't have to own the treasure only have it in their keeping, gold gems and the traditional Hoard items bring the most power but Magical and cursed items bring even more. The difference between Goblins and other Magical creatures that use Hoard magic is that to a Goblin the definition of what is a Treasure Hoard is much more flexible. A treasure is not a Hoard unless the owner considers it valuable. So the Goblins get just as much power from a mother storing baby clothes and momentos for the future generations as gold and jewels, while those baby clothes have meaning to the owners they give the Goblins power. Therefore they are as much a Treasure Hoard as gold and gemstones and the Goblins will treat them as such simply because while it lasts the emotional value of the baby clothes actually gives them more power than gold and other objects."
"So if you treat a Hoard badly, you devalue the Magic because you don't value it. So the Goblins feel justified in taking it off you so they can get the Magic back."
"Basically that’s Goblin Hoard Magic in a nutshell, also many Wizards have a lot of trouble working out Goblin interest. They give two levels of interest on a Hoard, actual monetary interest, for the use of the money etc. Then Hoard interest, which is basically money they pay you for the Magic storing your 'Treasure Hoard' whatever it is, brings them. And let me tell you having the money in a vault is no guarantee it will bring Hoard interest, as a rich person does not value what they have so while it retains monetary value it loses its Hoard value. When that happens you get on the Goblins bad books and they will nitpick and fee you to death as it isn't treasure any more to the Goblins but money. A Hoard is all about how the owner thinks of it and treasure and money are two very different things where Hoard Magic is concerned."
"How did you learn all this?"
"After I stored the remains of Ravenclaw Manor the Goblins kept giving me Hoard interest on it, I got bloody curious why they were giving me money to store the remains of a ruined manor house." Grinned Jack ruefully, "When the Ravenclaw Library started turning up it tripled as all the Wizarding World value that. It was a very valuable lesson more Wizards would be the better for learning. Not all treasure is silver and gold in fact in some case silver and gold is not treasure. It all comes down to how you think about or value something in the end."
"I see your point and as we have the time taking the trouble and time to sort and treat it as the Treasure Hoard it is will make us value it more in the end."
"Which in turn will increase it's Hoard value to the Goblins, even if we sell most of it, it will retain that extra Hoard Magic for about a decade. The Goblins might even buy it simply to get the Magic we give it, then in a decade they will sell it on for the monetary value in the hope of it getting a Hoard charge again." Said Jack calmly.
"I'll explain it to the others, our Hoard will get a lot of attention when we sort it." Grinned Gibbs.
"Also when you buy land put the deed in the vault that way all the care you give your land is gaining Hoard interest." Smirked Jack.
"Bloody hell I wouldn't have thought of that." He said feelingly.
"True and you don't have to live on the land yourself, as long as someone is looking after and giving it the attention it deserves it will get Hoard interest. Hogwarts gets a lot of Hoard interest, which pays a lot of its bills I'm told. Think about it they say education is a treasure so ergo it stands to reason every Wizard or Witch that Hogwarts educates and they then contribute to society is considered part of the Hogwarts School Treasure Hoard. I set up the Caribbean School in the same fashion once they worked out it was a school the Tortuga Goblins were bloody ecstatic when I did it. It seems Hogwarts is one of the best Treasure Hoards in existence. When I gave Tortuga something similar if on a smaller scale they decided I was worthy of treasure so they keep thinking up ways I can make or find more treasure so they get more Hoard magic. It a vicious circle, the little monsters are starting to think I'm their own little Hoard maker which means I become their Hoard." Muttered Jack in disgust. "If I'm not careful Gringotts Tortuga will be feuding with Gringotts Diagon again over whose bloody Treasure Hoard I am."
"I didn't know that could happen, how did you stop it."
"I worked out Hoard Magic is all about emotion not logic, so instead of acting like an adult and trying reason with the little monsters which anyone who had done History of Magic would have realised wouldn't work, I decided to go for the emotional reaction of a small child who can't understand why their parents are suddenly fighting over them. They got the message very quickly if they fight over me or force me to do something my Hoards become money not Treasure because they make me sad because they were fighting over them and because they make me sad I don't want them any more." Smirked Jack with unholy glee.
"Bloody hell, that’s brilliant but totally insane logic, I'm glad you're on our side." Said Gibbs feelingly. "Well enough chatter you better get back to work while I go see about your coat and tea."
"Here Jack." He said when he returned handing him the rum tea and draping the coat over his shoulders. "I set up a fire just inside the doorway, kettles just boiled if you lot want to make yourself some tea." All of the crew that had been helping Jack made a rush for the keep.
"How are we going?" he asked sitting beside his Capt'n with is own mug of rum tea.
"The barrels are already full, we have to empty them before we do any more." Said Jack with a sigh sipping his tea.
"I'll get the crew started on emptying the barrels into a rider room." Said Gibbs.
"I've been thinking about Norrington."
"What about Norrington?"
"If the cave are totally cleared out he will tear the place apart trying to find where we hid it. Then there is the Aztec chest; he is going to go insane if it isn't accounted for I would in his position. Our little make believe story about the place being raided will fall apart if he tears the Caribbean apart looking for the cursed chest to stop skeleton pirates happening again." Sighed Jack.
'Bloody hell so what is the solution?"
"We leave some not much and nothing of real value of the bloody treasure out here and be dejectedly picking it up when he arrives the Pearl can give us warning when she sights the Dauntless. It will look more real if we hide the stuff so it looks like the raiders missed it like the spilled gold in the water out by the boats." said Jack.
"What about the cursed chest?" asked Gibbs worried.
"We will have to leave it out so he can see it, some of my early papers mention searching out the chest to estimate the rumoured danger with orders to dispose of it in the most permanent way found if the danger warrants. I can get away with claiming the mutiny delayed my completing those orders until now, the orders about the Black Pearl and Barbossa tie into the original orders. I shall just have to be passionate honourable dedicated agent who refuses to trust anyone else with it. I think in the end as the only sure way to really dispose of the thing is a volcano, I will get away with doing it if I take a witness. Which hopefully will be Groves as he is Wizard born and would understand just how safe a Goblin vault really is as well as the need to cure the Hecatan Bind victims before we really dispose of the cursed thing in an active volcano." Said Jack.
"That is a taking a awful chance he could just dump it in the ocean." Said Gibbs.
"I think I have a counter argument for that solution, it is a possibility that scares me silly once I thought of it as it is a very real possibility with that thing."
"What?" Gibbs asked very worried.
"Giving it to the deep won't destroy it and if coins fall out it could use the water as a conductor and turn all sea life into skeletons and there would be no breaking that curse."
"Oh bloody hell! That could really happen if I'm reading that bloody curse correctly. If not something that apocalyptic there is every chance the chest will count the people who consigned it to the deep as the people who caused a coin to be removed and they will get cursed for eternity with no reprieve."
"Let us all hope bloody Norrington sees sense." Said Jack.
"Just have your wand ready just in case."
"Don't worry I bloody well intend