|Sequel to "Tómas"
Overall rating: PG-13
Category: slash, adventure, humour
Other characters appearing: Lord George Cutler Beckett, Lt. Greitzer, Lt. Groves, Will Turner plus cameos by Prince Frederick of Prussia and Voltaire
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's note: I thought that "Tómas" was the weirdest story I've ever written. Well, I was wrong.
Summary: There is nothing that a leprechaun wouldn't do for his treasure, so all is not lost for James Norrington.
As expected, the wreck of the Endeavour couldn't be found where it was supposed to be. Of course, a ship didn't sink straight to the bottom of the sea. Ten years of currents and drifts had to be considered, but Gillette could make out the silhouette of the former flagship of the East India Trading Company in the far distance.
"There she is. Hold on tight, cousin, we'll go for a walk."
"I fail to see the attraction of this place," Voltaire complained. "And I'm wet. I'll catch a cold!"
Gillette glared at the flickering light on his shoulder.
"The cold is a viral infection, you peasant. You can't catch it just because you're wet. I'll never understand why this is called the Age of Enlightenment; I can't remember a more uneducated century!"
"That's because you never attend family reunions. You should talk to cousin Galileo, he could tell you a few stories that would curl the hair on a bald man's head!"
Gillette ignored him and moved his pot of gold from his left arm to his right. Of course he could just have blinked and be at the site of the wreck within a moment, but he feared that he might miss pieces of the wreck scattered across the sea bottom. Pieces which could give him a clue on the whereabouts of Lord Cutler Beckett. That aside, he quite enjoyed the walk. Having spent so much time at sea, it was interesting to see what it was like in the sea. There were plants and animals; some of them in shapes he'd never seen before. Swarms of small fishes crossed their path, and a curious shark came to inspect the intruders into his territory.
"A shark! A shark! Quick, make us disappear!" Voltaire cried, and hid in the collar of Gillette's coat.
"Will you come out of there, please? You tickle," Gillette snapped. "And stop being such a drip. See? He's very friendly, he just wants to play."
Saying that, he patted the large shark on the nose. The animal looked at Gillette in as much confusion as a shark was capable off, then he gently nudged his hand and swam away.
Voltaire, still shaking like a leaf, returned to his place on Gillette's shoulder.
"You are completely out of your mind. Why oh why have I left my beautiful castle and my beautiful Marquise and let you talk me in to this adventure?"
"First, it's not your castle, but her husband's. And second, it's great fun, the noble purpose aside. Oh, but now we must pay attention." He gestured with his head in direction of the wreck. "We've been noticed, cousin."
Voltaire could see a swarm of large fishes swimming towards them. At first he thought those were sharks, but then he could see that it was a far more dangerous species.
"What are we supposed to do?" he asked, and Gillette could hear the fear in his voice. "I've never had any dealings with mermaids."
"You just stay where you are and let me do the talking. And if I tell you to do something, you'll do it. Understood?"
"Understood. Oh, oh, oh. I dare say, the tales praising the beauty of mermaids were a bit exaggerated, were they not?"
"Shhh," Gillette hissed. "They are very sensitive when it comes to their looks."
Voltaire was right, of course. The legends of mermaids who were luring unfortunate seamen to a watery grave with their beauty and beautiful singing were mostly just that - legends. The only true part of the story was the watery-grave-one. And it was less a luring and more of a dragging. Mermaids had the attention spans of trouts and got bored very easily. Their endless quest for entertainment and distraction would make them circle shipwrecked men like sharks and eventually drag them to their dwellings. Not passed on to the afterlife, but also not among the living anymore, the poor souls would be held captive, forced to sing and dance and tell tales. Once the mermaids got tired of their entertainers, they'd release them back into the sea and finally into the much welcomed peace of death.
There were now twelve of them, circling Gillette and Voltaire with curiosity and caution. The shipwrecked green of their bodies, ending in two scaly tails, provided perfect camouflage. The matted long hair, of a greyish-greenish colour, was adorned with mussels, sea slugs and sea anemones, and could easily be mistaken for seaweed. They had only four webbed fingers with claw-like, razor sharp nails. But the most horrifying about them were their faces. Oh, those faces! Whoever had written poems about the beauty of mermaids certainly had never had to look into those ghostly white eyes, and seen the sharp black teeth behind a lipless mouth!
"They look terrible," Voltaire whispered. "I'll never eat fish again!"
"Will you be quiet now," Gillette hissed back. "Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder; we probably look as ugly to them as they do to us. Well, you certainly do."
The mermaids stopped circling them, and one left the swarm to swim towards Gillette. She was now floating right in front of him, and he could see the gills on both sides of her neck. He put his pot on the ground and bowed his head.
"My greetings, dear cousins. I'm Tómas of the Southern Forest, and this is my cousin, Voltaire."
The mermaid fixed her dead eyes on Voltaire, who was very tempted to go and hide in Gillette's collar again. But then he took a deep breath and his light, which had been flickering, shone steady and with a warm glow.
"The light! You've brought a beautiful light with you," she finally said and smiled, exposing her fangs. "Light is rare here, we have to live in the dark."
"How regrettable," Gillette said. "In that case, you certainly wouldn't mind if we kept you company for a while? I have important business to discuss with you, and while we're talking, Voltaire will bring you light."
"That's insulting! Who do you think I am, Voltaire the rent-a-lamp?" Voltaire muttered.
"If you don't quit complaining immediately, I'll tell them that you're the best story teller in the world, and they'll keep you here for all eternity!"
Voltaire grumbled, but refrained from further comments.
The mermaids discussed Gillette's suggestion, and finally, the one who had been talking to Gillette nodded.
"We welcome you, cousin Tómas of the Southern Forest, and also you, cousin Voltaire of the Shining Light. But tell us, what business is it that brought you here?"
"Ah, this and that and then some more," Gillette answered cheerfully. "But first and foremost, we're looking for our cousin Seoirse of the Western Waterfall. He was on the ship over there when it sunk."
The mermaid turned her head and looked at the wreck of the Endeavour.
"Oh, you mean the Emperor of East India?"
"The - who?" Gillette asked, thinking that he'd misheard.
"Seoirse I., the Emperor of East India," she repeated. "He and the imperial household live with us, and we're very honoured by his presence. He knows so many tales! My favourite is the one where he fought back the Royal Navy all alone, with only a toothpick for a weapon, and then his encounter with Captain Jack Sparrow, who asked him to become captain of the Black Pearl! And I love the funny story how he locked his red-haired cousin in the privy and-"
"Enough," Gillette interrupted her. "Yes, that's definitely my cousin. Seoirse I.? I can't wait to see him again and pay my respects."
"Then please follow me," the mermaid said. "He will certainly be delighted to see you."
Voltaire chuckled into Gillette's cravat; dear Seoirse would certainly not like the kind of respects his cousin would dish out.
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|THE FLYING SCOTSMAN 6/18
by Molly Joyful