One-shot: Just Between Us Dying Gods-SPOILERS
Rating: K+ for language and disturbing meal plans. Jack Sparrow is not a happy man.
Warning: Spoilers for DMC
Disclaimer: If Disney was any kind of decent, it would remove temptation.
Summary: Jack Sparrow contemplates life—and possibly death—among the Pelagostos. 1300 words
Thank you Geekmama for beta reading this.
The sound of drums throbbed in Jack Sparrow's head like pain. The bite of machetes in wood, the dragging scrape of branches, the eternal dissonant chanting gnawed at his ears with vicious persistence. The far off hint of smoke from the ceremonial fire stung his nostrils.
Perhaps, if he kept his eyes closed, it would all go away.
In the category of things he'd screwed up in a lifetime of, let's admit it now, major screw ups, this one was right up there near the top of the list in majuscule letters.
The first time he'd come here, he'd been alone, washed up on the shore after another argument with Fortune, which he'd lost. Of course. He'd spent so much time on the bottom of that bitch's wheel that he'd memorized the ruts.
At first, when the Pelagostos had found him, trussed him up like a prize turkey, and hauled him back to their high mountain village, he'd been sure he was about to end his days as a prime cut of long pork.
But then the village wise woman had intervened. She'd seen him in a vision, she'd said. These were the very markings on his skin, the pattern of lines, the scars. This one was too great a spirit to be trapped in the narrow confines of flesh. A god walked among them. The tribespeople had fallen down and worshipped. Then they'd made him their chief.
Jack had decided he could get used to being a god, except for the loss of the sea.
He'd learnt a little of their language while he was recovering—enough to convey simple concepts, although not enough always to understand what they said. Certainly not enough for eloquence or persuasion, as he had cause to know, now.
But he had made them understand that he was on a quest. He must leave to seek the beautiful dark ship with which he would one day return to them.
He had, of course, harboured no intentions of ever returning.
In retrospect that would have been a very good idea.
But no, when the fact had sunk its teeth into his soul that the sea who had always been his heart's home was now his mortal enemy, he had fled to land. And what better bit of earth to try to plant his restless feet upon, than the village in which he was already a chief and practically a god? Surely if he could do whatever he wanted, if men and women would hang on his every (fumbled) word and do his bidding, he might capture some of the fleeting moments of freedom he could feel leaching away from him—before they were lost to him forever.
At least until he could develop a plan to retrieve that thrice-cursed key.
In retrospect that registered as one of his more spectacular acts of stupidity in a lifetime of admittedly stupid acts.
He hadn't realized that he was sailing into a prison rather than a refuge.
The Pelagostos had been waiting for him with the ardent devotion of the faithful, anticipating the reappearance of their god mounted on a tall black ship, his earthly mission complete, his soul still mired and confused in its bonds of clay.
As it had been foretold, he had come again.
They spoke to him simply, knowing he was slow of speech in their tongue, tender of his misplaced godhood. He did not understand his plight, but they would, they said, deliver him. It would be a privilege and an honour to light his way home.
Which sounded lovely and heart-warming until it became clear that their path included releasing him from his fleshly prison through the implacable devices of fire and agony and horrible death. Apparently they figured that if his soul found life on earth unpleasant enough, it would wing its way to wherever they thought it belonged.
Then each member of the tribe would partake of his divinity. They would feast on his carcass. Babes would teethe on his finger bones. His skull would adorn the most elaborate hut in the village. Everyone wanted a piece of Jack Sparrow, and while he couldn't really blame them, he rather vehemently wanted all those pieces himself.
Thank you very much, but no thank you. He'd prefer to find his own way home and in his own time.
But he wasn't being given any say in the matter. In fact, for a god and a chief, he seemed to possess a phenomenal lack of power. It wasn't supposed to work that way, was it?
They'd already killed and eaten most of his crew. Those memories still made him nauseous every time he thought of it.
He'd tried to save them, explaining in halting, broken phrases mixed frustratingly with words in languages he knew but they did not, that this one was too old, that one too damaged, another too short—none of them fit to be consumed. He might have saved a few. So far. He didn't know who. He'd not been allowed to see them. Being a god in human form was proving to be a useless title. It did not translate into anyone obeying him the minute his orders diverged from what they wanted to do.
Jack hadn't eaten anything but fruit since the first one of his men had been killed.
At least they had been dead before they had been given over to the mercy of the flames. No one wanted to chase their souls off into some great back of beyond.
Fire. Unconsciously Jack rubbed his sleeve over the scar on his arm. His dear children could not have picked a way to accomplish his blessed demise that revolted him more.
Was being a god always such bondage? Was this what it had been like for Osiris, for Bran the Blessed, for Christ, for Odin, for Adonis? Come to think of it, what was this obsession with killing gods? If he were actually a god, he wouldn't stand for it. Being merely mortal, as far as he knew, he clutched his idiotic feather duster scepter and tried to ignore the aching weight of his absurd crown—and prayed for an opportune moment, from one fellow dying god to all the others—on the off chance any of their souls really had gone somewhere after their deaths.
He could feel the dried paint on his face tightening. It itched like fury, and he wanted to scratch it off, but he knew he'd never be allowed. That it had come to this—Captain Jack Sparrow, afraid to lay a finger on his own face! Eight all-seeing eyes, they'd told him, symbol of what his soul would be taught to remember as they charred his skin from his body and melted his flesh from his limbs and ground his bones to powder. All-seeing. The irony of that was so ironic as to pass far beyond irony into farce.
If he could have foreseen any of this . . .
A commotion halted his frantic thoughts. They'd caught some other poor bastard down near the beach. Tough luck, mate. You'd have been better off drowning. But if they decide you are a god, run!
He heard the tramp of feet and the creaking of a bound victim swinging from a pole. The sounds brought up in front of his throne. Oh, so they'd decided to let him play the chief one more time before lunch. Give the once and future god a bit of circumscribed dominion and allow him to pass judgment on the sorry wretch's fate. How . . . charming.
Since none of this bloody day appeared to have the slightest inclination to disappear, Jack Sparrow reluctantly opened his eyes.
He wondered which dead god had answered his prayer.