Fog drifted across the open waters of the Caribbean Sea as a grand ship-of-the-line sailed slowly towards an island that was not too much farther away. The crew and passengers aboard the ship had been sailing for weeks from England and were nearly at their destination, Port Royal, with the new Governor aboard. The young daughter of the Governor was also on the ship, standing on the forecastle, trying to catch a better glimpse of the beautiful figurehead. She was leaning ever so slightly over the rail but didn't seem to be having much luck. Her father was watching her from the main deck closely with concern. He had heard about the many misadventures of the previous Governor's daughter and hoped that a similar fate would not befall his precious little girl.
Elizabeth Swann was hardly a little girl at the age of eighteen, but she may as well have been seven in her father's eyes. She was the most precious thing to him and he doted upon her every occasion he could. Elizabeth had become everything to him when her mother had passed away nearly eight years before. It had been a hard time for them both, but they had gotten through it together. Ever since then, the two of them were nearly inseparable. He was now having a hard time accepting the idea that his little girl was growing up.
When Elizabeth's father had been named Governor of Port Royal, after the untimely death of the last man to hold the post, they knew he had a lot of work ahead of him. Port Royal had been in shambles since then, but Elizabeth knew her father was the man to turn it all around. She had a devoted faith in him and the good he could do. It wasn't any wonder to her when the news came of his new appointment in Port Royal. Elizabeth was even far more excited than her father at the news. She had no doubt that he was the very best man for the job. It didn't hurt, either, that she would have the chance for some new adventures in a new world. Her friends back in England had lamented her departure, hating to see her leave their little circle. Elizabeth had assured them that she would have a wonderful time, and despite their insistence, the Caribbean was not going to be dull. No, she had a feeling that the Caribbean was just the place to find a grand adventure.
Elizabeth stared out at the vast sea ahead of them, having given up on her pursuit to catch sight of the figurehead, with a slight grin on her lips. She could just see a speck of land in the distance as they got closer and closer. The excitement she was feeling was evident on her face as she smiled brightly and turned towards her father. Standing beside her father was the Lieutenant who had been asked to join the voyage from England at the last moment. He was a strikingly handsome man nearly ten years older than Elizabeth, and he had the most stunning green eyes she had ever seen. His dark hair was covered by the standard white powdered wig and a black tricorne hat. She thought he looked rather dashing in his Lieutenant uniform as he spoke with her father. During the voyage across the ocean, Elizabeth and the Lieutenant had been able to get to know each other and often talked of their lives leading up to that particular moment in time. Elizabeth found that she liked the Lieutenant very much, and was happy to be his friend.
"Governor Swann, Commodore Middleton has just informed me that we should be arriving in Port Royal within a few hours," said the Lieutenant.
"Thank you, Lieutenant Norrington. I am pleased that the journey has gone so well. With all the talk of pirates, I was afraid we might meet up with a number of them," her father said.
"The Dauntless and The Interceptor are heavily armed, sir. Any pirate crew that would even think of attacking these ships would not stand a chance."
"Excellent. I've heard so many tales that I admit I was a little nervous about our journey," said Governor Swann. "I would not want to imagine the effect of an attack might have on my daughter."
"Something tells me, sir, that your daughter may fair decidedly well after such an attack. She has quite the daring spirit."
"I'm not sure if that comforts me or worries me even more," her father chuckled a bit.
Elizabeth smiled softly as she walked up to join the two men in conversation. She longed for a moment with Lieutenant Norrington. She'd barely been able to speak with him in weeks. He always seemed to be extremely busy with his duties.
"Ah, Elizabeth. How are you enjoying the trip?" her father asked her with a kind smile.
"Very well, thank you, father," she replied.
"I trust that everything has been satisfactory?" Norrington asked her politely.
"Yes, thank you, it has," Elizabeth replied.
Lieutenant Norrington excused himself quickly from the conversation and returned to his duties. Elizabeth kept her eye on the retreating back of Lieutenant Norrington. She snapped out of her longing and looked at her father with a smile, pretending as if nothing was amiss.
"Does Lieutenant Norrington seem a bit out of sorts to you?" Elizabeth asked her father.
"No, not at all. Why do you say that, Elizabeth?"
"I suppose it is nothing, but he barely says a word to me anymore and always leaves a conversation as soon as I arrive."
"The man is only showing some propriety, Elizabeth," said her father. "I would hope you would remember what that was. He does have a job to do as well. A ship cannot sail itself."
"Yes, father." Elizabeth doubted very much that that was the case, but she knew better than to argue.
"Ah, Commodore Middleton, I hear we are almost there," her father said to the gentleman walking towards them.
Commodore Middleton was only a few years younger than Elizabeth's father. He was a rather kind man, but Elizabeth felt he paid her far too much attention. She could feel him watching her as he approached and it sent a chill down her back. If he wasn't a proper gentleman, Elizabeth imagined he would have leered at her. She felt his attentions were highly inappropriate, and they were certainly unwanted.
"Why, yes. We should reach the port within a couple of hours. I have sent The Interceptor on ahead. Miss Swann, you are looking very lovely this afternoon."
Elizabeth smiled faintly at the Commodore, trying not to attract too much of his attention.
"Thank you, Commodore. If you'll excuse me, I need to prepare myself for when we arrive," Elizabeth said politely, looking for any excuse to leave the conversation and Commodore Middleton's presence.
"I'm sure the maids can handle it," Commodore Middleton chuckled.
"No, I would not leave it all to them. I am far too particular about my belongings to leave it all to them, but thank you." Elizabeth curtsied and left before she was forced to endure another moment with the man.
Elizabeth made her way below decks to the middle deck at the stern where the cabins were. She walked slowly towards her room, staring at her hands. She would be thankful when they arrived, and she would be able to get out of such close quarters with Commodore Middleton. She didn't feel comfortable around the man ever since they were halfway to Port Royal. She could tell he was starting to show some interest in her, and she hated it. The man was old enough to be her father, and she had her sights set on someone else entirely.
"James," she exclaimed as she nearly bumped into him in the hallway.
"My apologies, Miss Swann. I did not mean to frighten you." The Lieutenant bowed slightly.
"James, I've told you that you don't have to be so formal with me. Please, call me Elizabeth."
"I am sorry, Miss Swann, but I fear it would not be proper given the circumstances."
Elizabeth frowned slightly at Lieutenant Norrington while maintaining her composure. She wasn't sure exactly what he was referring to, but she decided to let it go for now. It wasn't proper for a lady to ask a man to explain himself. They were nearly to Port Royal and she was sure things would change once they reached land (or at least she hoped).
"Excuse me, Lieutenant, I must pack my things." Elizabeth brushed past Lieutenant Norrington as she escaped to her room. She could feel the anger bubbling up inside her, and was slightly appalled by it. She knew she shouldn't be angry with James Norrington just for being proper, but it bothered her that he was suddenly so formal. They had been calling each other by their first names when in private for some time, but somewhere along the line, that had changed. She didn't know what exactly had changed his attitude, but she didn't like it. She missed the man she had gotten to know.
The ship arrived at Port Royal within a few hours, just as predicted by Commodore Middleton. Elizabeth had hidden in her room for the remained of the trip to avoid both Commodore Middleton and Lieutenant Norrington, and only reappeared after being told they had arrived. Elizabeth met her father on the quarterdeck as The Dauntless pulled in to the harbour. Once the ship was just inside the harbour, the crew lowered the anchor. Midshipmen and other crew went about collecting the belongings of the passengers and crew to load into the longboats in order to transport them to land. Elizabeth stood back, out of the way, and watched them work. Her eyes settled upon Lieutenant Norrington as he ordered the men about.
As Norrington ordered a midshipman to move one of the trunks into the second longboat, his gaze fell upon Elizabeth watching him. Their eyes locked and each of them broke into a slight smile before Norrington turned to another crew member to shout more orders. She sighed a bit before taking a few steps forward, and she leaned against the rail. Her gaze settled on the town of Port Royal. From where she was standing, Elizabeth thought the place looked rather shabby and more deteriorated than she had imagined. The buildings all seemed to be falling apart with rumble lining the streets. It looked like everyone had just given up caring. She could see one of the inns and the building looked deteriorated and almost desolate. If she hadn't seen customers strolling in and out, she would have thought it abandoned. Even the Governor's Manor looked like it had been through some rough times. She started to doubt her feelings and wondered if it was possible to have any sort of adventure in a place so drab. It seemed as if all the time would be spent trying to rebuild the great port.
Elizabeth turned to see her father looking at her questioningly.
"Yes, father?" she asked.
"It's time for us to go ashore."
She smiled at her father before she followed him down the steps to where the boats were being boarded. As she approached, her eyes locked with Norrington's once again. He took her hand and helped her into the longboat before he boarded after her.
The crew rowed the longboats to the dock in nearly no time at all. Lieutenant Norrington got out first and took Elizabeth's hand, helping her out of the boat and onto the dock. He continued to hold her hand for a moment as he looked into her eyes before he remembered his place, and he let go to help her father out of the boat as well. Her father thanked Norrington and the party started walking up the pier. After a quick glance around, Elizabeth realized that they had lost Commodore Middleton at some point. She glanced up at Fort Charles and assumed he had gone there to set up his office. She didn't care too much, wherever he had gone, as long as he wasn't near her.
A carriage was ready for them at the end of the pier. Their luggage had been taken to their new home along with their staff. Elizabeth was starting to feel excitement again at the prospect of her new life in Port Royal. She wondered if perhaps it wouldn't be so bad once she was settled in. She didn't think it would take too long to clean up the town and restore it to its former glory – she was sure this was an overstatement given the current look. She certainly hoped that Commodore Middleton would find someone else to lavish his affections on in Port Royal.
Lieutenant Norrington rushed towards the carriage to help Elizabeth in, bowing slightly. She couldn't help smiling at his behaviour. He was being ever so proper, but at the same time, taking every chance he could to be in some contact with Elizabeth. She felt a slight blush creep across her cheeks as she stepped into the carriage and sat down. She took the seat beside her father which allowed for Lieutenant Norrington to sit across from her. He took his seat and the door was closed. The carriage lurched a bit as the horses started to pull.
It was a quiet ride up to the manor, punctuated by comments from Governor Swann about the town and anything else he spotted. Elizabeth coyly observed Lieutenant Norrington as much as she could without being noticed, and Lieutenant Norrington tried to avoid looking at Elizabeth as much as he could. He engaged in the small talk that Governor Swann was attempting to make simply to pass the time. The ride was fairly bumpy as the carriage seemed to hit every hole in the road. Elizabeth glanced out of the window and looked down the street. The road was littered with holes and bumps. There was so much work that needed to be done.
As they approached the manor's drive, Elizabeth turned her attention to the building as a small smile crept over her features. The house was huge in comparison to the others she had seen on their travels. She was sure it was even much larger than the one they had previously occupied in England. Images of parties and balls that could be hosted in such a fine place started dancing in her head. She suddenly got the feeling that her life here was going to be anything but ordinary and boring.