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02 March 2007 @ 08:28 pm
PotC Ficlet: Season of Grief  
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Title: Season of Grief
Characters: Will Turner, Weatherby Swann
Summary: Just a short piece about Will and Swann dealing with the aftermath of the Dauntless catastrophe
Rating: PG
Author's Note: To the amazing fabu, who fed this story a carrot when it was just a wee little plotbunny and later pointed out the finished text's strengths as well as its shortcomings :-)




SEASON OF GRIEF

Will recognises the Commodore's sword as soon as he spots it. The hilt he had spent so many hours on, the ornaments he had crafted.

"The original sheath has been ruined by salt water," Governor Swann hastens to say. And later, after a moment of silence, "We shall go for a walk, Mister Turner."

Out in Swann's Garden Eden, this walled little paradise of freshly cropped grass and odd marble statues, Elizabeth's father talks of everything and of nothing. How fluent Elizabeth has become at Dutch lately, and that one never knows what a proper education will be good for, someday.

"Are you aware, Mister Turner, what an excellent chess player my daughter is?" Swann finally asks as they reach the small fountain with the Greek huntress on top.

Taciturn, they watch the rise and fall of glistening water. The inkling that first came over Will when he spotted the sword in Swann's office gets stronger and stronger. How casually that unlucky thing, forged by himself, had lain on the visitors' chair.

"I understand I'm not the man you had in mind for Elizabeth," Will puts all on one card. Down at the blacksmith's shop, he was never taught how to move through these spheres in which one clever subtlety can stand for unspoken blame. "But, Sir, if you should think I have caused this whole tragedy, I must urge you to tell me right in the face."

"At least you show guts," Swann replies, and his wry, brittle smile makes it clear this conversation is not about Elizabeth's choice of a husband, but rather about the loss of a son whom Swann had never possessed and hoped he would gain.

"So can I hope, Mister Turner, that you show the very same courage when you think of the two hundred and thirty-six men who went down. Only because they sought to catch the very pirate you helped escape?"

"Elizabeth told me you've been at the Fort. How is Commodore Norrington?" Will asks gently, but receives no spoken reply, just a look.

In the quieter hours of evening, he has to walk all the way to Port Royal's naval church before some sun-burnt midshipman, amidst bare, empty benches finally tells him. "Commodore Norrington, should he not die from fever, will be court-martialled and perhaps even hanged," the child says, lighting a candle. For the proud, beautiful Dauntless and its crew are gone and Jack Sparrow free.



ETA: This is the first time I ever crossposted something to pirategasm. Wish me luck, guys. According to their user info, they've got over 1200 members ...
Tags: ,
 
 
Current Mood: nervousnervous
 
 
 
the Mary Ell-en Carter: norrington_rusalkashrieking_ell on March 2nd, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
*cries* I am a sucker for hurricane stories and this one hurts in the good way
Bimo: NorriBeth_painfulcasebimo on March 3rd, 2007 06:41 am (UTC)
So glad to hear that!

I must admit I'm quite a fan of hurricane stories myself (mostly because of all their potential for gorgeously intense Norrington drama), so it's good to learn that my own, somewhat more quiet approach to the genre worked :-)

Lots of thanks for your feedback!
lastwordy_mcgeelastwordy_mcgee on March 2nd, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
The story is very good, but some of your phrasing is awkward/anachronistic
(sorry -- it's the editor in me)

My suggestions to the passages in question are below, in italics:

"I understand that I am not the man you had in mind for Elizabeth." Will puts all on one card. Down at the blacksmith's shop, he was never taught how to move through these spheres in which one clever subtlety can stand for unspoken blame. "But, Sir, if you truly believe I have caused this whole tragedy, I urge you to be direct."

"One must admire your mettle, at the very least," Swann replies, and his wry, brittle smile makes it clear this conversation is not about Elizabeth's choice of a husband, but rather about the loss of a son whom Swann had never possessed and hoped he would gain. "So can I hope, Mister Turner, that you show the very same steadfastness when you think of the two hundred and thirty-six men who perished in their atttempt to capture the very pirate you helped escape?"

I also fixed some punctuation. I truly hope you don't mind and are not offended by my suggestions.
Bimobimo on March 3rd, 2007 08:00 am (UTC)
Re: The story is very good, but some of your phrasing is awkward/anachronistic
There's no need to worry! I'm usually pretty relaxed about people playing around with my texts and pointing out problems. If this were any different, I'd probably keep all my fanfic f-locked instead of posting stories publicly and advertising them in really large comms :-)

Looking at your suggestions I noticed that all the passages you found awkward were dialogue bits. So I guess this might eventually be a case of diverging philosophies regarding the question of how to let one's character's speak in one's stories.

Personally, I'm a big supporter of the idea that fictional dialogue, while certainly constructed and highly artificial by nature, should at least try to mimic the real thing to a certain degree. And this includes contractions like I'm instead of I am as well as grasping for the easier, shorter words/sentences instead of the beautiful tongue twisters which look good on paper, but in fact are incredibly hard to pronounce. Of course these are just basic rules of thumb and there are many exemptions. However this approach really is what has worked best for me as a writer most of the time, especially in cases where the overall tone of the narrative is as sparse and restricted as in this story.

Hopefully you don't mind me blathering about the topic for so long instead of just saying "Aye, Ma'am!". *g* I'm an old writers' workshop veteran who loves discussing theoretical aspects ;-)

Oh, and despite everything I have written in this comment, I really like your "One must admire your mettle, at the very last" !
JKT Skinner: calligraphyrethought on March 2nd, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
It feels so real.

Good job.
Bimobimo on March 3rd, 2007 06:47 am (UTC)
*beams*

Aw, thank you! So happy the story struck you as convincing :-)
djarum99djarum99 on March 3rd, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
So nice to see a fic about this tiny bit of canon. I'm also fond of Will and Governor Swann interaction, which doesn't get a lot of play.

I like this very much, and this is coming from a die-hard sparrabether. Well done, and thanks to fabu for encouraging you :)

P.S. And you're a Twin Peaks fan! Love Coop, and his dark journey. Damn fine pie.
Bimo: Terra_incognitabimo on March 4th, 2007 07:18 am (UTC)
Happy to read that this ficlet from the naval corner of fandom did not disappoint you :-)

I'm also fond of Will and Governor Swann interaction, which doesn't get a lot of play.

Word. I think you have to watch both movies rather closely to realize what's going, and that Swann really doesn't have that much sympathy left for Will. I love the old Governor to bits and pieces, but he's always struck me as some kind of benevolent Machiavellian who might be the best of friends to people he truly appreciates, but on the other hand quite ruthless to those he perceives as substandard or as a hindrance.


Love Coop, and his dark journey. Damn fine pie.

My favourite boyscout navigating the netherworlds. Plus I'm a bit of a coffee junkie myself ;-)
sinningia: doesn't_eat_childrensinningia on March 3rd, 2007 08:33 am (UTC)
I don't usually read stories that don't feature my all-time favorite Norrington (yes, I'm just that narrow-minded^^), but since I've already read something from you before and quite enjoyed it I thought I should risk it.

And I was not disappointed. And there even was Norrington in it^^

Very nice use of the language. Very clear and to-the-point, and I liked the Swann/Turner-interaction. The implied closeness between Swann and Norrington too (I so love to think of them as good friends, or as a kind of "student/teacher- or "father/son"-thing).

Very nicely done!

~sinningia~

PS: Would you mind terribly if I added you to my f-list? I quite enjoy having the occasional look at your journal (even if I don't comment much, sorry), and I thought it was 'bout time.
Bimo: NorriBeth_painfulcasebimo on March 4th, 2007 07:42 am (UTC)
Very nice use of the language. Very clear and to-the-point

*beams*

You couldn't have made me a nicer compliment! A precise, uncluttered and yet powerful style of writing is something I really work hard on :-)

Would you mind terribly if I added you to my f-list?

Just go ahead with friending! I must confess I had the very same thoughts regarding your journal, and will gladly welcome you on my f-list :-)
galadhir on March 3rd, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
My experience with pirategasm is that I've never had more than one or perhaps two extra comments from posting there. I suspect that they know what they like and stick to it :)

I really enjoyed this! I love the contrast between the two characters - Swann, who is all amiability on the outside, and Will who is quite clever enough to spot the rebuke and the underlying concern for Norrington, but doesn't have the ability to answer back in the same terms. But what I particularly loved was the midshipman lighting a candle for the crew and the ship. Heh, there would have been such an outcry if the Pearl had sunk that I'm very happy to see someone else who feels it's worth mourning that the Dauntless had to.
Bimobimo on March 4th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
My experience with pirategasm is that I've never had more than one or perhaps two extra comments from posting there. I suspect that they know what they like and stick to it :)

That's exactly what I'm guessing as well.*g*

But where else would you post a Will- and Swann-centric gen story that doesn't really fit into any of the more specific comms? Too little Norrington for _norrington, too DMC-compliant for cotbp_fandom, not shippy/slashy enough for any of the Will Turner communities. I feel like I was already pushing the limits with rnotc ;-)


I'm so happy to read that the characterisation worked for you!

Pt 2 of my reply will follow sometime this afternoon, because I'm now off to breakfast ;-)
(no subject) - galadhir on March 4th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - galadhir on March 5th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - joyful_molly on March 6th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on March 6th, 2007 09:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - joyful_molly on March 6th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on March 6th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - joyful_molly on March 6th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on March 7th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bimo on March 7th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - galadhir on March 6th, 2007 09:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - galadhir on March 6th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - joyful_molly on March 6th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on March 7th, 2007 09:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bimo on March 7th, 2007 10:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bimo on March 4th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
hereswithhereswith on March 3rd, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
Nicely done! I really liked the interaction between them, and, as was mentioned above, it feels very real.
Bimobimo on March 4th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
I always felt there was a very interesting if somewhat poisoned dynamic going on between Will and Swann and tried to incorporate that into my story :-)

Lots of thanks for the great feeback!
classicist lass: Real Men Wear Stockingsclassics_lover on March 3rd, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
This is such a lovely, melancholy fic. I love the descriptions you give of the locations, and the Will-Swann interaction is wonderfully sensitive - even if Will has to be bluntly direct about it. ;-)

Well done and thank you for sharing.
Bimo: NorriBeth_painfulcasebimo on March 4th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! So glad you enjoyed :-)

Molly Joyful: POTC Hope dies lastjoyful_molly on March 5th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
Hey, you did it! :-D *freu* That's actually something I never even thought about: how would Swann and Will react? Thanks for lighting that candle, and I think you handled it really good.

rather about the loss of a son whom Swann had never possessed and hoped he would gain.

Very (bitter)sweet, and I think it hits the nail on the head when it comes to Swann's perception of Norrington.

Thank you for sharing! :)
Bimo: Terra_incognitabimo on March 6th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you!

Actually, I still can't believe how easy it was in the end. Making that strange decision to spam your flist and comms, saying "Alright, that's how I want to post my story, at least for the moment".

Very (bitter)sweet, and I think it hits the nail on the head when it comes to Swann's perception of Norrington.

*sighs dreamily*

In a perfect universe, Swann and Norrington probably had their own 5000 word meta essay over at ship_manifesto, simply because these two characters are completing each other so very well, regardless whether one prefers to read them as substitute father&substitute son, or wants to go down the Swannington route.

Oh, and a question out of sheer curiosity... ;-)

You aren't by any chance another one of the many exile Germans in PotC fandom, or are you ?
(no subject) - joyful_molly on March 6th, 2007 08:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bimo on March 7th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
Dauntless: Dark eyeshms_dauntless on August 3rd, 2007 10:04 am (UTC)
I'm very glad you provide me with the link to this fic, because I've enjoyed it very much. Personally, I only very rarely read post-CotBP fics and - as my very nickname will suggest you - I am no particularly happy with the whole sequel canon of the Dauntless having sunk, the hurricane, and all the rest. But this fic was very beautifully written, and it conveyed the affection and respect for the navy characters that I find sadly missing in so many post-sequel fics. The dialogue between Swann and Will provided a very original point of view and Swann's concern for Norrington was touching. I like very much how you portrayed the old gentleman. The strength and fierceness burning under the ashes of his grey hair are very well described.
Must joining galdhir in her praise of the midshipman burning the candle for the men lost at sea. That was particularly beautiful. :)