CHAPTER TWO: The Mysterious Elvish Crate
Haldir: *Haldir woke slowly. Either the ship had turned, or the sun had wandered considerably over the sky since he fell asleep - either way, he was bathed in hot sunshine when he woke up, the bright light from the small window stinging his eyes as he opened them. THe elf groaned and sat up, trying to move away from the worst of it, but found no other solution than to get up of bed. As he set foot on the wooden planks, Haldir realized that he was only wearing a wide-sleeved, white shirt, reaching down to his upper thighs, barely covering his most private parts. No leggings.* Where are my clothes, *he muttered to himself, looking around the room. No clothes were in sight, but by now he had discovered a new, much more urgent problem. He needed to pee. Desperately. Jack had said it was not wise of him to go out to meet the crew yet, and neither did he want to, as long as he was not wearing any pants. But where could he find a place to relieve himself? Groaning, he began searching through the room, hoping to find a bucket, or hole in the floor, or anything he could use.*
Jack: *Jack had gotten taken from one task to another, as often happens being captain of the ship. He finally remembered the elf when one of his men came up to him and asked what to do with Haldir's boots. Jack told the man to have them rinsed in fresh water and brought to his cabin once they had dried and then as soon has he was sure the Pearl was well enough on her own, he made for the focsel. The door closed behind him and he strode down the hallway to his cabin. As the door opened, he saw Haldir was out of bed and looking around.. rather frantically. * Feeling better, mate?
Haldir: *Haldir turned abruptly when he heard Jack entering the room, and tugged the hem of his shirt as far down as he could get it, to cover himself better.* Yes, captain, *he said, wriggling a little where he stood, eyes still darting around for a solution to his imminent problem. To confess his distress to the Man did not cross his mind.*
Jack: *Jack was used to younger men feeling a bit shy around him. He tended to bring abrupt emotions to the surface of those not willing to face their desires, including a rather brash young navel officer. However, he could tell from the panicked look on the elf's face that something else more urgent was at hand. Grinning, he walked to the windows at the rear of his ship and pushed one so that it opened just enough.* Here lad.. out the window.
Haldir: *Haldir nodded his gratitude and approached the window. The need was too urgent for him to have time to feel embarrassed, he simply hoisted his shirt up, leaned against the window sill and let it go with a low moan of relief. Fascinated, he watched how it splattered and dissappeared in the white foam of the ship's wake, far beneath. When he finally finished, he became more conscious of the Man's presence during the procedure, and a faint tinge of pink crept over his pale cheeks as he straightened his clothes and turned back to the room.*
Jack: *Jack had watched the entire show of course. He was too curious about the elf to miss something like that. He had actually be straining to see just before Haldir turned around, then he straightened himself as if not to care a bit about it all. He had a plate of warm spice bread and lifted it, showing it to the elf.* Hungry? Made em meself. Well.. not quite. But I had them made for ye.
Haldir: *The warm bread smelled wonderfully, and Haldir felt his stomach growl in response. Despite still feeling awkward for his lack of clothing, he straightened his back and tried to find back to some of his lost integrity by assuming a more nonchalant look. He merely cocked an eyebrow at the plate of food, and gave a brief nod in agreement.* Thank you, I will eat it. *His clear blue eyes met the dark painted ones of the captain.* Do you know where my clothes are?
Jack: Aye, I do. They were rather tattered and had to be disposed of. But we've some that you can wear until we reach port. Best for you to wear something not so .. noticable anyhow. * Jack hands the elf the bread and goes to his own garment rack, pulling down an warm robe* Here..this will cover your modesty for now. I'll get your pants in a moment.
Haldir: *Haldir nodded again and put the robe on. It was too wide for his slender form, but covered him better than the shirt did, and that was the main thing. Grateful, he sat down by the small table by the wall and chewed a good bite of the bread. It tasted better than he had expected, and he took a few more bites before targetting Jack with another look.* You say we are going to a port - which one? Where are we in the world?
Jack: *Jack came over to the table and sat at the other side. He watched Haldir eating, almost mesmerized by it. When Haldir speaks to him, he jerks a bit and caresses his mustache.* Curacao. Its Dutch. They like me there. I've some business in town and the crew needs a break. Pearl needs some patching on her side from a cannon ball too. * He realizes that Haldir has no idea where Curacao is, so he pulls down a sea chart and spreads it on the table. * Here.. this is where we are.. and this is Curacao.. and this here, is were we found you.
Haldir: *Haldir listened intently to what Jack said, although he inwardly groaned because he knew none of the names Jack mentioned. When he had the map laid out before him, the sight was even more discouraging. There had been many maps on the walls of Elrond's library, and after moving to Imladris, Haldir had spent much time there, fighting the boredom of their quiet life. He thought he would recognize most parts of Middle Earth and the lands beyond by now, but as he examined the chart, his heart sank deeply in his chest and he had to swallow a lump in his throat before it took his voice away. None of the islands or shores bore any similarity to any place he had seen on Elrond's maps. Wherever he had ended up, he had to be extremely far away from any land known to elves. A soft sigh escaped as he shook his head desolately and looked away.*
Jack: * Jack had hoped that perhaps seeing the shapes of the land would help Haldir.. but rather it seemed to discourage him. Jack rolled the map and put it back into the wall cabinet, then went to the elf who was turned away from him. He lightly lay his hand on haldir's shoulder.* Im sorry mate.. If I could get you back to your proper place and time, I would. Most i can really do is give you a place in this world.
Haldir: *Jack sounded honest, and Haldir turned his head slowly and gazed at him with eyes clouded by pain.* I am grateful for your will to help me, mellon. Unfortunately, I do not know any of the lands around here. I can not imagine how I could have been brought so far from the world that i know... *He paused, his brain still struggling to comprehend the consequences of what Jack was saying.* Do you know any place in your world where elves live? Or do they not excist here?
Jack: Elves.. There are stories of elves. The Irish especially believe in faeries and such. But mostly thats what they are.. stories. * Jack picks up a bit of bread and nibbles it. * Pots of gold, granting wishes..that sort of thing. ....Are ye saying thats what you are then? An elf?
Haldir: Fairies... pots of gold.. Oh no, I am not that sort of elf. Look at me - do I look like a fairy? *Haldir held his arms out to inspection* In my world, Elves live in realms hidden from Humans. We are much older and wiser than them... and have always had to fight against a greater evil. Elves do not fly or grant wishes, we are scholars, craftsmen and warriors.
Jack: * Jack looks Haldir over and remembers the elf saying that he was a warrior. Yet his body is unscarred, that he can see.. * How old are you, Haldir? You said you served a lord.. Were you of rank?
Haldir: How old I am... *Haldir knew that if he told Jack his true age, the man would not be able to really understand. Humans, with their short lives, did not understand a life span of thousands of years.* I am older than you... that is all you need to know. I served my Lord as a Marchwarden of our Realm, later also as his Guardian and friend. I am an archer, but also skilled with a sword, and have fought in several wars.
Jack: *THe answer seemed to satisfy the pirate, at least for the moment. Jack took off his hat and laid it upon the table. Under it he still wore his red bandana and the beads rattled. * An archer! Excellent.. You'll make a fantastic look out then. Archers are something few thing to have aboard a ship, but they serve wonderfully for surprise from above. * He noted that the bread was gone and smiled* Well then.. Shall we be seeing to ye box? The rest of the crew is restin by now. Should be able to get down there without attention.
Haldir: *haldir's mood lightened by the thought of his precious crate, the only thing he had left from his former life, but there was still a point he needed explained.* You talk about fighting - against who? Are you at war?
Jack: * Jack ushered Haldir out of the cabin and quickly down the hall to the wooden ladder that would lead them below. It was darker down there and the floor was wet in places where it leaked. He thought this question and answer over carefully. He wasnt sure how the elf could take piracy.. He would have to know eventually of course, but Jack saw no reason to jump the gun, so to speak.* aye, war.. very bad. They chase us, mostly.
Haldir: *Haldir followed Jack down to the storage room, splashing barefoot over the wet patches of the floor. He worried about the condition of his crate down here, but then realized that after all that time in the water, it could not get more soaked than it already was, anyway. To hear that the people on the ship were at war, was not unexpected to him. Most of his life he had spent fighting evil creatures, so he assumed this world had a similar situation.* Who are chasing you? Orcs?
Jack: Orcs?? Nay nnay.. I'm not even sure what an Orc is. We've been fighting off the British and the Spanish. * Jack paused, smiles and whispered low. * Then again, maybe they are orcs. * He came upon the wooden chest and it had been left upon a table, above the water on the floor. It looked very dry now, and was still locked.* Have ye a key for it? Or shall I open it my own way?
Haldir: *Haldir assumed the British and Spanish must be other human peoples, like Easterlings, and decided to leave the matter for now and concentrate on his chest. Fortunately it had been kept dry, and he ran his fingers fondly over the wooden surface.* No, I will open it. Elven locks need no key. *He ran his long, slender fingers lightly over the carved mallorn leaves that adorned the top and sides, his highly sensitive fingertips searching for slight dents in the pattern and pressing them in a certain order. Using both hands and touching all over the carvings, he did his best to confuse Jack so he would not see exactly WHERE the right combination was. Suddenly there was a low "click" and the lid sprang open. Inside was packets wrapped in water resistand tarp - Lord Celeborn was taking no chances with the valuable contents and had insisted that everything should be wrapped this way. Haldir's heart beat loudly as he carefully unwrapped the first parcel, revealing a stack of elvish history books with illustrations.*
Jack: *Jack watched as the elf seemed to caress the box to make it open. He smiled and purred* You look like you're makin love to that box, mate... Are you sure you dont want some.. *Just then, the box opened and Jack took a step back in surprise. Then, inching forward, he peered over the rim of the chest. It was packed full of odd things and Jack's dirty fingers made to reach inside.*
Haldir: *Quick as lightning, Haldir smacked Jack's fingers.* Don't touch! I promised to let you see what's inside, but I will do the touching! *There was something in the elf's tone of voice that left no doubt whatsoever that he meant exactly what he said. He placed the opened tarp with the books at the top of the chest and took one up, showing it to the man.* As you can see, these books are written in my language, which means nobody else here can read them. There are illustrations, and I will show them to you in time, but not right now. *Cocking a brow by the sight of Jack's dirty fingers, he added* Only squeaky clean fingers touches my books!
Jack: *Jack drew back the hand which had been smacked and rubbed it as he pouted, giving the elf a look of a child whose been scolded. As Haldir began pulling things out, Jack was attentive, but he did not reach for anything else. He noticed the pictures in one book and strained to see what it was before haldir smacked the book closed.* Books... Just books?
Haldir: Books are highly valuable to us, they contain our entire saga from creation to... *Haldir held his tongue and smacked the book shut. Very carefully, he wrapped the tarp back around the predious books again, his heart happy that he had been able to find such valuable pieces of his background and culture. Gently he lifted up a long and heavy packet that was lying along the side of the chest. This one he remembered - Celeborn had wrapped it himself. With awe he wrapped the cloth aside to reveal a long, richly decorated longsword.* The sword of Elu Thingol, our first and greatest king, *he whispered, eyes shining.*
Jack: *Jack's eyes nearly dropped out of his head at the sight of the beautiful sword. He could see, even from a distance, that this weapon was unlike any sword he had ever seen before. It was elegant in it's deadliness.* And now of Haldir, hm? Since Elu Thingol isnt here and isnt likely to need it.. and trust me mate, you will. I wouldnt keep it in the chest if I were you.. I've be keeping that close to my vest.
Haldir: *Haldir thought about Jack's words for a few moments and nodded slowly. The weapon was magnificient and had lived through countless fights without getting a scratch - Haldir knew he could not get a better weapon anywhere, and he would certainly need it if they were at war. He put it back in the scabbard engraved with Thingol's coat of arms, and tied it around his waist with the attached belt.* All I need now are a couple of trousers, *he said dryly.*
Jack: *Jack laughed, realizing that the elf was still mostly nude.* Aye! And we'll get ye some. In fact, grab hold of one side of that chest. We'll bring this up to my cabin and you can look at it in more .. dry.. surroundings. And I'll rustle ye up something to wear.
Haldir: That sounds like a good deal to me! *Haldir chuckled, his mood much lighter after what he had found in the chest. There were still a few parcels left in there, but there was no rush in opening them. His fingers caressed the elegantly formed hilt of his new sword, before he closed the lid and took a good hold of the sice of the chest.* I'm ready! *he said.*
Jack: * Jack took the other end and grunted as they lifted it up. He wasnt a weak man, but he wasnt all that large either and the chest was heavy from the books and heavens knew what else.* I think ye got some rocks in there, luv. Here, Im ready now. * They managed to carry the crate to the captain's quarters and Jack had Haldir help him put it on the foot table at the end of the bed. When he was done, he hunted through his closet and found two trousers that .. well. .might fit the elf.* You are a tall one.. these are going to be a bit short in the leg, I think.
Haldir: Thank you, *Haldir smiled and pulled one of them up his long legs. Jack was right, the trousers WERE a bit short - reaching only to the middle of the leg, but it was a vast improvement to not wearing any at all.* There, now i'm starting to feel dressed again, *he commented, tucking the shirt into the trousers like he saw Jack had done.* What else do I need to look like one of you? I suppose my boots are gone too?
Jack: Nay, we rescued your boots, but they were in the brine and needed to be soaked in fresh water to get out the salt. They're topside, drying. * Nodding towards the chest when Haldir is finished dressing.* What other little trickets have ye got in there? Any maps of your own world?
Haldir: *Haldir smiled relieved* I'm grateful that you rescued my boots. Thank you. *He walked over to the chest again and opened it anew, performing the same ritual with his hands to unlock the lid. As it opened again, he lifted out the books they had already looked at, and saw still two large packages in waterproof canvas, and a long container along the bottom.* Maybe there are maps in this one, *he said and lifted the container out and placed it on the table.* You can open it.
Jack: * Jack steps foreward and runs his fingers over the package. He is surprised to see that the canvas is actually made out of leaves. Some sort of very large leaf that looks much like the tropical plants he knows. Gently, he opens the canvas and slides the contents out. There are a few paintings of what must be other elves, but indeed there are maps. Several of them. As Jack goes through them, he shakes his head.* Interesting land.. but nothing I've ever seen anywhere. Sorry lad.
Haldir: *Together, the maps covered almost all of Middle Earth, and indeed the entire coastline from the cold, barren Northlands to far down beyond the Southron's lands. When Jack said he knew none of the coasts, Haldir again felt a pang of grief in his stomach, and his voice was low and soft when he spoke.* I feel like I not only was moved far from my part of the world during the storm, but as if I have been moved to another world entirely. *He sighed deeply before he managed to continue, not meeting Jack's eyes.* Do you think that is possible? To lose a world?
Jack: *For a moment Jack studies the elf, then he moves closer.. his voice is soft .. almost a whisper.* There is a place not far from here..A place where ships sometimes disappear and are never heard from again. Some say its pirates.. but I know for a fact its not. The waters there are foul.* He pauses, thinking again.* If ships from this world disappear .. I do not see why ships from another might appear.
Haldir: Is that so? *Haldir's voice had a colour of hope when he turned to look at his companion.* Maybe... maybe it can be possible to go back, the same way - during a new storm? Do you know if unknown things have appeared there before? *He took a deep calming breath, trying not to get his hopes up too much, but his hands were trembling with suspense.*
Jack: None to sure, lad. Its a mystery after all. But there are those that claim to know its secrets. We could go see them. Maybe they could help you, where I cannot.
Haldir: I would very much like to meet these people. *Haldir met Jack's eyes again, and for the first time he reached out to touch the man's shoulder, squeezing it lightly.* You are a kind man, Jack Sparrow. You give me your own clothes, let me sleep in your room and offer me help, although there is nothing for you to gain from it. I'm very grateful. *A light glimmered in the Elf's eyes and he smiled gently, still keeping his hand on Jack's shoulder.* In my world, humans who help elves are called Elf Friends. Perhaps you can become the first one in this world.
Jack: *Jack stopped himself from saying that he was keeping a tally and would collect the favors one day. The elf was sweet and innocent and would not last two seconds in the world alone. Instead he let himself indulge in the soft touch and wonderful scent of the elf. Jack wasnt overly choosy between men and women and Haldir was certainly the prettiest man he'd ever seen. He found himself wondering what elves thought of sex. * I would like that, mate. There is one thing in this world.. Trust doesnt come lightly. And loyalty even less... but once ye have em, guard em. You're a good man... elf.. I'll keep you safe. On that, you have my word.
Haldir: I promise you my loyalty in return... maybe I can save your life one day like you saved mine. *Haldir's gaze was soft and showed his gratitude, but behind it, his keen eyes rested on the man, and he noticed that behind the painted eyes, the beard and the beads, Jack Sparrow was a very handsome man - his face as finely chiselled as an elf's, and with a slender and lithe body. No, this was not the time for such thoughts. Haldir removed his hand and turned towards the chest again, focusing his thoughts on the matter at hand. There were still a couple of parcels in the crate.*
Jack: *The moment between them passed and as Haldir stepped away, back toward the crate, Jack went to his dining table and poured himself a bit of rum. This was gulped down and two more were poured before he rejoined the elf with a bit of a stagger.* Still got some treasure left in there then? Any gold or silver?
Haldir: i don't know, *Haldir said truthfully, lifting out a strangely heavy thing, the shape and size of a cabbage. The canvas was tighly wrapped and tied up with numerous ropes, almost as if it was not meant to be opened. As Haldir touched it, he felt a strange tingling in his fingertips, as if there was some kind of electricity emitted from it. What could this be? Could there be magic involved? He hesitated, staring at the wrapped ball on the table, but not doing any attempt to untie it.*
Jack: * Jack sees Haldir hesitate and becomes curious himself. He walks closer and looks over the elf's shoulder.* Someone sealed that rather well, didnt they.. Arent you going to open it? *His own fingers are itching.. anything sealed that well has to be important.*'
Haldir: *Haldir could not explain why the thing made him anxious - it was just a feeling of fate - something akin to what he had felt that time as an elfling, when he had snuck deeply into Galadriel's garden and found her mirror. Not knowing what it was, the child had touched it - and pulled his fingers away quickly as a jolt of pure magic hand tickled his fingers. The object on the table filled him with the same combination of dread and excitement, but not wanting to let on that he was nervous, he simply replied:* These ropes are too tight to untie, and I don't have a knife.
Jack: I have one. * Jack said, rather abruptly.. he already had taken the blade out actually and had every intention of using it no matter what the elf had said. Taking the canvas bag in hand, he sliced at the rope. Jack was surprised to find that the rope did not cut very easily and it took him quite some time before the bag was undone. Once open, he reached inside and found himself pulling out a second bag.. this one of blue velvet, tied with a single cord.* You elves like to make sure things are tidy, aye? *Pulling the cord, the second bag fell open and both elf and man found themselves staring at a sphere.* It rather looks like one of those crystal ball things that the gypsies use to read yer fortune.
Haldir: A glass ball? *Haldir was baffled.* I have never seen this before, but I think I know what it may be... *Hesitatingly, he lifted it up, and instantly felt the magic tingling through his fingertips. He had heard about the magical globes of old, and the part some of them had played in the War of the Ring, but it had never occurred to him that one of the Palantirs had been hidden in Lorien. As he stared down into the clear crystal ball, the glass suddenly seemed to swirl where his hands were holding it. Something resembling thin smoke began to fill the ball, and the Elf stared up at Jack with shock and anxiety in his eyes.* Sauron is gone.. he MUST be! *He said mostly to himself, his voice intense.*
Jack: Sauron? * Jack peered into the ball as Haldir held it, seeing a bit of the swirling as well. He reached out his hand, touched the very surface of it and yelped as the magic snapped at his fingers. Pulling back, shaking his hand, he looked at the crystal and then to Haldir.* It feels alive..
Haldir: I think it IS... *Haldir's voice was slightly shaking now. He could see the inside of the Palantir becoming darker, more solid, and remembered what he had heard had happened to the hobbit Pippin when he had looked into it. Afraid of what he would see in it, he tried to put the ball back down on the table, but it seemed glued to his fingers.* It is stuck! *he groaned.*
Jack: * The Palantir seemed to still have life in it yet as it felt the familiar touch of elven hands. It wound its vines of magic outward and around the warden's wrists, slipping over his flesh like garden snakes. It whispered softly into Haldir's mind, asking his name. As this was happening, the captain could see Haldir's eyes growing dim and lifeless.. He had no idea what the globe was that the elf held, but he was wise enough to recognize when something evil was working its blackness over a man.. or in this case.. elf. He picked up the velvet bag and wrapped it over the top of the ball.* Let go!
Haldir: *As the velvet covered the ball, the magic seemed to diminish a little, and Haldir pulled his hands back quickly. His skin felt as if it was ripped off his hands, but when he looked down at them, they looked as unharmed and smooth as ever. How strange - the pain must have been magical in nature. Haldir quickly pulled the strings together around the velvet bag, closing the Palantir inside and placed it down on the table.* This Palantir may have been used for evil acts, *he said shakily, leaning heavily on the wall as he still rubbed his hands to remove the itchy feeling.*
Jack: *HAldir gives the elf a queer look and speaks with sarchasm.* Whatever would make ye think that, luv? * He ignores the sharp look given back and picks up the velvet back, dropping it back into the canvas.* Seem to me this ought to go somewheres nice and safe... Wouldnt want anyone else getting into it now, would we? Tell me lad, what did you see? And who is this Sauron?
Haldir: *Haldir nodded in consent when Jack placed it back in the box.* Once upon a time, there were several of these chrystal balls - I think kings used them to talk to each other or something. *He dropped down on the chair next to the table, still feeling too shaky by the experience to trust his legs.* There was an evil Vala - a god - named Morgoth. He was driven from our world, but his apprentice, Sauron, stayed, and continued the evil deeds. Sauron had one of these, and with it, he could control every other who had one. There was a great war and Sauron was destroyed - at least I hope so... *The Elf eyed the canvas packabe anxiously.* I saw... mountains. Tall ones with snow... and felt a voice in my head.. but I don't know who or what or where....
Jack: *Jack listened quietly and took a seat beside Haldir as he spoke. The talk of images within the Palantir was troubling.. Jack had not touched the sphere, but he had seen fire in the smoke that twisted inside. * But you aren't in your world now, so even if he has not been vanquished, you have no need to worry. * Smiling lightly, he reached across the table and touched Haldir's hand softly.* You are safe now. Yer with ole jack.. * The warmth that passed between them was cut short when they came a loud clanging of the deck bell. Jack moaned and pulled away.* Blast it! What's wrong now!?
Haldir: No, I'm not in my world, but if I can still see things in the Palantir, there must be a connection between our worlds... *Haldir quietened, feeling the comforting warmth of Jack's hand. Slowly he met the man's eyes, seeing a glimpse of something he could not place in the dark depths, before the bell suddenly tore their gazes apart.* Your men obviously need you, *he remarked, a slight tinge of pink colouring his high cheekbones.* Should I go with you or remain here?
Jack: * The shouts on deck get more frenzied and Jack sighs. * It could be anything from a man overboard to a sea monster come to eat us. Best come with me.. It will be good for the men to see you at my side and that you are under my protection. * He smiles, passing Haldir one of his coats to cover the lad up a bit. When they get up on deck, Jack moans.. * Tis not good lad.. we may be needing your skill with a bow sooner than we hoped.. That blot of red sail there? It's a ship by the name of the Roamin Lord.. and the captain is an ole.. aquaintence.