"Which way first?" Elizabeth asked. Her hands were sweating from the heat of the fire over which, under Tia Dalma's guidance, she prepared the tiny potion. It was only a little bit of magic, for Elizabeth to learn while they prepared for the upcoming voyage, but it still might do great good, or so the witch insisted.
"Donnat matter when the bowl's so small. Stir, stir now."
Elizabeth stirred. The liquid shouldn't have been as thick as it was, she was sure. She had to clench her fingers, clench her hands, push with her whole arms, but not too hard, or the bowl would be upset and the potion ruined.
Tia Dalma watched her work, and after a couple of minutes commented, "Ye show promise. Ye really do. I could see takin' ye as a student if ye come back from t'World's End."
Elizabeth nearly lost her grip on the stirring wand; the liquid sloshed dangerously in the bowl. Tia Dalma seized hold of her hand roughly and forced her to keep stirring. "Donnat stop, girl! You'll ruin't!"
"Sorry" she started. "But..."
"I know what ye say," Tia Dalma cut her off. "You thinkin'a goin' back to Port Royal, marryin' yer blacksmith. But then, I donnat think ye think at all. Ye think things will be just t'way dey were?"
She was right. Elizabeth hadn't been thinking at all. The way things were going, nothing could await either her or Will back at Port Royal besides the noose. But where did that leave them?
"Keep stirring, keep stirring. Keep calm, though now I must tell ye, Will see what ye do with Jack Sparrow. I see what ye do, and I see that he see. But Will not see why. I see why, that why I think ye could be my student. T'follow in my footsteps, girl, you must have ruthlessness, yet honour."
All through this speech Elizabeth kept her hand steady, but it wasn't easy. There were things about Will's behavior, his new coldness to her, that had confused her, but now made all too much sense. "Why didn't you tell me this earlier?" she demanded. "I need to explain to him."
"How much good explainin' t'him do, girl? Think. He know ye well. Ye kiss Jack Sparrow for reason not t'do with what he think, yes, but he know what ye want. Or think he know. Does he, girl? What do ye want? Do ye know?"
There was a moment for which Elizabeth didn't know, but then she replied, "I know what I don't want. I don't want Jack Sparrow, at least not the way you say Will thinks I want him. I have been tempted, yes, but I know better."
"Ye know Jack Sparrow would not keep ye, ye mean. That makes yer choice easy. But ye think Will will still have ye now?"
Elizabeth could have replied that Will might still be hers by honour. But what was the use of that? She would have him willingly, or not at all. "If he won't, then I must accept that," she said. Her voice only trembled a little.
Tia Dalma tsked. "Donnat give him up so quickly, girl. I think ye like what he has become more than ye like what he was. But ye canna take him back to Port Royal. You remember he made t'promise to his pa."
"Davy Jones' heart." Elizabeth felt her own heart sank. "He must have gotten it back. He'll put it in a place where it's even harder to get at now. Will could spend his whole life trying to find it. I doubt Jack will help him. He's too afraid of the kracken getting loose. And for that I can't blame him. I can't blame either of them.
Though I would think it should be destroyed, if it wasn't for the kracken," she continued, thinking aloud. "After what happened on that island, thinking about what would happen if that heart got into the wrong hands...nothing that powerful should exist for men to find and use. If it can't be destroyed, it should be kept so hidden away that no man will ever find it."
"Not possible, that." Tia Dalma spoke with absolute certainty. "I think ye be right; t'heart should be destroyed. And Will Turner not rest until he do't, one way or t'other. But then t'kracken must be dealt with too, for t'sake of all the world. He canna do that. Nor can Jack Sparrow, or any of t'men here."
"Can you do it?" If she could, thought Elizabeth darkly, it said too much that she hadn't done a thing.
"Not alone. Maybe not even with ye." Her voice suddenly grew very grave, making her sound like a very different woman than the one she had been to Elizabeth before that moment. "But we at least migh' have a chance."
That settled it in Elizabeth's mind. "Then I have to come back, don't I?" That meant, she was sure, that she had to give up Will. She was amazed she could keep on stirring at that thought. It was only now, when duty had pulled her away from him, that she fully understood that she did want him, whether it be in Port Royal, or on some ship in a lost sea on a fruitless quest, as the case might be.
"Ye don' have to do anything. Ye can be selfish, if ye want. But ye won' be, will ye? Like I say, ye have ruthlessness, yet honour."
"Yes. Both." The potion was reaching its greatness thickness, but now Elizabeth shoved the stirred around hard, to release her pain and anger that it had to be this way.
"When ye go to Will," said Tia Dalma, her voice now gentle, "tell him't all immediately. Ask him what he thinks he can do. I donnat think't would be a bad life for either of ye, if ye can take being apart for long lengths o'time. If he marry ye here-"
"I can marry him here?" Elizabeth interrupted, astonished.
"Why not? He canna go back t'Port Royal either. He is a pirate now, and he is not a man who likes to live unmarried. Nor are ye. Ye would make fine wife for him, and he fine husband for ye, 'cause he not take yer freedom from ye, so ye have yer life both ways."
"But o'course, that depends on him having ye." A sober reminder, but one that could not dispel the joyful glow that now filled Elizabeth's heart. Now, at least, she knew what she wanted, maybe for the first time in her life.
Then she felt her hand seized and steered, and her teacher barked, "Enough talk o'that. Stir, stir! At least a minute more, and then t'work truly begins!"