By Artificer UrzaChapter 1
-1602- Hampton Court, England; the seat of power of England, the residence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Dark clouds hung overhead, hung over all of England, in fact. The air was thick with humidity and yet there had not been any rain in weeks, months almost. The air rumbled and grumbled as lightning flashed, but not a drop of water fell. A carriage, moving at a leisurely pace was approaching. The passenger was a youth, dressed like nobility; he had short, black hair and sharp blue eyes. He looked at the scenery outside, but his face had a deeply ponderous expression. The carriage pulled up to the gates of the Queen's mansion of Hampton Court.
"Master Wayne?" The driver said as the carriage came to a stop. "We've arrived, sir."
The young man exited the carriage, porters were waiting for him and began to take his luggage; he would remain in the hospitality of Her Majesty for a while, so he had packed some essentials. Another figure came out of the shadows; this was another youth, similar in age to master Wayne. This newcomer wore faded red hunting togs and had a bow and full quiver of arrows on his back. He had red hair, dark eyes and a boyish smile; he was quite the ladies-man.
"Been waiting forever here for you, Richard." He said with a thick Irish brogue. "Was beginning to think you'd never show up."
"Aren't you little far east for hunting, Seamus Harper?" Richard almost smiled. "Did you get lost or did your prey elude you?"
"How could you ever think I could get lost?" Seamus laughed. "I'm here for business; Ollie didn't really need me, so he sent me here."
"Why would Lord Quinn send you here?"
"Well he told me 'twas to hunt down some night beasties, but he said that I'd be meeting with Garth later on."
"The Fish-King's boy. I suspect that I'm here for the same reason your Lord Wayne sent you to Her Majesty."
"Excuse me, my lords, but Her Majesty expressed her desire to see master Wayne as soon as he arrived." A servant interjected.
"Well, seems you've got business to attend to. If you've got the time, meet me down at the Moor's Head Tavern across the Thames before midnight. We can go for a little hunt." Seamus said as he strolled off towards the peer.
"Ah… this way, master Wayne." The servant directed Richard.
-The Atlantic Ocean-
Somewhere in the Atlantic, closer to England than to America, a ship, the Virginia Maid, sailed. It carried no trading cargo from the recently established colonies, but it was still on a very mission. Onboard were three very important people: one was the first child to be born in the American colonies, Virginia Dare, granddaughter of the founder of the Roanoke colony. The second a colonist herself, Tara Marks, who wore leather clothes made by the Native American's in imitation of the colonists. She wore her blond hair short and tried to pass as a boy as best she could, in order to avoid trouble and hassle from the sailors. The third was… different. She was a native of America, but unlike her fellow Indians she had orange skin, red hair and sparkling emerald eyes that seemed to almost glow. She wore leather in the fashion of her people, wearing beads and ornaments as well. There were many rumours about her; the sailors had heard that she was the Indians fiercest warrior and had the strength of ten grown men, that she could cast green fire from her hands. There were whispers and talk all over the ship that it was this girl who had convinced the natives to help the colony of Roanoke survive the winter. The sailors called her 'the princess' because she gave off a royal air, without being arrogant or snooty, her name translated into English as Starfire.
The voyage had been rather enjoyable as decent weather had been with them the entire way thus far and it was a perfect night to see the stars. Starfire stood on the deck, looking at the stars with a near longing look on her face. Tara came up from below deck, muttering something about how she'd never have children. She walked over to where Starfire stood and looked out over the water.
"How is Virginia?" Starfire asked.
Even though she had learned to speak English quite well, Starfire still spoke with a great deal of formality and had trouble expressing herself in the language.
"She's asleep, like you should be." Tara replied irritably.
"Did you have difficulties?"
"She's getting excited and nervous about seeing the Queen. I swear, if its gonna be like this, I'm never havin' kids."
"Well, we can hardly blame her… I too am excited by the prospect of visiting a foreign land."
"Yeah, but you don't go on and on about it… the girl just wouldn't shut up. Bloody child…"
"She is not that much younger then we are."
"The devil she's not! She's fourteen; we're eighteen you and I. We're adults she's a kid… why the devil did they send her anyways?"
"As I understand it, she was sent because she is the first child born in the colony of Roanoke. They felt that it would generate more interest if she were the one to speak to your queen. I am more confused as to why you and I were sent as well."
"You were sent because you are a strong warrior and it's because of you that Roanoke survived the first winter."
"The chief merely listened when I asked them to help… I was four, I was a child." Starfire smiled gently in remembrance.
"Yeah, but they listened to you because you're some 'gift from the heavens' or some such. I was sent to keep an the both of you." Tara said irritably.
"This 'England' it is the country in which you were born?"
"Yeah, but I don't remember it. I was a wee mite when my dad brought me over, so I essentially grew up in America."
"What about your mother or other siblings, Terra?" Starfire turned to Tara.
Starfire was deeply interested in families. Tara, on the other hand, turned away and was clearly not interested in talking about it.
"Don't call me 'Terra', only the old man calls me that. Why are you bringing this up now? We got stuff to do when we get to England; we should just do it and get it over with without this bloody pomp. Now it's late, get to bed." Tara said, trudging away.
Starfire said nothing and looked back up at the stars.
-On a road to London-
A mid-sized caravan traveled. Covered wagons pulled by horses, the people within noisy with conversation; the head wagon had a knight holding the reigns. The knight was dressed in full plate mail armour, from head to toe, impossible to tell who was underneath that metal. The armour was engraved with many symbols of the occult and arcane and within the helm from where the left eye should be within the visor a red glow blazed. An intimidating figure to thieves or bandits, which was exactly the purpose of him heading up the caravan. A young boy emerged from within one of the wagons and sat beside the knight. This young man had a boyish face that made him appear younger than he actually was; he had pale skin, grey hair and ever so slightly pointed ears. He wore grey peasant clothing. Other than his ears and hair there was nothing that made him stand out in terms of appearance. He was handsome enough, but people who did not know him were generally wary of him because of his appearance.
"So close to the big city, can you believe it, Knight?" The youth said.
Knight said nothing as he continued to drive the caravan.
"Imagine all the people who will come to see the show. The Caulder Circus is going to make a pretty pound on this." He said excitedly.
"GARETH LOGAN! What do you think you're doing here, boy?" A rather churlish voice demanded from the wagon.
A middle-aged, thin man emerged from the wagon, anger upon his face. He grabbed the youth, Gareth, by his arm and held him fast.
"I-I was just talking to Knight, master Galtry." Gareth tried to pull away, but could not; the older man's grip was too firm and Gareth was afraid of him.
"How many times do I have to tell you, boy? Knight is our deterrent against bandits, we can't have you distract him." Galtry growled.
"I wasn't distracting you, was I, Knight?" Gareth smiled nervously.
Knight didn't seem to react or even hear them, but a slight, slow shake of his head told them he wasn't distracted.
"See? It's fine." Gareth smiled at Galtry.
"It is not 'fine'. Caulder may be circus master, but I am master of this caravan. My orders are absolute, now get back to your wagon, you little vermin!" Galtry growled as he yanked Gareth away.
"Ow! Alright, fine I'll go." Gar wrenched his arm out of Galtry's grasp. "Who died and made him queen? Sorry buddy, have to go it seems." He whispered to Knight.
Knight said nothing, did not even acknowledge his friend's departure. He had a job to do, a purpose to fulfill, nothing else mattered, his existed needed to be justified; in his own eyes, if in no one else's.
-A road in Spain, sometime close to nightfall-
Two figures traveled the roads of Spain; both robed both with the hoods of their robes over their heads. They traveled to many a town, few of which were avoided because of plague and illness that beset these places. The two had no fear of illness or of bandits, nor of things darker and far more sinister than the nightmares of mortals; creatures foul and terrifying, drinking of mortal blood and feasting upon mortal flesh. There were other things to fear, things that even petrified the dark monsters. The inquisitors, as well as the paladins of the church; these Hands of God were most prevalent in Spain, hunting monsters and heretics. The two came upon a crossroads, a signpost warning of a quarantined village down one path. The two looked down the road and began to travel towards the town. A villager, ill-looking himself, stopped them, though he barely had the strength to stand, let alone bar their path. He spoke clearly, in a broken form of English; it was assuredly not his first language.
"Leave -koff- at once. Sick… many sick –koff-." He said as he struggled to stand.
The shorter of the robed strangers reached out a hand to caress the man's face. It was a slim, feminine hand, with skin so pale that it seemed to glow in the moonlight. The townsperson suddenly felt better, as though he'd been cured.
"How… Who are you?" He asked, speaking Spanish.
"We are travelers." Said the taller of the robed strangers in near perfect Spanish.
The first removed her hood to reveal a beautiful woman, an angelic face framed by jet-black hair.
"I am Angela, my daughter and I seek refuge. We will help the townspeople as best we can." She said.
"Are you demons or angels?" The townsman asked, his voice quivering.
The daughter seemed almost to shudder at the word demon, but Angela smiled reassuringly.
"We seek no souls as compensation, we only wish to help." Angela's voice was soft, gentle. She put her arm around her daughter in a comforting way as the walked into town.
The village was littered with the dead and the dying, as the people were no longer able to bury or even move their dead. Angela moved to those who were beyond help, administering herbs and poultices that would ease their suffering and let them sleep for the last time. The other moved to one whom she could help and once again she extended her hand, her slender flawless hand, to touch the forehead of the dying man. His fever cooled rapidly, the marks of the plague on his face healed quickly. He looked up at his saviour and tears formed in his eyes. He saw her face, a face of an Angel, perfect beauty. She had kind violet eyes, marked with some nameless sorrow, lovely red lips, the colour of blood, that bore a gentle, and yet somehow empty, smile. There was a gem embedded in her forehead and it glowed with an inner light. Black hair glistened in the light and she truly seemed an angel of mercy come to stave off death.
"Tell me… what is your name? Are you an angel?" The man asked.
"My name is Deirdre Roth and I am no more an angel than you. I simply help whomever I can when I can." She said with a kind tone.
And yet her voice, while melodious and beautiful seemed to lack something, as though she were not expressing emotions at all.
Author Notes: In case you couldn't tell:
Ollie Quinn Oliver Queen Green Arrow
Seamus Harper Roy Harper Speedy
The rest I believe you can figure out on your own or you will in ensuing chapters. I wonder if you can pick out the historical differences that exist in this story and our actual history?