Summary – There was unrest in the Celestial Heavens. One of their stars didn't shine! The Celestial Gods had to exile her; a star that didn't shine was no use to anyone. Elizabeth landed in Stormhold, and wanting to see more of the world, she set off on a journey that would change the course of two men's lives forever.
Current Music – Chuck Berry – Johnny B Goode. I love my classic rock.
She must have fainted before she reached Earth. That was the only conclusion she could make, because it had been night when she'd fallen. It was now day, and by the look of the sun, it was past midday.
She got shakily to her feet and looked about. She seemed to be in perfect health, and she'd landed in a field of wildflowers. She picked one and smelt it. It was beautiful, and she laughed.
She must have looked a strange sight to any passers-by. A young, short, overweight girl running around a field smelling flowers is bound to attract attention on its own, the robe she was wearing notwithstanding.
Finishing what the Celestials would have called 'frolicking', and spotting a town on the horizon, Elizabeth made her feet point that way and started walking. It took her most of the day to reach it, and finally, exhausted, she fell into another patch of flowers and prayed it didn't rain.
It seemed Elizabeth was the lucky sort, for when she awoke, she was warm, dry and refreshed. Getting up and carrying on the last few miles, she passed an obviously drunk man who'd had the same idea she had. He was sleeping under a tree, and Elizabeth sent up a prayer for the uncharacteristic thing she was about to do.
Unhooking his money pouch, she peeked inside and spotted lots of gold coins. Smiling swiftly, she whispered, "Thank you!" and took off at a run.
Reaching the large town she'd been heading for, she stopped and took a few slow breaths before starting to walk a lot slower.
The market stalls were colourful and Elizabeth found her head turning this way and that, quite apart from the rest of her body. Lots of the stalls were filled with noisy objects or strange creatures and people bustled her this way and that, looking at her strangely. She looked down at herself and noticed that her robe was torn down the side.
Sighing, she stopped at a dress stall. "I find myself attacked by gypsies and in need of clothing. What can you recommend to me?" she told the woman on the stall. The stall-keeper was friendly, and in no time, Elizabeth had new clothes and lots of money left over. She stopped at another, smaller stall and bought a bag to put her purchases in and a few men's clothes. She'd always wanted to wear them, but all stars wore robes.
She bought a small pie for her lunch and carried on walking, amazed by the life on Earth. People ran past her, screaming with joy at seeing friends. Children played in hedgerows and mothers chatted, all the while keeping a watchful eye on their offspring. Fathers laughed, clapped each other on the back and kissed their wives. Teenagers danced past, watching each other and falling in love.
And even while watching all this, Elizabeth felt her detachment. It was sad, really; she'd waited all her life for a chance to see this for herself but now she was here, she couldn't find it in herself to do more than watch.
She carried on walking, immersed in her thoughts. So immersed, in fact, that she didn't look where she was walking. An arm grabbed her around the waist as she was about to take the final fatal step, and lifted her off her feet, pulling her backwards and pinning her to the ground.
"Bloody hell, woman, are you blind or just completely dense?!" a man's voice asked angrily. She shook herself out of her thoughts and looked up at him, saying, "I was lost in my thoughts, sir, I wasn't looking where I was going. I didn't look at my feet."
"Didn't realise!? I almost had a heart attack watching you!" It was then she decided to look at her surroundings and at the man. She'd been about to walk off the edge of a cliff. A little way away a ship was docked, and what looked like part of the crew was standing on it watching them.
The man himself had short cropped hair, loose-fitting breeches, and flashing eyes. Overall, to Elizabeth, he looked dangerous and like a pirate. She found that she didn't care what he was saying or what he looked like, as long as he kept looking at her like that.
But she froze when he asked his next question. "What's your name, miss?"
"Elizabeth," she answered, hesitatingly. Her mind was racing a mile a minute.
"And your last name?" he asked.
"I- I-" she stammered. Finally, she said, "I don't know." She latched onto that. She would be a young girl who lost her memory. She'd seen it all the time when she was in the heavens.
He stood and helped her up. "Where are you from?"
She looked as if she were deep in thought. "I- I can't remember."
"I don't know. I woke up this morning in a field; I don't know who I am or where I'm from," she said, making herself sound distressed. Inwardly, she smiled. His angry look was being replaced by one of pity, and understanding. Her eyes sparkled. She was a true human, lying and deceiving. Her inner happiness faded a little. Lying and deceiving was not what she'd been sent down here for.
"All I had were the clothes on my back and a purse full of money," she said, a little less distressed than before.
He nodded, taking her arm. "Come with me, Miss Elizabeth." He led her over to the ship she'd seen when she'd looked around and led her onto it. Pushing her gently to sit on a barrel, he wrapped his jacket around her and a warm mug of tea between her fingers.
"What can you remember?" he asked softly.
"Nothing before waking up this morning," she said, taking a small sip of the tea. It was bitter, but warm, and it slid down easily.
More men came back onto the ship, joining the few men on the deck. She wrapped herself tighter in the jacket and drew back a little.
The men laughed and jeered, and a man pushed himself to the front. "What's this, Skinny? Found yourself a wench?"
Her insides burned with anger, and she made herself look scared. She shook a little, and the man called Skinny placed the tea back between her hands to keep her occupied before whispering, "She lost her memory, Captain Shakespeare. I caught her as she was about to fall off a cliff. I can't leave her."
The Captain nodded, took the tea from her resisting hands, and helped her to her feet. "This woman is off limits, boys. She'll be staying with me for a while."
The pirates looked at each other and smirked, before they remembered what had happened last year when Prince Septimus had attacked the ship and all, as one, looked at the floor.
The Captain started to lead her off, and she clutched at the man called Skinny. He nodded at her, reassuringly, and shouted, "Come on now boys, back to work! We've got storms to catch!"
Captain Shakespeare took her hands and turned her to face him. "You have my word that no harm will come to you aboard my ship."
She took a breath, looked one last time at Skinny, who was watching them closely, and nodded. The Captain smiled swiftly, and led her to his cabin. Sitting her in a comfortable chair, he asked, "What do you remember, Miss?"
"My name is Elizabeth, I know that much. I woke up this morning with no recollection of yesterday, or the day before it, or the day before that. I can't remember my last name, or even if I have family waiting for me somewhere."
"That is quite a pickle, Miss Elizabeth. Well, you cannot be left here," he said, as the ship gave a shudder. "And in any case, we're moving now."
"I don't want to impose," she said, wringing her hands. "Just take me so far as the next port."
"Next time we make port, Miss Elizabeth, will be in a year's time, back where we started. We're lightning catchers, and we only need to make port once a year."
She sighed, pretending to be a little put-out. Inside, of course, she was rejoicing. She got to see the world, ish. She got to spend time around normal… Ish… Humans. She got to see human life from the right angle, and she got to see it with the man who had helped Yvaine. She wrung her hands, and said, "Captain, I really don't want to impose."
"You're stuck with us now, Elizabeth. Once we set sail, we only make port in exceptional circumstances," Captain Shakespeare said, getting to his feet. Making his way to a gramophone, he put the arm to the record and set it going. Elizabeth at once relaxed in the easy music.
"Quite aside from that, Miss Elizabeth, I wouldn't leave you alone and with no memory. You'd get lost and most likely hurt."
She sighed a little, keeping up her put-out façade, and nodded. "Yes sir, I would."
"It's good to see you haven't lost your manners," he commented kindly.
"No, my parents drilled it into me from a young age. I know that much, sir," she replied, smiling.
He smiled back. "Good. If I could have children, I'd do the same. Now, young miss, what do you like to eat?"
She froze again at the question, seemingly appalled. "I don't know that, either."
He laughed a little. "I can see it's going to be a lot of trial and error with you, Miss Elizabeth." She laughed along with him, and replied, "Almost definitely, sir. I'm sorry to be such a difficult passenger."
"You're no trouble at all, Miss Elizabeth," he replied.
A/R – I still haven't got the book I ordered, but it's on the way, so if anything's amiss, once I've read the book, I shall change that. At the moment, I'm going from movie-verse, and it may be wrong.
Once again, sorry for the weird dividers. Grrr.
Ah well. Thank you very much to Glor and Fangirl! Both of whom reviewed and favourited! Hoping you're enjoying this chapter, guys.