I am still getting many reviews for this story, even though I finished it ages ago. If you'd like to read the sequel (which in my opinion is WAY better than this one! Gosh I was so young when I started it!) please go to my profile and read "Strange Things Happen". I did not call it "Strange Things Happen at Festivals with Doctor Pepper" like I planned, I shortened it. Thanks to all you lovely people who have read and enjoyed my story, despite it being rather immature and terribly rushed. Your support is what makes me keep writing. I love you all.
SNEAK PEAK FOR SEQUEL
PLEASE CLICK 'STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN' ON MY PROFILE FOR THE REST
I don't suppose anyone would recognize me now.
I suppose they'd wonder what the blazes came over me. Why I would put my life on the line… why I was risking my neck for this.
Was my existence worth this?
Who would look at me and think I was the same person?
I, painfully nicknamed Pippin in high-school—forever dubbed through the internet as Pippin Baggins—was wearing a pair of high heels.
Anyone I once knew could perhaps recognize me—but they would take one look and say, "That can't be Pippin. Pippin would never be caught dead in high heels."
My point exactly. I was waiting for the moment to trip and fall over, face planting, and dying. It would be all too easy; a lack of coordination and air of clumsiness was still in my possession. I still couldn't dance to save my life. Nothing about me is graceful. All it takes is a little fissure in the ground, a hole, an unstable blade of grass—a friendly shove, or an unfriendly shove—followed by any other kind of accident. A spilt drink, a bicycle going by too quickly, maybe getting chased by a bee.
Anything could happen, and then, I would die.
In my mind, there is no injury or hospitalization. It's always instant death for me. It goes straight from possibilities to an epitaph, a prediction to a eulogy, a random thought directly to the grave digging… from a single gulp of Dr. Pepper to being swung out two stories over a parking lot but landing in a sandy cave instead?
Hey, it happens.
It was cheerful, but quietly so. Everyone spoke in low, conversational tones, without the need to laugh too loudly or shout over their food and drink. Caspian sat at its head, and when he saw me, stood up and waved me over boyishly. He was gesturing me to sit at his left side, but when everyone saw him stand, naturally they all followed suit and stood—at respectful attention—looking at me as if I was someone they needed to impress.
"Please don't get up," I choked on my huffing snickers of giddy delight at the mistaken level of importance. "Do sit down."
They looked to Caspian, only to find him chuckling just as much. He motioned for everyone to sit and resume, which they did. I dropped my fistful of skirt down, back to the floor, afraid it would be considered disrespectful to be barefoot at the table of the King.
At Caspian's left side, I sat between he and middle-aged man. The man wore a ready grin, shaggy unkept hair, clear sky-blue eyes and clothes that smelt of sea-salt. His cheeks were ruddy with windburn and his hands were leathery with work.
Across from me sat the DLF—dear little friend—Trumpkin himself. But he did not see me—he was engaged in a rapid conversation with a giant raven.
"Drinian," Caspian addressed the man I sat next to. "I'd like to introduce an old friend of mine—Pippin. She once worked with the four monarchs."
"How do you do," I said politely, about to shake his hand, just as we heard the sound of a horrible cough coming from Trumpkin's place. Trumpkin was staring at me, open-mouthed. He had choked on his wine and nearly spilt it all over.
"PIPPIN?" he gasped, wiping the wine from his hand onto the napkin.
"Ello, DLF," I said cheerfully. "I tried to say hello to you yesterday—but I'm afraid you mistook me for a journalist."
"Why—how did you—what, Aslan's Mane—what are you doing here?"
I bit my lip. "Visiting?"
"Voyaging," corrected Caspian.
"Oh!" I clapped my hands like Snow White. "Caspian! Er, I mean, your Majesty! Am I to go, then?" I turned to Drinian. "You don't mind?"
"You're to go on that blasted ship?" exclaimed Trumpkin indignantly.
"What the Lord Trumpkin means is, he's happy for you," Caspian interjected, smiling jovially.
I met more sailors I hadn't been introduced to (properly) yet. I shall try and introduce you to them, as well as I can… I met them so sporadically—sometimes speaking to them off and on all day—only to learn their name from Aemon several hours later. Due to the unconventional way of "meeting" those I traveled with, I shall list the following crew members that walked along the beach, talking and laughing, and dreaming about what adventures the future might hold for us. I hope this shall provide some context, so that it does not appear crew members are just popping out of the woodwork when they've been there all along.
There was Rob, the young tenor lad who sang about the lost love and her empty glove during the deck-party. He was of a medium build, tanned by the sunlight, and had long hair pulled back in a ribbon. If only he had a three-cornered hat, he might have looked like he came from a Sons of Liberty protest in 1770s Boston.
There was Klaire, our crows-nest watchman. The man so slender that he could have been a pencil and I might not have noticed. I think the lack of "2B" written on his forehead was the give-away. His face was beardless and his face looked a little starved, but I have to say that my favorite feature was his crooked nose (broken far too many times, he said.)
There was Ave, the sailor who was trying to sleep while I sketched Aemon's portrait; he was short, bearded, burly, and wore a headband that unnecessarily kept back short tufts of red hair. If I had to describe him without knowing him very well, I'd say he was suffering from short-person's syndrome. If it was bigger than him, he wanted to challenge it to a boxing match.
Neil, a large, portly fellow, was the one who teased me about the Dawn Treader size, before we boarded for the first time. He didn't talk so much as he laughed. He chuckled, snorted, chortled, jested, guffawed—every type of laugh, he had it, and executed it more often than he spoke. This wouldn't be odd, except that he hardly smiled before laughing. He'd be frowning, when all of a sudden, a laugh would jump out and frighten everyone half to death.
I've mentioned him before, but there was also Flanagan, the fiddler. He was lithe and energetic, like a bird, but strong and nimble—with a tendency, I'd noticed, to not wear shoes, but rather a purple scarf tied around one knee. He was about twenty-six, but looked fourteen. It wasn't just me who had a "baby face", thank-you very much.
The one that I immediately fancied—not romantically, mind you, but the same inspired awe that most people have when meeting their heroes and inspirations—was a faun, the only other hooved creature (other than the minotaur) on board. His name was Pan, ironically. His blondish coat, small pointed beard, and gleaming eyes were, for the most part, the only specific things I observed about him. He kept to himself, and I hadn't the opportunity to strike up conversation yet. He seemed to be the introvert of the group.
Last but not least, there was Bastian, a gentlemen who was I think almost eighty years old but described himself as "a young sixty". He kept a pipe firmly clenched between his teeth at all times, but I never saw it lit. His hair, white and wispy, seemed to be constantly floating away from his head from static electricity. He called it his "lightening hair" due to Narnia being somewhat behind in scientific terminology.
I have sadly neglected the other members of the crew (about eight others, I should think), but truthfully, some of them just didn't do a lot of talking, and many of them were night-watchmen.
So when they were working, I was sleeping, and when they were sleeping, I tried not to disturb them. I hoped that walking about to see the sights would present an opportunity to learn their names and spend time with them, but they chose to stay behind with the ship and oversee the replenishing of supplies.
Aemon, Rob, Ave, Flanagan, and I… well, and King Caspian, for that matter… were clearly the younger ones of the group, all in our young-twenties. The age difference showed, in a way. We were prone to talk, laugh, and argue, much louder and more carefree than the others. Drinian, Rhince, Rynelf, Pan, and Reepicheep were in mid-thirties (I think—perhaps fauns and mice age differently). Tusk, Baron, Jekyll, Orpheus, Bastian, and Neil made up the elder generation, though they joked and laughed among themselves as much as the younger folks—just with more decorum.
It was different, naturally, being there and knowing them. They were not just members of a list. They were the roots and branches of the Dawn Treader. For however long I'd be there, they were an honorary family.
Without warning, Aemon chucked a bundle of seaweed at my head. It landed against my shoulder with a stinky slap, slid off, and rolled back into the surf.
"I am going to kill you," I said with a clenched smile, looking around the ground for a good weapon. I found nothing. Lacking the means to do any better, I scooped up a handful of wet sand, let out a war whoop, and tossed it in his direction. It landed on the back of his calf.
"Eek!" he squawked. "Cold!"
"Serves you right!" I retorted.
"Children," Tusk moaned. "If I'dda known you two would act like a brother an' a sister who can't get along, Idd'a left one of ya on board!"
"Obviously not me," I said innocently.
"Here!" declared Ave suddenly. "I'll show 'im!" He took off after a startled Aemon. We watched as their figures grew smaller and smaller in the distance, till Ave took a flying leap and took him down. An impressive fight was probably occurring, but the cloud of sand prevented us from betting on the victor.
"I should employ Ave to do this on a daily basis," Tusk said dryly. "Then he'd have an excuse for that behavior."
"He's a not a bad chap, though," protested Rob. "You know we grew up together, we did, and I know him to be of the bravest sort."
"Well, you grew," corrected Neil. "Ave will look like me in a few years, likely as not." He patted his own, round stomach. This inspired a few bursts of laughter from the others.
Redhaven's spiced air, warm sands, and musical jungles were left far, far behind. They were nothing but pleasant memories that caused many a smile whenever someone felt a wave too rough or a wind too cold. I wouldn't be surprised if a few sailors left with broken hearts—I won't say names, but some of them wanted to stay and be married and never go sailing again. (Cough, Geoff, Flanagan, Robin, cough).
Now, it was only ocean. There was a bit of rain, but nothing too chilly. The salt of the air, bleaching sun, the creak of the sail ropes, and the dash of the prow cutting through the waves was all that existed. A certain quiet settled among the ship—not among the people, though. The sailors joked, laughed, and sang as much as ever. But the ship itself sailed without any problems and hardly seemed to need any handling.
On the third day out, Geoff invited me to stay up one night and observe the night crawlers at work, convinced that there was some rivalry and they should prove they are the better workers. I went to sleep just after noon, and woke up sometime in the bitter bleak of night. I stumbled out of the cabins, blinked in the torchlight, and saw that the ship did indeed seem to be "crawling" with spidery sailors. They were up the rigging, in the nest, at the helm—making sure that we were on course at all times.
"So am I just supposed to sit here?" I said doubtfully to a passing shadow.
Geoff's face peered into the orange sphere of firelight, considering my question. "Crows nest?" he asked.
"Fear of heights!" I bemoaned.
"Helm, then," he grinned. "Olan will tell you anything you want to know."
I clambered up the stairs and greeted Olan, who instantly boomed "GOOD EVENING!" and shook my hand so hard I felt seasick. The man was so smiley and, despite Orpheus being the biggest person on the ship, he seemed to take up so much space. I felt like I was Reepicheep's size.
"So you're the navigator," I attempted to start a conversation.
"Ah, helmsman!" corrected Olan. "I go where he tells me!" he gestured behind us. Sitting in the darkness on the bench was Herring, the man who looked like everyone's favorite dad who turned out to be a sword-wielding wizard. Herring gave me a polite, respectful nod.
"Is that the King's new toy?" jibed a voice somewhere above.
"That is very rude," Olan said slowly, "Unless of course, I mistake your meaning? In which case I apologize!"
I looked around, and saw someone lounging on one of the rope ladders spanning the distance between the railing and the crow's nest.
"If thy tongue be a rudder, it determines thy ship," snapped Zacharius, from the galley door. "And thy ship run a black flag if thy rudder directs you to foulness."
"Ugh, someone translate?" said the person above.
"It means shut your idiotic mouth," said Herring, sternly. "Persus, I've been more than forgiving about your so-called humor…"
"Alright, alright," Persus, on the ropes, back-peddled. "I retract."
"Uh—so—Zacharius cooks for our crew," Olan explained, trying to smooth over the tension. "He is the wisest person on ship."
"Do me a favor, Miss Pippin?" asked Zacharius, peering out from the galley again. His white and silver beard seems to display all his years of mentoring. "When you see His Majesty, would you remind him that I am available as his advisee whenever he requires, even if it's during the day shift?"
"I'll remind him, definitely," I promised.
"Midge is up in the crow's nest," Olan continued, "And you've—uh—met Persus."
"Pleasure," Persus said, sourly.
"He's from Galma," Olan whispered, as if that explained his behavior.
"Narnian or not," Herring said sternly, "We abide by a code of honor, set forth by Reepicheep—the respected knight of Narnia was entrusted to provide regulation for behavior. Remember that, Persus."
"Aye aye, Herring," Persus replied, sounding genuinely chided.
"Now, that's Teeth, down there," Olan pointed to the chicken coop. Teeth was pulling out fresh eggs, and handing them off to Thornton, the other muscular one who didn't say much.
"Teeth and Thornton are awfully quiet," I said.
Olan chuckled. "Teeth is a mute, Miss Pippin. He cannot hear or speak anything."
"Isn't that dangerous, not hearing commands?" I said, feeling very sorry for him.
"Well, that is what Thornton is for. He's a big quiet chap, you see. But he communicates with Teeth. They have got a body language and they are always together. Teeth cannot get along without him—but he works for Zacharius, in the galley. He's got young Aemon's job when he's sleeping."
"Is Zacharius an apothecary, too?"
"Naw, just Tusk. If we need a physician, we have to wake him up."
"Hopefully not too often, then," I replied, smiling.
"Only when Midge fell on me from the crows nest," said Geoff's voice. He popped up out of the keel, waving a small piece of parchment around. "I've got some instructions from Captain Drinian—he's heard about Persus, apparently."
"What's that, eh?" Persus asked.
"You're to mop all the decks tonight," Geoff grinned.
"That's not fair," Persus moaned.
"Are you questioning the Captain?" Herring said, sternly.
"No disrespect intended," Persus grumbled.
"For the record," said Midge's voice from the crow's nest. "I didn't fall on you, I jumped, and you deserved a sore arm for flirting with that Redhaven girl. Especially since that Robin had made it clear he would stop in for a visit with 'er on the way back."
"Why, Geoff," I scoffed, "You and Robin were fighting over the same girl?"
Geoff laughed. "Oh, we thought we stood a chance. Then Olan walked by."
Olan grinned. "You jest. She had no interest in me."
Zacharius's voice suddenly boomed from the galley. "Think not on trivial flirtations that go not past the eyes and what the eyes see! Rather think on what makes you holy, and a vessel for Aslan's will and bidding!"
"Amen!" I exclaimed.
Suddenly, shivering and shaking, Lucy Pevensie—Queen Lucy, the Valiant—was being helped over the railing. She looked about fourteen or fifteen, as radiant and beautiful as ever, having lost the child-age shape of the face and gained another five or more inches in height. Her adorable school-girl jumper, skirt, and headband were soaked through and she was staring, wide-eyed, at the ship. She hadn't seemed to quite compute what she was looking at yet.
I rushed forward unceremoniously and threw Caspian's coat around her. "Don' wantti to c'tch caeld noeew, do we?" I shrieked in a Cockney accent, far too excited to see her to keep my composure. My bebies! I thought.
"Pippin?" she gasped. "Is that you?"
"Hector!" I exclaimed, as if just now recognizing her. "Your Highness!"
"What…?" drawled two or three voices, unbelievingly. Aemon's mouth was hanging open, wondering why I was referring to her as Highness. Or, maybe it was because I called her Hector.
"This is Queen Lucy, the Valiant," I said loudly, holding Lucy like she was one of my wee children at the middle-school youth group. She was shivering and wide-eyed with shock.
"What!" exclaimed more of the sailors.
The rope came up again, and this time, Neil was pulling Edmund over the side. He clambered down, clumsily and wild-looking. His dark hair was sticking up in all directions and his school-clothes looked unsuited for him, being of course, more Narnian than English.
"King Edmund the Just!" I said casually, giving Aemon a glance. Aemon looked like he was about to pass out.
"Is this? What is this? Is this Nar…" Edmund trailed off and made eye-contact with me. "You look familiar," he said slowly. "Is that…?"
"It's me!" I released Lucy of my coddling and ran up to him. Lucy slowly sat down on the bench, nursing a knee where she bumped it against the side of the ship.
"P-P-PIPPIN!" Edmund blurted, his eyes working crazily over the whole scene. "What? How?" Neil was suddenly throwing a large blanket over Edmund's shoulders. "Oh, uh, thank-you," Edmund said quickly. "But—but…"
Then, a younger boy—squirming and wailing like a cat getting bath—was pulled over the sad. And behind him, Caspian jumped over the railing with ease and brought the last of the rope with him.
"C-C-Caspian!" exclaimed Lucy.
"Queen Lucy!" He sat down beside her and gave her a hearty hug. Eustace practically lost all sense of coherency when he saw the strange man hugging his cousin and calling her Queen.
There you are! I do hope you read and enjoy and follow me on many more adventures…