"Henry the Fifth," Thomas Nashe said, reading the pamphlet. "By…" He flipped the paper over, only to find no name. "No one."

"And why would any of you admit to trying to better me in historical drama?" Christopher Marlow said. Ben hurried in to take his seat. "Comedy, yes. Tragedy, perhaps." Marlow turned to him, noticing his nervous state. "Ben, waiting to see how it's received before you lay claim?"

Ben made no answer. He turned and saw Edward taking his seat, just as the trumpets sounded, signaling the start of the play. Edward gave Ben a slight nod.

"O for a muse of fire," The actor began. "That would ascend the brightest heaven of invention, a kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene!"

The audience was entranced immediately. Ben exchanged a look with Marlow and Nashe. Then glanced up at Edward. The Earl didn't seem to notice.

"This story shall the good man teach his son," Spencer, the actor playing Henry was saying. "And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers." Edward caught himself mouthing the line. "For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile," Spencer kneeled at the edge of the stage and stuck out his arms to the crowd. They all moved towards the stage, trying to grab his hand. "And gentlemen in England now a-bed, shall think themselves accursed they were not here! And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks, that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day!" Spencer drew his sword and held in the air as the crowd cheered.

"My sovereign lord bestow yourself with speed." The next actor began, as the crowd became quiet again. "The French are bravely in their battles set and will with all expedience charge on us!"

"All things are ready if out minds be so!" Spencer replied.

"Perish the man whose mind is backward now!"

"You know your places." Spencer and the other actors turned to face the set. "God be with you all!" Spencer said. They all kneeled. Then the trumpets sounded and the 'battle' began. The crowd cheered.

"Francesco, do you see?!" Edward cried, his eyes growing wide. The Italian couldn't help, but smile. "Do you see?!"

"Si signor."

Edward laughed, then drew his sword. "Death to the French!" He yelled.

The crowd continued to cheer as the battle was won.

"Down with the French!" Thomas Dekker yelled. "Down with the French!" Dekker always became engrossed in whatever play he was watching, but this time he wasn't alone. Some people had even climbed onto the stage to help 'Henry' defeat the French. Everyone cheered and whistled as the play concluded and the actors took their bows.

"Edward!" Henry, Earl of Southampton, suddenly came rushing into his friends box. "William Cecil convinced the queen that only Essex can save Ireland from the revolt." Edward knew why Cecil was doing this. Elizabeth had no heir, if she died Essex would make himself king. He was one of Elizabeth's bastards and he felt that he had a right. This was Cecil's way of getting rid of him. "I've pledged to go with him." Henry continued.

"I, for one, wish to see this anonymous colleague of ours," Nashe said to Ben. He and Dekker stood up and soon had to whole crowd yelling "Playwright! Playwright! Playwright!" Ben knew he was supposed to stand up, but it was dishonest. And he wanted people to like his work. Not what they thought was his work.

"I ask for you blessing, Edward." Henry finished.

"I cannot give it." Edward said, glancing back at the stage, waiting for Jonson to stand.

"If he is to be my, then it is my sacred duty to be with him battle!" Henry exclaimed.

Edward was about to reply when no other then William Shakespeare came out on stage, holding the script to 'Henry V'.

"Will?" Dekker and Nashe exchanged an astonished looked. Ben got up from his seat in disbelief. Edward stared from Jonson to Shakespeare.

Henry saw Edward was not paying attention. "I'm sorry to have disturbed your entertainment." He snapped, and then left. Edward turned around. "Henry!" But his attention was soon back on the stage.

"Thank you." Shakespeare started, but it was very hard to hear him over the crowd. "And it's all written in verse! Thank you!" He then raised his hands for the audience to stop. "Got it, got it, got it!" He said as they quieted down. "It's just- I, uh, - I – It's just been," He sighed. "I mean-I- I want to thank my actors… whose, great, great acting, has, um, brought my words to life… due to their most wonderful acting." Edward watched the whole scene is disbelief. "Umm, and, uh thank you!" Shakespeare bowed and Edward exchanged a look with Jonson.


Meanwhile

When Christine woke up, Erik was at his writing desk. She pulled on his robe and moved to stand behind him.

"Good morning, love." She said against his ear. "What are you working on?"

"A love story. It's about two feuding families. The Capulets and the Montegues. But Romeo Montague falls in love with Juliet Capulet. The Capulets want Juliet to marry Count Paris, but she wants to marry Romeo. She and Romeo are going to run away together, but they are going to make Juliet's family believe she is dead. However, Romeo doesn't receive the message about the plan he also believes she's dead, he decides to kill himself rather than live without her, then Juliet awakes and they runaway as planned."

"That's a wonderful story, Erik. You're a genius."

"Thank you, Mon Angel."

Erik stood up and wrapped his arms around Christine. "I love you so much."

"I love you too."

Erik leaned down to give her a soft kiss, then, without warning, picked her up bridal style. Christine giggled.

"And now, you and I have some unfinished business." He said, dropping her on the bed.


"An actor!" Edward screamed. "And actor for God's sake!"

"My lord," Ben started. "I thought that-"

"You presume to think on my behalf?"

"My lord, your voice is completely different from mine-"

"Voice!? You have no voice! That's why I chose you!"

There were a few moments of silence. Edward turned to his window, then back to Jonson.

"You, uh…you at least kept my name from him?" Ben nodded. "And will continue to do so." Ben nodded again and turned as Edward made his way over to a large shelf, filled with manuscripts. Edward leafed through a couple till he found the one he was looking for. Othello.

"A romantic tragedy," He said, handing it to Jonson. "In iambic pentameter."

"All of it?" Ben asked. "Is that possible?"

"Of course it is."

Ben looked from the play to Edward and was about to say something when Edward flicked his hand towards the door, signaling Jonson to go. Ben bowed. "My lord." Then left.

"Will Shakespeare," Edward said writing on his parchment. "William…Shake…Speare."


The first and third part of this chapter is right out of Anonymous. Review!

~Kate