Chapter Two: The Sea Bird
After the Beginning
Chapter Two: The Sea Bird
Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy or the Pirates of the Caribbean
“Beggin’ your pardon, Lady Summers, Miss. Belle, but we’ve arrived,” Thomas said in his peculiar liquid accent.
“Thank you Thomas,” Lady Summers said with a gracious nod as she rearranged her slightly rumpled hairdo and carefully fastened her hat.
Elizabeth bit her lip worriedly. Her father had not been lying when he’d insinuated that the stress and threat of violence was harming her mother’s health. Joanna Worthington Summers was a tiny slip of a girl with very fair skin, delicate bones, and wispy blond hair. She looked rather like a china doll and as she tended to be ill more often than not they were inclined to treat her like one as well.
Elizabeth had always felt slightly guilty about her mother’s poor health. She was not a woman meant to bear children, after her brother, Richard, had been born she took years to recover her full strength and as it was she’d nearly died in childbirth with her and had never regained the vigour she’d had before her second pregnancy.
Elizabeth had her mother’s beauty coupled, thank god, with her father’s strength and never was she gladder of it than when she stepped out of the carriage and into Port for the first time. The assault on her senses was so brutal that for one minute she thought she was back in that strange place. The odour of fresh and rotting fish, mildew, unwashed bodies and brine was prevalent and overpowering. Lady Summers went instantly green tinged and had to be supported by her chambermaid Louise. She carefully extricated some coins from her purse and handed them to Thomas bidding him to find a few strong lads and have them carry the trunks down to the wharf.
“Come along Miss. Belle,” Louise called after her sternly when Elizabeth remained rooted to her spot just outside the carriage.
For a moment Elizabeth entertained the notion of just diving back into the safety of the carriage and going no further but common sense won out over fear and suspicion. Jolted into motion Elizabeth stayed as close to Phoebe and Thomas as her station would permit and followed her mother and Louise through the milling crowd. Elizabeth was privately amazed at the common folk, they milled around going about their business in horrendous rags and in a state of filth Elizabeth had never encountered. Why, they were all dirtier than slaves! The things they said too, catcalls, and grating accents, all shouting over each other.
Mostly they were men though there were a few fishwives and even the occasional Lady, but the Ladies were clearly new money and knew nothing of fashion for their gowns were out of date, gaudy, or quite scandalously revealing.
Elizabeth was more than happy to admit now that her father had been right not to take her with him on his travels when she was younger if this was the kind of influence she would have been exposed to.
They wound their way through the oppressive crowd until they came to the docks and what was apparently the ship they would be voyaging on. It was the largest of the ships there and it looked fairly clean if not as grand as Elizabeth had imagined. She tilted her head sideways for a moment to read the faded lettering on the prow, Sea Bird
“Captain Lorry,” her mother greeted coolly.
“Lady Summers, your servant mum,” grinned Lorry, unperturbed by her mother’s distaste.
Captain Lorry was also not what Elizabeth had expected. He was young for one, a few years younger than Richard unless she missed her guess. He had a thick crop of dark hair about the same shade as her own and a wide grin split his handsome face, he was also tall and tanned as any Spaniard.
“This is my daughter Elizabeth, her body slave Phoebe, my maid Louise and our driver Thomas,”
“Miss. Elizabeth,” Lorry grinned even wider bowing over her hand in greeting, “Come with me ladies and I’ll show you to your quarters. Hastings!”
“Aye Cap’n?” answered a deep throated English voice as a dark haired man appeared at the rail.
“Show these lads to the cargo hold and stow the gear close to the front,” Lorry ordered jabbing a thumb at the brutish thugs carrying their luggage under Thomas’ watchful eyes.
“Aye Cap’n,” agreed the man without question.
Elizabeth was more than a little dismayed that she would have limited access to her trunks and glad that Phoebe had the foresight to pack a small travelling case with a few clean shifts and a spare gown that was old enough to stand a wrinkling.
Aboard the Sea bird
men and boys in various states of undress ran about tying off ropes and loading cargo and all in all looking very busy. One particularly muscle bound man was positively covered in tattoos, articles that Elizabeth had only heard about before that day. She couldn’t keep herself from staring goggle-eyed at the man’s back.
“We best be gettin’ along Miss. Belle,” Phoebe urged her nervously tugging on her sleeve.
Elizabeth blushed and allowed herself to be ushered along ashamed to have been caught staring. She was further embarrassed when she was then forced to lean heavily on Phoebe as she teetered and tottered dangerously on the stairs leading below. In fact by the time she had made her way down the stairs Thomas had rejoined them.
“These will be your quarters, two to a room I’m afraid, your man with have to bunk down with me and the crew but there’s space enough and plenty of spare hammocks,” shrugged Captain Lorry unapologetically.
“Aye sir,” nodded Thomas understanding.
“We’ll be underway shortly, ladies make yourself at home but try not to get underfoot, I run a tight ship and don’t have time or men to waste keeping you out of trouble,” the Captain ordered sternly.
Elizabeth drew herself up to her full height to protest but her mother beat her to it.
“Have no fear Captain, I shan’t be leaving my quarters,” she said with a small delicately disdainful sniff in his direction
The door shut primly behind her and Louise, the very epitome of ladylike contempt and anger. Lorry chuckled and flashed Elizabeth a grin.
“Well missy I reckon your Mama’s still not very fond of me,”
“I should think not Captain,” huffed Elizabeth in a fair imitation of her mother, offended by his familiar manner.
Still she was maybe not quite as refined as the lady in question as she could not help slamming the door in his face. She scowled through the wood as she heard Lorry’s outright laughter fade away; presumably he was showing Thomas where he was to sleep.
As to her own room Elizabeth found it less than satisfactory. It was small enough that three strides in any direction marked the boundaries of movement; the only light came from a round window that she might be able to stick her head out of. There were two small pallets with what looked like relatively clean sheets and there was a slightly chipped chamber pot wedged into a corner where it wouldn’t tip if the boat rocked suddenly.
Phoebe tucked her bag into the tiny little closet alongside a ragged old pair of boots and a few decent shirts that must belong to the Captain. She then helped Elizabeth out of her gown and corset and Elizabeth, with nothing else to do curled up on her lumpy little pallet miserably and tried to fall asleep.
AN: Hope you all enjoyed, please review and let me know what you think.