"God forgive you, but I never can."
Queen Elizabeth I
June 30th 1607
Upon waking, I find myself rushing to the dining hall. I am in a haste to see him, the emotions that had enveloped me last night had not yet taken their leave and I wish to be in my king's presence more than anything.
"The Lady Swan," the guard announces to the hall as I hastily walk in.
Edward rises from his seat and all the diners follow suit, he reaches for me when I am but a few steps into the hall. I slow my walk to as to prevent my embarrassment should I fall. It is all too likely and to do such with such a vast number court gazing upon me would be beyond shameful. When my hand is in encased within his he kisses it soundly as I curtsy. I do so knowing it bothers him greatly when I do. He stares at me indulgently and I simply return it with one of my own.
"Are you well, wife?," Edward whispers when we are both sitting. He faces me allowing the rest of the table to speak among themselves.
"I am in much calmer spirits since we last spoke."
He pouts, his green eyes shining with amusement. "How tragic that I am not."
My skin flushes and I reach for my glass taking a sip as he smirks before turning to his brother. I look to find Alice and Jasper knowing full well I would not. They were still locked away in their chambers and I doubt I will see them until they've left for the country. My father also isn't here, though I'm not surprised. His hatred for court will not diminish on my account.
"Lady Swan, we have yet to be introduced," the man beside me spoke. "I am Lord Michael Newton, Earl of Bath."
Turning to him, I smile. "Truly? I have visited Bath many a times. It is genuinely one of the most beautiful places in all of England."
"Second to Devonshire of course," he jests.
"Of course, but there is much of England I have yet to see, so I am sure I can be proven wrong," I reply, leaning back as wine is poured for me.
Without thinking I look up and thank the server, which proved to startle not only him but the rest of the table as well. Once again, my face flushes.
"Do not fret," Lord Newton whispers and I can see he wishes to snicker, but I find myself staring into Edward's amused eyes.
He knows how to possess me with a simply gaze. It is as if he takes pleasure in my embarrassment. Holding his gaze, I reach for my glass, however when his foot grazes my own, I drop it spilling its content across the table. If my face had taken a pink tint before it has no doubt adapted a startling shade of red now.
"Poison!," Rosalie screams, rising from her chair but it does not register with me until I see that the spilt wine has scorched the food it touched. I rise with haste, backing away from the table and looking for Edward, finding him already at my side.
"GUARDS!," he yells and the room is filled with soldiers. He points to the footmen."Take him, now!"
The server looks as shocked as we all are and fights back. "No! Sire, no! T'was not I! T'was not I!"
I can't speak nor can I hear anything other than his screams as he is dragged from the hall. I feel Edward pull me away from the hall. I can not bring myself to pay attention to our surroundings. All that I can think of is the poison. It was meant for me. It was in my glass, the glass I had almost drank from. My insides would have been as the burnt bread had I ingested it. My hands go to my throat and I freeze.
"Wife!," Edward yells shaking me and I snap out of my reverie to find that we are now in the library. It is not the same as the one I was brought to the previous night.
"Edward, we must not be here," I whisper, in somewhat of a daze.
He places his hands upon my cheek, forcing me to look to him. He gaze roams over me as he searches for any sign of harm.
"Did you drink from it?," he asks me softly but with haste.
"Earlier, but it was not tainted, for if it was I am sure I would be here no longer."
"I shall find the source of this treachery and they shall know the very essence of pain." Edward kisses my forehead once before taking his leave.
I can feel the fear within me sway to anger.
June 30th 1607
"Has he spoken?," I fight my rage as I speak to the men of my counsel as they bow to me.
Emmett frowns, coming to stand beside me. "He says he was given the wine just as all the other footmen were. But his was the only one that was poisoned."
"Then remove each and every one his fingers until he speaks the truth!" It is only by the mere stroke of luck that the drink had not taken her life!
"Aye my king, but what if this incident was only the start?," James adds rising to his feet as well.
"Go on," I nod to him.
"This man is but a mere pawn. A footman. I doubt he has the mind to concoct such a deed without prompting. Many hope for a union with France, but now, with not only the princess gone but your astute choice to allow the north to build the royal navy, it would seem some are not pleased. Who is to say that this is not the first of many acts against you?"
They wish her dead.
"Can it not be the French?," Emmett asks in my place.
"If it is I shall burn France to the ground and take the Kings head myself," I say as calmly as possible and they all freeze. "Get as much as you can from this man and once you are through, take his head and place it the square so all will know what will become of those who seek to move against me."
"Sire." They bow as I dismiss them with a wave. Upon doing so, Carlisle and Charles enter.
"Have you seen her?," I ask him.
"Aye sire, she was shaken, but in better spirits," he frowns and I can see his greatest fears coming to light. I am not a fool. I am aware of his feelings towards court and this incident proves his worry to be appropriate.
"I shall sooner die than allow harm to fall upon her."
Carlisle nods looking over the counsel chairs. As he does, his mind turns. "Is it the French?"
"It very well could be or those who have aligned themselves with the foreigners." All of whom are traitors and will meet with a traitor's end.
"The French princess must already be upon her vessel," Charles adds.
"Aye. How convenient, for if she were not I would have had her detained until the French king confessed to the deed."
Before either can speak another knock comes and I wish to yell in frustration. A mere moment to think, that was all I sought and I can find it nowhere.
"Sire, Lady Swan is in the dungeons," Hal announces.
"Bella," Charles sighs in frustration.
Frustration that I do not feel due to the rage I feel building within.; "What in the bloody hell is she doing in the dungeons?!"
"She wished to speak to the footman."
Gritting my teeth I exit the room.
For the love of God!
June 30th 1607
It is as though the foulest odors on earth are gathered and stored in the dark stonewalls of the dungeons. Had these scents not been familiar when I had visited the poorhouses of Devonshire, I would have released the contents of my stomach. The guard takes me to the cell where the very man I had thanked, lay curled into a ball at the far end of the cell. His face is bloody, his nose bent and circles of gray, black and blue surround his eyes. He shivers and shakes as if he is a starving child.
"Open the gate," I tell Hart.
"Open the bloody gate! I shall not ask again."
He does as he is told and when he does, the server tries to melt into the cobblestones of the cell.
He does not look to me, he simply tries to hold himself together. "Please, I beg of you.I know nothing of poison. I swear it."
"How do I know what you say to be truth?," I ask him.
At the sound of my voice, he looks up and rushes to my feet but before he can make it far enough to touch me Hart draws his sword. But that does not stop the man from weeping.
"Milady, you must not doubt me. I was given the sac. I did not know of its contents."
"Hart, leave us."
"Milady, I must adhere to the word of my king. Should I disobey him he would have my head."
I sigh. "Then at least remove the sword."
He nods pulling back and I go to my knees, resting before the man. "Look me in the eyes."
"Did you plan to take my life?"
"Do you know who did?"
"Nay milady, nay," He cries. "I have no proof and who is to believe me? I shall surely lose my head."
I do not know of how to reply, I rise, staring down at him as I notice he is not the same age as I, he is undoubtedly younger. I can not think of any reason for him to wish me dead, nor do I feel that poisoning me was his intention.
"I believe you." But is it my place to pass judgment?
"Lady Swan!," Edward hisses in rage.
"May God keep you," I tell the server before exiting.
As I do Edward takes ahold of my wrist, just as a parent would take a child, before dragging me towards the stairs with much haste. He seems not to care as I almost trip; he pulls me from the rat infested dungeons and back to my chambers. The ladies are scattered throughout the room but upon seeing us. They hastily take their leave, not bothering to curtsy.
"Are thou sick in the mind? Are thou lacking sanity? Or do you simply wish to further the gossip within court!," he yells as I pull my wrist away.
"Am I lacking sanity? How dare you pull me as such through the castle, as though I am a child!"
"I am king! Or have thou forgotten that along with the most basic knowledge. Half an eve has not yet passed since that vermin attempted to take thee life and you stand within his cell as though he is but an average man!"
"You are correct your highness! My life! It is my own and I wish to know the truth. I wish to face the man for myself."
"You would have known the truth after he was questioned."
"A man beaten will confess to anything!"
"A man who commits treason will deny everything!"
He and I glare at each other as I take a step back causing him to take a deep breath.
"He is guilty Isabella. He shall be questioned then put to death."
"He deserves a trial at the very least—"
"Enough! He is guilty and I shall find those who allied with him."
"Why, because you say so?," This is not right!
"Aye, because I say so!"
"Then what makes you any different than Aro? He called my father a traitor. He called his wives traitors, children and even bloody dogs were traitors in his eyes! I am not a fool Edward, despite what you may believe. I have seen murderers and that child is no such thing. It is my life! I, of all people, would care to know who wishes to steal it from me, but I shall not lay blame without cause."
Edward steps to me, his jaw tightens before walking towards the door.
"Lady Swan, you are to remain within your chambers. Hal and Hart shall stand guard, should you need anything, send for a maid."
"As you wish your highness, for I am nothing but a fool," I whisper walking towards my window.
I hear him sigh as the door closes but opens soon after. I turn hoping it is him, but sadly it is Alice.
"Alice? What are you doing here?"
"My sister was almost murdered today, where else would I be?," she smiles sadly, rushing to me and pulling me into a hug. "I came to see you earlier, but the servants relayed that you went to the dungeons to seek out this heathen. Bella, how could you?"
"Not now Alice, I beg of you," I whisper hugging her tightly.
"All will be well once you and the king are wed."
"If he weds me at all," I mutter, moving towards my bed and throwing myself upon it."I compared him to Aro."
"I know. I was angry and it simply slipped from my tongue," I mutter, pressing my face into the pillow.
She sighs, placing her hands upon my head. "Esme—"
"Esme. Oh God, I forgot about her. She shall have my head as well."
"Bella breathe. If there is anyone who enjoys your company more than Edward and myself, it is Esme," she laughs, petting my hair.
I lay for a moment, breathing slowly and thinking.
"Someone wishes me dead," I whisper.
"Yes and Edward wishes to protect you. You have never allowed anyone to care for you."
I sit up quickly."T'is not true."
"Isabella, you have taken care of everyone for years. You took care of me, even though I am older than you are. You care for me, Charles and Jacob. For God sakes, you take care of all of Devonshire. You place the world upon your shoulders and ask us to just accept it. Never do you ask for help or even complain. Sometimes you need to just step back, allow Edward to take care of you," she says stunning me into silence.
"Alice…" I am not sure what else to say.
"I myself am graced with moments of wisdom from time to time," she smiles.
I giggle taking her hands. "I wish not to think of this. We should be in joyous spirits, celebrating your wedding and preparing you for your honeymoon! I feel as though I am always the center of attention."
"Sister, you are and shall always be. You are to be queen, what concerns you concerns the King and thus all of England. I do not fret. I am quite happy." Her face flushes, causing me to flush as well.
"Then surely it can be said that you are enjoying the spoils of marriage," I grin.
"Oh Isabella, I can hardly explain the emotions."
"You do not have to," I say and she gives me an odd stare before her eyes widen.
"Isabella Marie, tell me you have not—"
"No I simply saw," I whisper.
She freezes and her eyes widen. "You saw?"
June 31th 1607
I had not gone to her last night. She hurt me deeply and I wished not to anger us both by going. If I had gone, we may have both said more to hurt each other. Instead, I sit at my desk by candle light in the lateness of the eve looking at a written confession by the footman otherwise known as Branson Knox. The paper is blood stained due to the fingers he had lost.
"A man beaten will confess to anything!" Her voice rings out in my mind like thunder.
"Enter," I call at the door as Carlisle enters dressed in nothing but his blouse and trousers. It is very late but I desire counsel.
"My apologizes for calling you at such an hour."
"How can one deny the call of the king?," he snickers as I shake my head at him before nodding for him to sit.
When he does, I give him the letter, which he reads quickly.
"Do you truly believe it is him or do you simply wish for swift punishment to sway any others that may try?," he asks me.
Leaning back in my chair, I sigh. "I do not know. I do not believe the boy acted alone or if he acted at all. Isabella believes he is innocent. She all but called me a tyrant for not allowing him a trial as though I am the villain in this tale."
"T'is the curse of love."
"What have you become a poet? The curse of love?," I chuckle.
"Shall I continue, or do you wish to mock me even more?," he waits and I wave allowing him time to speak.
"One moment you are burning with desire that leads you to, in jest, curse my wife and the next you both are ready to strike each other. It is best you get use to this now for passion goes both ways. That is if you still desire her?"
I frown at the thought of not having her. "I'd rather fight with her than have her be with any other. She is— I do not know what she is, but I do know I will always desire her even as we fight."
"Then give her what she wishes," he states, placing the letter back on my desk.
"Carlisle. I cannot let the man just go free. It will be viewed as a weakness."
"No, do not free him, but allow him his trial. Let the people decide, wash your hands of it," he says yawning slightly as he leans back in the chair as well.
"The people will find him guilty." How can they not? I had seen many trials in court.
"The people yes, the king no. Isabella can not fault you for that and besides, the trial might allow more time for the boy to think of how or who may have gotten him into such a predicament."
I think of it for a moment before nodding. "Very well, I have one more inquiry."
"I wish to crown Isabella queen."
"You wish to what?," he says surprised, no one has been crowned in generations.
"You and I know she becomes queen as my wife, but should I die, so shall her stature if we have not produce an heir. Emmett would be king, though I trust him, I have heard whispers of those who favor him. Today has awaken me to the many dangers that haunt these halls."
"Many are not pleased she is to be your wife, but to crown her your heir should you die… I see your reasoning, but may I suggest that you speak of it to no one, not even your betrothed."
"I did not think to. I wish for her not to think of a time I should be taken from her." She would be enraged I had even thought of such. But what kind of king would I be if it I deny the threats that linger within these walls.
"You have grown Edward. Your parents would be proud."
"They would," I smirk, causing him to roll his eyes as he rises before walking to the door. "Carlisle."
"Thank you, for I know I would not be here if it were not for you and Esme. I shall never forget your wisdom and loyalty."
"I simply wish to rest my eyes sire, not to pass on. Save such praise 'til then," he jests, bowing to me as he takes his leave.
Smirking, I rest in my chair. My body, heart and mind are heavy with thoughts, worry and love for her. She is all that is good in this world. She is England… it is her passion that drives me, makes me a better man, a better king.
You didn't see that coming now did you? I wonder who just tried to kill Lady Swan.
Ps. Yes I know your dying for the wedding lol
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