Author's Note: For flamingjets tumblr prompt - Mary saving Bash from the dungeon. I do not own Reign, nor do I claim any historical accuracy =)
No Sound But the Wind by the Editors
We can never go home / We no longer have one
I'll help you carry the load / I'll carry you in my arms
The kiss of the snow / The crescent moon above us
Our blood is cold and we're alone / But I'm alone with you
Help me to carry the fire / We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire / It will light our way forever
We tried running away, but our mistake was leaving during daylight. If we leave, together, in a veil of darkness, maybe we might succeed. All I know is I cannot stay here any longer, and neither can Sebastian. His life is in my hands, and I must save it, as he has saved me. In this game of Kings and Queens, Knights and Pawns, our lives can end as easily as one blows out a flame. I cannot bank on a treaty, for those, too, can be broken. The only way I can protect those I love is to do things my way.
"Your Majesty?" Nostradamus questioned. I entered his workroom with a flurry of fabric and radiating an air of hostility. He caused this mess, and now he would fix it.
"This is all your fault. You will help me remedy this situation." I hoped my tone conveyed the seriousness of my threat. He will remedy this situation, or so help me.
"I am afraid I do not follow, Your Majesty?" I let a cry of desperation at his ignorance. Time was precious, and also very limited.
"Do not play games with me. You warned me one of my ladies would die, and Aylee died. You warned me that if I marry Francis, he will die before his time." Both my anger and my panic were getting the better of my voice, as it stuttered and screeched while I spoke. "And what did I do? I listened to your warning and left. Now Sebastian is downstairs in the dungeon, awaiting execution if I do not marry Francis."
Nostradamus stared at me, his gaze unwavering and unblinking. Does the man have no feelings? I thought.
"So you see my predicament? Marry or not someone will die, and I cannot have blood on my hands. Innocent blood. Not Francis. Not Bash. No one."
"You must let Sebastian die." Nostradamus whispered. "For the good of the country, he must die. As a ruler you must know your choices are not always easy."
"What?! He is innocent. He did nothing but protect my life. He-he was not even supposed to come with me. I could not go on living with myself knowing he died senselessly." I ran my hands through my hair and around my neck, grasping at anything my fingers could touch. Maybe if I was a more ruthless ruler, knowing the loss of one life in order to save others was acceptable.
But I am not ruthless. I see those green eyes in my mind constantly, watching my every action, pleading for me to do what is right, and not what is easy. The same eyes that watched and protected me in the depths of the forest. The same eyes, I knew, that would hold my gaze for minutes on end, trying to convey their love, devotion, and utmost loyalty. No, I could never be that ruthless.
"How do you expect me to help?" He asked me again, earnestly looking at me.
"You started this whole problem and now you will help me finish it. I need to get Bash out of the dungeons. Tonight."
I am a Queen determined. God help Nostradamus.
"I do not understand what it is you want me to do?" Nostradamus asked for a third time.
"You, sir, will create a distraction. A diversion. And I will get Bash out of the dungeon."
"What kind of diversion should I employ?" The sarcasm was evident in his words. I had not thought this far ahead in my plan, for I hoped he would supply me with a solution.
"You are clever, Nostradamus, you figure it out. A sleeping draught slipped into the dinner wine, or a sudden fire in the stables. Anything, really."
Nostradamus laughed and shook his head. "Are you trying to get me beheaded as well?"
"No, of course not ..."
"How about you let me give you the key to his cell?" He held up the chain from his waist belt. Dangling from a rusted loop was a set of copper keys. "Simple as that. The guards are fewer in number during the evening, and I am sure your ladies are quite adept in the art of flirtation."
I nodded, accepting the keys from his outstretched hand. Of course my ladies were adept at flirtation. They had been taught since birth how to flirt with men.
"But how do I get him out of the castle undetected?"
"You know how the secret passageways work?" I nodded again. "There is one at the far end of the main dungeon hallway, right by Sebastian's cell. It leads outside, as do they all. Eventually."
"You will speak of this to no one." He nodded. I watched him for a moment more, before turning to take my leave. I had much I needed to plan, and pack, before this evening. And I would not let Francis, or anyone, deter me a second time.
"Mary?" My name sounded like a question. "You are leaving with him again, are you not?" Though I had not mentioned my plans to leave as well, he saw right through me. Or he had seen me.
"Have you had a vision of our departure?" The words left my mouth before I could stop them. I hated his visions, his predictions. They had already cost me, Francis, Sebastian, and the entirety of the French court too much.
"Yes, but it has a happy ending. For both of you. Together."
Relief spread through my body, easing some of the tension from my shoulders. "Thank you." My hands gripped themselves together, a nervous habit I was trying to break. It reminded me of Catherine, and I detested it. This may be the last time I ever behold the infamous seer, and I am not sure quite how to bring closure to our estranged relationship. In the end, I merely nod in his direction, my mind already three steps ahead of my body.
I never heard the words he muttered as I left. "Unfortunately, your happy ending may be the only one."
I was determined to be better prepared this time. My bag was packed with sensible traveling clothes, a few small perishables, and several trade-worthy items. Discreetly, I rushed around Sebastian's chambers gathering a few of his personal items and clothes. It was awkward, being in his room without him. Though I shared a room with him on the road, this felt more private, more intrusive. I gave the room one final glance, assuring myself I missed nothing vital, and headed to find my ladies.
It was easy to convince Lola. Dear sweet Lola. And as I explained why I was leaving again, Greer poured her heart out, divulging her relationship with Leith and how we should all should be happy in love, no matter the path we take. I wish, beyond words, they could accompany me on my travels, but they are safer here. I keep telling myself I will eventually see them again in Scotland. Someday.
We approached the dungeons carefully. Nostradamus was right. The guards were minimal during the evening, at least near the dungeon entrance. The sun was setting as Greer and Lola followed me downwards. I refused to involve Kenna, for her attitude at my arrival back at court proved to me where her loyalties truly lie. She was loyal to me, no doubt, but never to Sebastian.
"Come to see your lover, lass? One last tumble before he losses his head?" I bristled at their rude remarks, noting the distinct lack of respect. I may not be their Queen, but I am a Queen in my own right.
"I came to see Sebastian, just for a moment." The way the guards eyes traveled over my body made me shiver. If Sebastian, or even Francis, could see the way their lecherous eyes coveted me, they would be dead before they could blink.
"Take her down, James." The guard motioned to the guard beside him. "But I want to know all the graphic details. I want to know if he makes her scream."
The anger within me reached a boiling point. Through red-tinted gaze, I saw Greer saving the day with her charm. I was glad of her quick intervention, for the last thing I needed would be to cause a scene, drawing more attention to myself and Sebastian.
I followed James down the stairs, my eyes adjusting quickly to the darkness. The dungeons smelled of sweat, and blood, and death. Before coming to the dungeon, I had successfully traced the pathway through the secret passageway from my personal chambers to the outside entrance. I knew, from the descent, and from the smell, that I traveled by the dungeon entrance, though I could not discern a doorway. Stashing our packs near the castle exit, I prayed we would have ample time to both find them, and flee.
"You lucky bastard. Your lady friend is here to pay you a visit. She must have an itch." He winked at Sebastian, who spat back at him through the bars of his dungeon cell.
"Your are a vile piece of filth. No wonder Queen Catherine employs you."
I remained behind the guard, James, as he and Sebastian continued their verbal sparring. Why do I need these keys if the guards let me in so easily? I pondered this question, before seeing the splintered piece of wood laying against the wall. I saw the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Grabbing the heavy wooden board, I drew the wood behind me. With all my strength, I threw my arm forward, the wood in it's grip. I struck the guard on the side of his head, hitting his temple square on. He crumpled to the ground noiselessly.
Sebastian looked startled, eyes widening as he watched me. A smile curved his lips upwards, and he shook his head in astonishment at me. "Well done, Mary. Are you here to rescue me?"
"Of course I am." I whispered, quickly trying the keys Nostradamus gave me. Several attempts later, a key worked, clicking the lock and allowing Sebastian to pull the door open. With purpose, he dragged the guard into his newly abandoned cell.
"Did I kill him?" My voice quivered.
"No, but he will have one wicked headache when he awakes." Sebastian grabbed the keys from my hand, locking the cell door closed. "I assume you have more of a plan than just getting me out of this cell?"
"Yes, I have our bags packed in the secret passageway. Greer and Lola are distracting the guards upstairs. We must away under cover of darkness."
"We?" Sebastian studied me for a moment, surprised, I think, by my offer to run away with him again.
"Yes, we. We failed the first time, but we will not fail now. Nostradamus assured me." I reached for his hand, grasping it firmly in mine. "But we cannot linger. Let us make haste."
I pulled him over the wall, fingering the crevices until I found the right indention. The secret door swung open, barely wide enough for us to squeeze through. Our packs were just where I left them, and I handed them to Sebastian.
He took them from my hands, but let them slip from his fingers. Before I could question him, I felt his arms around me. The embrace was warm, and comforting. I felt his brief kiss on my neck as his lips moved, muttering a whispered 'thank you.' I nodded, fisting the fabric of his shirt in my hands. I wanted to hold him close and never let go.
I sighed as his warmth retreated, grabbing our bags and reaching for my hand. I fell in step behind him, using my free hand to feel along the wall for direction. Stopping, I knew we had reached the exterior entrance.
"Are you sure you want to leave again, Mary? We can never come back."
"I know. But it is a choice I must make." I squeezed his hand, still entwined with mine, as another affirmation. He pushed aside the door, the cold winter air assaulting our faces. We were right on the edge of the forest, and due to the cloudiness, we were shrouded in almost complete darkness.
"Do you hear anything?" He whispered in my ear, his face searching the darkness for any signs of life.
"No. No sound but the wind." I replied. He nodded, and pulled me with him into the depths of the forest.
"Francis, my son, they have been gone over a month now. You must move on." Catherine uttered for the tenth time that day.
"I will never give up on, Mary. I will find them. Again."
"Where? They are not in Scotland, England, Ireland or France. No one has seen them. They could be in the Ottoman Empire for all we know."
Dropping his head in defeat, Francis nodded. He knew he would never see Mary again. Or Sebastian. Her love for protecting others outweighed her personal love for him. He prayed for God to protect them, and keep them safe. He prayed for patience. He prayed for forgiveness. Not for himself, but for his selfish heart. To be a great King, he would need to forget and forgive.
And he was determined to be a great King.