Second Chances: Part 12: A Mother's Love
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fanfiction. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit was made. Covington Cross belongs to Thames, Reeves, and Gil Grant, not to me.
The crowd burst from the courtroom, some cheering, some outraged. The Grays and Lelands stood in the passageway trying not to be trampled. They looked at each other in total confusion. They could make out nothing of what was being said in the noisey melay.
Richard caught an noblemen about his age by the arm and asked. "What's going on?"
"She's guilty, they're going to execute her." The man cried.
"No," Lenore screamed as the others stood unable to move, shocked by the news. It was Adam who found action before any of the others. He ran into the courtroom, knocking back guards, noblemen, and merchants alike in his efforts to reach his mother. Quickly the others followed.
Through the commotion they could see their father comforting Lady Elizabeth on the ground. They could also see the guards moving closer to them ready to tear them apart forever. Adam reached his mother first. He bent down and grabbed her by the shoulders, whispering something to her they could not make out. Then he arose and walked frantically toward the judge.
"Your honor." He pleaded. "I beg you to hear me. My name is Adam Leland, and my mother, Lady Elizabeth Gray, did not kill Harry Adderly... I did." The courtroom fell completely silent.
"Adam, NO!" Lady Elizabeth screamed, watching her son confess the dark secret they had long hidden. Lenore looked stricken, as she sank down beside her mother. The family stared at them in shock, Sir Thomas suddenly realizing why Elizabeth could not tell him who the real killer was. She was protecting her child, knowing that is he had been called as a witness, he would have to have told everything he knew. She was going to give up her life rather then see her son executed.
"What is the meaning of this?" The judge howled.
"Please, hear my confession. To execute my mother would be a travesty of justice. I am the one who killed Harry Adderly. Please take me instead."
"Don't listen to him, please." Elizabeth begged, as Thomas helped her to her feet.
"I will most certainly listen to him. Guards." The judge commanded. The tower guards moved in on Adam and shackled his wrists. Then they forced him gruffly down into the chair Elizabeth had occupied that morning. Thomas stood holding Elizabeth for fear she would fall to the ground. Armus and Richard helped a terrified Lenore to her feet, as Eleanor and Cedric looked on.
"Adam Leland, I want to hear your confession. Perhaps you can shed more light on this whole affair." The judge demanded. "Tell the court what happened the night Harry Adderly was killed."
Adam took a deep breath and began. "It started as any typical evening did in that household. Mother, Lenore and I were sitting in the study. I think we were playing a game. She always tried to take our minds off of how horrible life was with Harry." Adam smiled lovingly over at his mother,who was sobbing. "Lenore was about ten, and I was twelve." Adam said beginning to ramble. "A little while later, Harry returned home. He had been out and he was drunk, as usual. He came in yelling for mother. He had been with one of his women, but that was never enough." Adam looked disgusted as he remembered his former stepfather. "He was a pig." He said.
"Please keep your comments in regards to the murder." The judge ordered.
Adam continued as Sir Thomas pulled Elizabeth closer to him. "Mother tried to get us upstairs to our chambers as quickly as she could. We used to hide there while he...he would hurt her." Adams eyes filled with tears at the memories. "That night we didn't make it. Harry caught us in the passageway and started after Lenore and me. He always said that if it were not for us Mother would not fight him. She tried to protect us, but he turned on her. He beat her with his fist so hard, I could hear it. She yelled for us to run, but we were frozen. He wouldn't stop. He backed her into a corner, and I saw that he had dropped his dagger with his cloak in the doorway. I ran over and picked up the dagger. All I wanted to do was to protect Mother."
"Oh Adam." Elizabeth sighed.
He looked over at his mother as if to say everything was alright and then went on. "I really don't remember how I got there but the next thing I remember, I was standing behind him with the knife raised in my hands,... and I stabbed him between the shoulder blades."
"Then he was dead?" The judge confirmed.
"Then he never hurt my mother again." Adam said stonefaced.
"That's why mother took us to France. She thought I would be safe there." Adam said. "But I can't let her take the blame for this. I saved her once before, and now I can again."
Elizabeth could stand it no longer. "Please ma lord, he was just a boy when it happened. He was protecting me. Please have mercy on him." Her guilt overwhelmed her. If she had not married Harry Adderly, they would not be facing this now.
"I am sorry, but a crime has been committed, and the guilty party musts face the consequences." The juge said to her, and then turned to the guard. "Take this young man into custody, and release Lady Elizabeth Gray." He said.
One guard bound Adam, while another released a struggling Elizabeth from her shackles. "Lady Elizabeth, you are free to go." The judge declared.
"But what about my son. Please let him go." She sobbed.
"Adam Leland, it is the decision of this court, in light of your confession, that you be sentenced to death. Your execution will be carried out within two days." The judge said.
Lady Elizabeth screamed, her heart breaking. "NO! Please." She grabbed Lenore in her arms and they cried together. "Oh my darling, I'm so sorry." Elizabeth said to her son.
"It's all right mother." Adam said trying to give her a brave smile as the guard pulled him up from the chair.
Lady Elizabeth tried to follow but she was held back. Her son was hurried through the same door by which she had been brought to the courtroom. As the door shut he was gone, taken to the tower, back to that horrid cell. Elizabeth could not bare to think of her child in that place. Sobbing she fell against Sir Thomas's chest. He tried to comfort her but knew it did little good. He was certain of exactly how he would feel if one of his children had received the same sentence. Armus, Richard, Cedric, and Eleanor tried to fight their emotions unsuccessfully.
"Thomas." Elizabeth said frantically, her eyes begging him to do something, anything. "They're going to kill my baby."
To Be Continued.....