First in God's Favor
When Lady Lillian Evans learned that she was a widow, she promised herself she would never remarry. At the age of sixteen, she already possessed a strong will which put off most people. But when the King of England wishes for her to take a new husband, fate seems to play against her. Her half-brother comes to her rescue and suggests she marry a friend who is none other than the great James Potter, the hardheaded Scottish warrior. At first Lily is at a loss of words by the uncaring attitude of her husband to be but soon falls under his spell in her attempt to save his soul.
Author's note: Please note the absence of anything magical in this story. You will recognize some characters from Harry Potter, as you know they do not belong to me.
"Bishop, will you explain to us the hierarchy on Heaven and on Earth? Who is the first in God's favor?" the student asked.
"Is it not the apostles that stand first in the eyes of our Lord?" inquired the second student.
"No," replied the bishop. "It is the great archangel Gabriel, protector of women and children, who is above all."
"Then who comes next?" the first asked.
"Naturally, all the other angels," the bishop answered. "Then the apostles come in, with Peter at there lead, the prophets are next in line as are the miracle workers. And last but not least, we have the saints."
"Yes, that does make sense. But tell us bishop, who is the most important here on earth?"
"Man," he immediately replied. "The highest of them all is our dear Pope."
The students nodded their heads in agreement and only one, the eldest of the two, spoke up. "Next in God's love stand the cardinals and the priests."
"That is quite right." answered the bishop, pleased that his message was being understood.
"Who is next in importance?" the second student asked once more eager to get a response.
"Well, we have the leaders of the Church and the married and unmarried men who are of the same position as merchants and sheriffs." said the bishop.
"That makes much sense to me. Then what?"
"Well, let me see: all the animals here on earth come after, dog is the first since he is man's most loyal friend. We then have all that Mother Nature has given us, you know plants, herbs; basically everything that permits us to survive. Finally, there are the smallest creatures on the planet, the insects and such." replied the bishop sure of himself.
"That is all?" questioned the first student.
"Bishop, you have forgotten the women. Where exactly are they in this list of beings nearest to God?"
"Women?" repeated the old man, eyes wide. "Why, my dear boy, women are at the end of the chain! They are the lowest of the low, even more so than the dull-witted oxen!"
"Bishop." the oldest asked.
"Are you giving us God's hierarchy or the Church's?"
The bishop completely appalled by this blasphemy cried. "They are both the same aren't they?" As always, men believed that God's will corresponded to that of the Church's and did not think to question it. The society's beliefs were dictated by ignorant men who sought to fill their pockets with what didn't belong to them and who tricked and schemed against all.
Some women knew better than to take the words of the Church seriously while others just lingered in the darkness unnoticed by all. This is a story about one who broke out of that awful habit, one who spoke up and wished to better her life. Untamed as she was only one could ever hope to keep her in check. She is one of the First in God's Favor.
As Lady Lillian sat on one the cold benches of the little chapel set up at the back of her so called home, she wondered if her situation would ever get any better. That monster of a husband of hers had gone to war with the rest of the men from England and had left strict orders not to let her wonder off on her own. It seemed that his trust in her had reduced to almost nothing ever since the visit of that old bishop who constantly preached about the inferiority of women. Lord did she hate that man! Bishop Bolton had sought to put her down every chance he got and managed to humiliate her constantly in public making her look like a complete fool. It was embarrassing but didn't compare to the beatings she'd get from her husband after.
His idea of teaching her a lesson was undoing his belt and hitting her as hard as possible until his arm got tired. It was painful and Lily often cried herself to sleep. When she was lucky he would just leave and spend the rest of the night with a common prostitute but he stayed most of the time. Baron Gruder was not the forgiving type and didn't accept no for an answer no matter how much pain she was in. He would play ruff with Lily, get her undressed and have his way with her throughout the night. Luckily, she never got pregnant and this seemed to bother Gruder even more since an heir was required for the survival of his name and honor.
Lily, although not much of a strong believer in what was said by the Church, had prayed after every encounter that she wouldn't be with child. For once, her prayers were answered and it gave her something to think about.
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the entrance of Falcon, her faithful steward and senior in charge since the Baron Gruder's hasty departure from England by order of the King, was given the responsibility of telling his mistress the god-awful news.
It was going to destroy her.
AN: This story is essentially based on a book by Julie Garwood but I have also incorporated various scenes from different books. This first chapter is from J.G. Also note that the story will not be at all like the book Saving Grace and will have a very different ending.