A/N: OK, so this is my first real foray into writing fanfiction. It started as something to pass the time while I had no internet, then Sue (Roselover24) read it, and the next thing I knew I was writing a multi-chaptered story! Then Ellie (Pomme_de_Terre) read it and also beta'd it for me. Thanks to both of you for encouraging me. I hope it lives up to the expectations!
I give you TUDORWARD!
To Enchant a King
He strode through the doorway from his privy chamber to the presence chamber of his rooms. The whole room dropped in deference to him.
"Your Maj-" started a courtier.
He waved his hand dismissively and signaled to his most loyal subject, Lord Carlisle Cullen, Earl of Warwick. Lord Warwick had been almost like an uncle, guiding the young prince in the ways of a kingdom, like that of England.
"Get rid of these people. I am tired of these games," murmured King Edward.
"Certainly, your Majesty." Lord Warwick inclined his head, and left Edward's side. Edward sat with graceful indifference into his chair in the middle of the room. His eyes roamed the space. His sister, the Princess Alice was holding her own miniature court in the corner of the room. He narrowed his eyes. His sister continually flouted the etiquette of his court. As he was contemplating this, his eyes wandered over a girl, around his sister's age. She had long, chestnut hair, partially hidden by a modest bonnet. He could just see her profile from where he sat, and he appreciated the view. She sat embroidering a shirt for the poor, while giggling at whatever his sister was saying. He was enamored.
Lord Warwick was traveling the room, ushering people out. Edward motioned him to approach.
"My sister, the Princess Alice, and her ladies-in-waiting may remain," he said, not taking his eyes off the girl, now blushing into her sewing.
"As you wish, your Majesty."
"You see that maiden, Carlisle? The one with the rose-coloured dress, and brown hair? Who is she? Who is her father?" he asked, nodding towards one of the Princess' ladies.
"That, your Majesty, is the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, the Lady Isabella Swan. She has just arrived at court."
Edward waved Lord Warwick away.
The Princess was chattering away as usual. She loved to talk, about anything in truth, and didn't care who listened. Isabella sat sewing diligently; giggling at the outrageous gossip the Princess was sharing. Apparently, Lady Tanya Brunswick had been seen in an embrace with a stable boy! Isabella didn't know whether court gossip was to be believed but she laughed at it all the same.
"You know, I should think my dear brother, Emmett will have an announcement to make any day now," Princess Alice said mysteriously.
"Indeed, your Highness?" Lady Jessica Stanley, daughter of Kent, jumped onto this tempting piece of gossip.
"Yes. I believe he has set his sights on the Lady Rosalie Hale, daughter of Norfolk. He has been pursuing her for weeks!"
The Lady Rosalie was one of the most beautiful women at court. She had curling blond hair, was tall, slender, and caught the eye of every man in the room when she entered. And it now appeared that she had caught a most eligible man, Prince Emmett, Duke of York, and brother to the King of England. Prince Emmett was a strapping man, tall with brown, curly hair. He regularly took part in jousting tournaments and won. He also had a reputation among the ladies of court. Now, it seemed, he was to become an honest man, a husband.
His Majesty, King Edward was renowned across Europe as one of the most handsome princes in Christendom. He had bronze hair, copper if caught in the right light. His face was the epitome of breeding, high cheekbones, a wide, stubbled jaw, and his eyes... his eyes were a deep forest green. Not that Isabella had been staring. No, that was highly inappropriate to stare at one's King for long periods of time. She had heard these descriptions at night in the maidens' dormitory, where the ladies-in-waiting slept. That was all.
"He's staring at you, Lady Isabella," said Princess Alice, smiling knowingly. Isabella looked sideways at the King in the centre of the room, and sure enough he was looking over at their spot. She quickly shifted her eyes back to her sewing, and felt a blush rise in her face. Traitor, she thought savagely to herself.
"It appears my lord brother has taken a fancy to Lady Isabella, here!" Princess Alice looked very excited. Isabella did not think this a good omen. The other ladies tittered, Lady Jessica looking envious. She carried on sewing, pointedly ignoring the Princess. There was silence for a few minutes. Isabella chanced a glance upwards. Princess Alice was staring right at her, with an unseemly smirk on her face.
"I feel like speaking to my lord brother, Lady Isabella. Would you accompany me?" Isabella immediately wanted to say no, in fear of embarrassment before the King. However, she could tell that the Princess would not take no for an answer, and would likely order her otherwise. She nodded slightly, and Princess Alice beamed.
Princess Alice stood, and Isabella followed her across the room. Next to the Princess, Isabella felt like a bear. Princess Alice almost floated across the floor, her dress hardly shifting with her movement. Isabella could never hope to look like that. She was forever finding specks of dust to trip over.
They approached his Majesty, and fell into deep curtseys, and rose. The King's eyes never left Isabella's, even as his sister started to speak.
"My dear brother, how fare thee, this day?" Alice had a big smile that threatened to split her face.
"Fine, my dear sister, fine," answered the King distractedly, still staring at Isabella.
"This, my Lord, is Lady Isabella Swan, of Leicester. I'm sure you know her father. Is he not on the Privy Council?" She continued, ignoring his rudeness. Isabella gave a bobbing curtsey.
"Yes, yes, of course," he said slowly. Isabella was caught by his intense gaze. He stared unabashed. She started to feel uncomfortable, as if she was falling, but was determined to not show it.
"Well, I'm glad of you well-being, brother, and we shall not bother you further." Isabella ripped her eyes from the King's gaze. Princess Alice and Isabella curtseyed once more, and backed away from the King.
Once they had sat back down, and resumed their sewing, Princess Alice said, "That went well, don't you think?" She grinned broadly.
The next morning, Isabella was surprised by a letter while she broke fast with the other maidens. Blushing slightly, she tucked it in her dress to be opened later, privately, once she saw the royal seal.
She hesitated in the maid's room while the other maids got ready for the day, then left to fulfill their various duties to the Princess. Once everyone had gone, she sat on the side of the bed and opened the missive slowly.
My Lady Isabella,
I pray, meet me in my privy gardens, this day after dinner. I shall be most honoured by thy presence.
Your most loyal and true King,
Isabella sat staring at his Majesty's handwriting, her hands shaking slightly. After a few minutes, she stood and finished her morning ministrations. She entered the Princess's apartments, staring at the floor distractedly. She approached the Princess, curtseyed and sat, picking up her sewing from yesterday.
"...Bella? Lady Isabella?" came a voice through her distracted mind. Isabella looked up. Princess Alice was looking at her with an amused expression on her face.
"Yes, your Highness?" she answered, blushing at being caught daydreaming.
"Pray tell. Have you received anything of interest this morning, Lady Isabella?" Princess Alice smirked.
"Why would you think that, your Highness?" she asked warily.
"Oh! I should not know. Perhaps the way you are sewing through your dress?" the Princess did not look angry, but rather like this was the best entertainment she has seen for many a month.
"I...I received a letter, your Highness." From the complete lack of surprise on the Princess's face, Isabella assumed Princess Alice knew exactly what had happened this morning.
"Do not worry thyself, Lady Isabella. If you were to disappear for a few hours this afternoon, I shall not notice." Princess Alice then turned to a confused Jessica, and enquired to the well-being of her recently married cousin, the Lady Lauren Mallory, successfully closing the subject, and diverting the attention away from Isabella. Isabella thanked the most merciful Lord for the Princess's discretion, and started to unpick her sewing from her dress.
She had chosen to where her most prized dress, one which her father had bought her on his trip as ambassador to France. The fact that it was a deep green had nothing to do with it.
Edward was pacing his bedchamber, with Lord Warwick watching with increasing silent amusement. Edward suddenly stopped, and glared at him. Lord Warwick bowed his head in apology.
"Tell the kitchens, I am ready," Edward said, effectively dismissing Lord Warwick. "I shall be down waiting in half an hour."
"Certainly, your Majesty," Lord Warwick bowed deeply, and left the room.
Edward could not understand why he was so nervous. This was not the first time he had invited one of the maidens to walk with him. He sat at his writing desk, and dragged a scroll towards him, that was waiting to be signed by him. Even melting the wax for the royal seal did not distract him from his racing thoughts. However, it did waste the half hour before lunch was served in the Great Hall.
He walked quickly through the halls of the palace, sending courtiers into flying bows and curtsies, but he paid them no mind. He desperately wanted to know whether Lady Isabella planned to meet with him. This was a strange thought. He was King. No one disobeyed a direct order from the King of England. However, he could not rid himself of the thought.
The Great Hall was already full with his courtiers, waiting for him. His eyes roamed the mass for the deep brown hair of Lady Isabella. He spotted her near the far end of the hall where the maidens ate. He sat down, allowing the rest of the court to be seated. He signaled to Lord Warwick, who came to his side.
"I would Lady Isabella sit with my lady sister, Princess Alice."
"Right away, Sire." Lord Warwick turned away. Edward watched as Lady Isabella turn around in surprise as Lord Warwick told her the King's orders. She then turned and looked straight into the King's eyes. Her eyes widened and a beautiful rose blush painted her cheeks. She rose gracefully from her seat and walked demurely up to the high table, where the King and his family sat. The King knew this was highly improper, but he did not care. There was a murmur building in to a low roar across the Great Hall as courtiers noticed what was happening. Lady Isabella's blush deepened as she got closer; however, she kept her head held high. Lord Warwick walked ahead of her and pulled out the chair next to his sister. This was when he noticed the look on Princess's face. She looked… smug! There was no other word for it. She smirked at him, and turned away to engage Lady Isabella in talk about palace gossip, he assumed. However annoyed he was at his sister, he was grateful to her for making Lady Isabella more comfortable under the scrutiny of the court.
Soon the furor at the start of the meal was dying down and Lady Isabella started to look more comfortable. Edward finally tore his eyes away and focused on the rest of the hall. He noticed several faces turn sharply away from the high table. He ignored it, and started to eat slowly as Lord Stanley of Kent informed him of the latest troubles from Scotland. Edward tuned him out and let his thoughts wander. Eventually Kent got too annoying, so he waved him away mid-sentence. Kent bowed and removed himself. Edward threw down his knife and napkin. He stood suddenly, causing a chaotic rising and bowing of courtiers around the room. He left the room and almost ran to his chambers. He had never known such uncontrollable urges. He could stop thinking about Lady Isabella. He wanted to know her in the biblical sense, like none other before. The evidence down below was painfully noticeable. He had to calm himself down. He started pacing his room like a caged cat, running his hand through his hair in frustration at his own weakness. He walked over to the water dish, splashing the cold water on his face.
After half an hour, he sent a boy for Lady Isabella and made his way down to his gardens. He stood with his back to the entrance, his hands clasped behind his back. After a couple of minutes, there had been no sounds. He turned around, just as the door to the garden opened. Lady Isabella walked into the garden, dropped into a curtsey and waited.
"Your Majesty," she said softly.
"My Lady Isabella, you may rise. How fare thee?" he inquired, watching her rise.
"Very well, my Lord." She seemed nervous. Edward had to change that. He walked over to the stone bench on the edge of the path, taking a seat.
"Join me?" he gestured to the seat beside him. She perched herself stiffly on the edge of the bench.
"Lady Isabella, there is no need to stand on ceremony out here." He leaned in to whisper in her ear. "We are completely...alone."
Lady Isabella shivered, then blushed ducking her head. Edward placed a finger on her chin, inviting her to look him in the eyes. Her eyes widened as she stared into Edward's darkened eyes.
"Let us pretend. I am just another courtier, just like your beautiful self. Tell me something, anything," he murmured, while looking at her lips. He saw her nod, a tiny nod but affirmative nonetheless.
"I don't… dance. Ever." She shook her head, emphasising her point, but looking embarrassed too.
"Indeed. Why ever not?" he asked, still staring at her lips as a tongue peeped out to lick them.
Lady Isabella stayed silent, offering no explanation.
"Hmm… perchance that can be changed. I would see you dance one day, my dear Lady. I shall make sure of it." Lady Isabella's eyes widened in horror.
"I pray thee, your Majesty! I would hate to dance in front of the court!" Edward sat back, suddenly realizing he had been leaning in quite close to Lady Isabella. Her voice broke his reverie. He abruptly realized Lady Isabella was terrified of dancing. Lady Isabella's eyes widened again in shock at her vehement words towards her King.
"You speak truth. You truly do not dance? Very well, I shall see you dance with me in private, some day, away from the eyes of the court." Isabella breathed out slowly; still nervous but less anxious now he had not ordered her to dance for the whole court. Edward smiled.
She was eternally grateful to the King for not forcing her into dancing. She feared she would die for the shame of it. Her lack of grace made itself wholly known when made to dance. She looked back to the King and saw the smile that lit up his whole face. His eyes had lightened to the forest green she remembered, the corners creased by the smile. Her heart fluttered in time with her eyelids, and before she knew what was happening she had leaned towards him slightly. The King's smile widened. He leaned close, his breath ghosting her cheek. She felt gooseflesh and hairs rise on the back of her neck. She felt a soft, wet pressure on the corner of her mouth. She jumped slightly. He chuckled deep in his chest.
"Relax," he murmured, his lips brushing her cheek. He touched his lips more firmly to hers, then again. As she relaxed, got used to the sensation, she started to enjoy his warm lips caressing hers. She tentatively started to move hers in return. She felt him smile against her.
Suddenly, there was knock. Isabella jumped, and then sat right at the very end of the bench, smoothing her dress, her back straight as a rod. Her cheeks, already flushed from the kiss, bloomed scarlet. She kept her eyes downcast as the King gave a frustrated sighed, leaned back and called the person in.
"Your Majesty, the ambassador from Italy, Duca Demitri de Beluno, has arrived. He says he has most urgent news to convey." The intruder was just a messenger. Isabella looked up to see the King nod his head in resignation.
"Aye, very well. Take his Grace to the council chambers. Send for the Earl of Warwick. Bid him here," he ordered. The boy nodded and bowed.
"Your Majesty." He left. The King turned to Isabella.
"My Lady, I pray forgiveness, but I must attend to this matter. I fear King Aro is being overcautious but it does not do well, even for a King, to ignore a King." He smiled, took Isabella's hand and placed a lingering kiss on her knuckles. "Now, return to my lady sister." His voice dropped to a whisper, and he leaned forward to speak into her ear. "But don't stray too far, my lady."
Isabella stood shakily, gave a hasty curtsey and almost ran out of the garden. On her way out, she almost collided with the Earl of Warwick in her haste. His Grace steadied her while laughing. She bobbed another curtsey and ran around the corner. She paused to calm her nerves. Her legs were still a bit unsteady. After a moment, she continued back to the Princess Alice's apartments. Isabella prayed to the merciful Lord that no one would notice her when she re-entered the rooms. As she pushed open the door, she closed her eyes. She heard no change in the comings and goings in the room, so she opened her eyes cautiously. The Princess Alice was staring straight at her. Isabella blushed deeply for what must have been the hundredth time that hour. The Princess winked mischievously, and returned to her embroidery, a small smile on her face. Isabella sighed with relief and walked the rest of the way into the room, unnoticed.
She sat quietly, watching the other ladies play music on the lute or harpsichord, thinking about her encounter with his Majesty.
A/N: So there we have it. I hope you liked it. If you did, a review would be awesome, and will inspire MORE Tudorward :)
Remember, I'm young and this is my first fic... so be nice ;) Con-crit always welcome!