The final hour
So many years had passed since the story began, now he was and old man, only scraps of the stud he was in his youth where left, almost nothing left of the man who played with women feelings and who love and life taught him a lesson by making him fall in love with the one woman he wasn't supposed to love, a girl almost eleven years younger than him and who had gave him a beautiful boy and two girls who had became his light in the dark. Twenty years had passed now since Sara went to court, expecting to become duchess and since he himself had became duke. He was sick now, and he knew there was no future left to look forward too, but longing for those images from the past, and the people he might encounter in death; he no longer feared the ghost of the rebellion leaders, he already felt his debt to them pay, pay from the moment he had lost the person he loved the most in the world.
It pained him also to know he was leaving Brigitte alone in a country that wasn't hers; he knew perfectly well that Catherine would seek everyway to destroy her. He kept asking to himself how he could have missed this evil vengeful side of the woman he once thought could make him happy, he was only comforted by the fact that he knew his son Henry would never be compromised with his mother's evil and that made him a little happy all things considered.
Are you feeling okay your grace? – said Margaret interrupting his thoughts
Yes dear, I was only thinking. Do you need anything?
I was just looking for a book; are you sure you are okay? You don't seem well at all – Charles smiled at Margaret, eleven years old now
What you see are just the troubles of the wisdom that comes with age. I am just and old man thinking about the past, counting the hours and minutes until the end.
If I may say, we love you as a father your grace and it would pain us terribly if you died, you are all we have left and we have been very lucky
Why is that Maggie?
Because our mother never forced us to be Kniverts or Brandons, she gave us the opportunity to be both and that has been the greatest gift she could ever had given to us. Even if most people don't believe so.
And you sweetheart are the greatest gift she could ver give me.
Father, there is someone here looking for you. Is lord Hertford, Brigitte is downstairs with him. - Arthur said, he had known the truth for a couple of years now, Charles had decided to tell him the truth when he turned fifteen, Madeleine and Henry also knew the truth and Brigitte off course knew it too.
Thank you for telling me son. I shall go see what is it that he wants – Charles said and he went away leaving Margaret and Arthur alone.
Where is Madeleine, I don't think I've seen her in a while – Arthur said
I don't know, probably painting somewhere – Margaret said and was about to leave when Arthur stopped her
You? Not knowing where Maddie is? If you are going to lie to me you have to do better than that Margaret
Arthur I really don't know now let go of me.
If you don't want to tell that means Maddie is up to something and it cannot be good at all
Just leave it be Artie, please.
Come on Maggie you know you want to tell me – Said Arthur trying to persuade one of his sisters into telling him where the other was.
All right! I will tell you, she won't come out of the room until Henry leaves – Margaret said
Why? Did Henry do something to her?
No you idiot! She won't come out of the room because... because she is in love with him and what's worse is that he is in love with her too
And she is alienated because?
Because she says she does not want to make the same mistakes our mother did; you know, your father, my father besides the duchess hates us... she's really sad Artie, and quite frankly I don't now what to do or say.
I see... I will handle this myself, now go on; don't leave her alone, and don't tell her I know – Arthur said
What are you going to do?
You will see! – Arthur left the house and went to the stream, Henry was there by himself.
So... when where you planning on telling me you were in love with my sister? – Arthur said and Henry's face turned pale white
I... I wanted to tell you but... it doesn't matter, she does not love me back – Henry said
Are you crazy Henry? She is just afraid, listen women in my family had had so much bad experiences with Brandon man, but if you're intentions with her are serious in deed I will help you
IF your intentions are serious yes, you're both my siblings and I want you happiness. ARE your intentions serious?
I want to marry her Arthur, I really do.
Then I shall help you.
Arthur made his mission to serve as cupid for his sister and his brother, he talked to Charles and in no time Madeleine was betrothed to Henry Brandon in spite of Catherine's protest. It all could have been happy, except that Charles illness was getting worse, he barely could sleep at night and he kept having uncontrollable fevers, death was approaching. Charles went to see the king, Henry was surprised to see him like that; he never actually thought that Charles Brandon could get that sick, he loved him like a brother, even more than he had loved his own brother Arthur.
In spite of everything, life had been beautiful hasn't it your majesty? – Charles said
Oh yes Charles, good fortune has smiled us both. We had all the wealth and women we wanted and lost the ones we loved. Oh my sisters, you cannot know how often I think of them... Margaret, so impetuous and driven; and Sara, so wise and so brave.
Yes his majesty, I only wish I could have loved Margaret the way she deserved it...
Let's not think of the bad, we are too old to trouble ourselves even more.
It was the last time Charles was ever going to speak to Henry; it was the last time Charles was ever going to see daylight. The cold was unbearable that night, he could hear Brigitte next to him but he couldn't see her, all Charles saw was blackness. And in the mist of the shivering he muttered something no one understood.
Sara – he said and as he kept repeating her name the darkness began to fade
What is it sweetheart?- Brigitte said
Sara – Charles repeated and this time everyone understood. Arthur, Madeleine and Margaret looked at each other.
The darkness cleared and revealed a great hall, there was a mirror next to him and when Charles looked at himself he was no longer old, he was young again, as young as the first time he had meet Sara. He kept walking down the hall and finally got to the door, he opened it and a huge ballroom opened before his eyes, people at the sides made him a path of honour; he recognized some of the faces: Margaret, Anthony, Katherine of Aragon, Thomas More, Jane Seymour, William Compton; they all greeted him as he walked by.
At the end of the path there was a throne and sitting in it there was her, looking as beautiful as ever in a golden gown, she stood up and walked towards him, until they where finally face to face with each other.
Hello my love – he said to her and she smiled
You did well Charles, and you should not trouble for Brigitte for my children would not forsake her. And you shouldn't feel guilty because you loved her, what are the odds you would go to the exact town where you would find her
It was you?
You wouldn't look for happiness so I had to push you a little. But it is over now it is time for you to rest, for all of us to rest.
We're finally together and this time no one can separate us
No my love, no one can – they embraced each other in a long kiss and everyone clapped, not for the couple, but for the love, the love that had been stronger than time, than human greed and manipulations; that great love that had survived everything, even death itself.