Author: Queen Nan
A.N: I started a new fic... *shrugs* I adore the Tudors... Anyway this is massively AU and if any one needs a historical figures cheat sheet I'll work on one.
I don"t claim to be an expert on the Tudors but I do have a fondness for the time period and I love messing with History so here it is, a Glee!Tudors AU.
As to why this didn't get put in Crossovers... I didn't want to deal with that, and the main characters are still glee characters so it stays in glee, as it is an AU.
Also imagine the actors from the Tudors for certain historical characters cause that's who I imagine now.
The Forgotten Rose
April 17, 1550
-A Tavern in Cheapside, London-
"In 1534 in the year of our lord Queen Anne of England gave birth to her second child and the third child of King Henry the Eighth. The King had spent many long years hoping and praying for a son and so the birth of this child was greatly anticipated. He was to be disappointed again.
The child, though healthy and perfectly formed, was a girl. She was useless to the succession and a blow to the pride of the King. His anger was so great towards his Queen that he sought to hurt her. He lashed out in the cruelest of ways. He lashed out at his little daughter. He banished the little princess away from court, away from his sight and from the sight of her mother. Good Queen Anne so longed for her child, for her small sweet heart, that some say she willed her next pregnancy to bare a boy, to soothe the King's anger.
He banished the little girl with a name given out of spite; Rachel he called her, for he had served her mother for years as Jacob had served for Rachel in the Bible and been given nothing in return. The poor child was fortunate she was not named Leah.
The little girl was not unloved, however. Her uncle, whose love was so great for his dear sister, quit the court to take charge of the child. The King of course had no care for the Princess and provided nothing for her. Her uncle has cared for her these long years. He sent for Mark Smeaton, who as you all know was the best of his Majesty's musicians. Rumor has it that George Boleyn sent for Mr. Smeaton so that he could tutor the little Princess so she must indeed share the Queen's great talent for music and perhaps the talent of the King as well.
The poor Queen, who so loved her daughter that God granted her male issue, did not, I think, take into account the King's pride. The King would not recall his daughter, not even after the birth of his son, Prince Arthur.
It is a sad story… but there it is."
The old man, who sat surrounded in the London tavern, raised his mug "God save the Queen!"
Every man responded at the top of their voices, "God save the Queen!"
The old man smiled and raised his mug again, "God save Prince Arthur and Princess Elizabeth!"
The crowd echoed him, "God save the Prince and Princess!"
A boy in the back stood and shouted, "God save Princess Rachel! May she forever remain in our hearts!"
The crowds' roar was deafening.
The boy sat down among his friends.
One of the boys, tall and handsome, perhaps the tallest man in all of London, spoke quietly, "Your Highness…"
The boy who had stood raised a hand, "I… I do not wish to speak of this yet Finn." He hesitated, "I… I knew of course that my sister had been banished… I never knew why. Mother would not speak of it and of course Father, the King, would not."
Finn spoke, "It's like all the tales we heard from our tutors isn't it?"
The boy smiled sadly, "A Princess… locked in a tower… waiting for a knight errant to save her."
Finn blurted, "I am a knight, Arthur. Perhaps I could save her."
Arthur ducked his head and smirked, "Your are a lord, Finn, you stand to inherit an Earldom upon your 18th birthday."
Finn muttered mutinously, "I ride in the lists."
Arthur barked a laugh and slapped his back, "So you do my Lord, so you do."
Finn scowl vanished and he grinned, "You do to."
Arthur cocked his head, "I always lose, at least to you my lord."
Finn shrugged, "You always said I should never let you win."
Arthur nodded and clapped a hand on his back, "I know Finn, it is why like you best!" The rest of their friends groaned and a couple glared at Finn, who so clearly had the future King's favor.
One of the boys, older than the rest, spoke "If she is as beautiful as your sister she must be a sight indeed."
Arthur gave playful scowl, "We all know how much you… esteem my sister, Robin."
Robin, better known as Robert Dudley glared, "Only Elizabeth calls me that Highness."
Arthur's scowl became a sight less friendly, "Princess Elizabeth, Dudley. I should be displeased if I were to think you were overly familiar with my dear and entirely beloved sister."
Dudley winced, "Of course your Highness… I beg your forgiveness."
Arthur's face smoothed out, "Forgiven." He stood, "We need to go. I should not like it if our absence is discovered. The King would be most displeased."
The boys stood and exited without fanfare.
Arthur, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall hurried down the hall. He had dismissed all of his companions save for Finn and was intent on speaking to his sister. He snarled to himself, the sister his father hadn't banished at least.
Finn hurried after the Prince, whose mood had turned black the moment his companions had left. Arthur or Artie as he was affectionately called by his mother was furious. Servants and courtiers scrambled from his path as he stalked down the hall.
He came to a halt outside of his sister's chambers and snapped at the groom that waited outside, "Please inform my sister that I wish to speak with her." He was almost willing to leave it at that but Elizabeth was still older than him, seventeen to his fifteen and he was still often in awe of her. He tacked on, "If it pleases her of course."
The groom bowed in acknowledgement and opened the door.
He returned a moment later and spoke, "Her Highness bids your Royal Highness welcome, as she has not yet begun her preparations for bed."
Arthur nodded and swept through the doors and into his sister's outer sitting room. He took in all of the trappings and finery and scowled. His father, so generous with his 'Pearl' as he referred to Elizabeth and with his son and heir, had banished his sister, his sister! He had banished her from court and denied their mother a child. Arthur was furious, at his father no less, which was an unwelcome feeling.
His sister was sitting by the fire. One of her ladies was stooped in a bow before her.
Elizabeth rose from her seat and once again Arthur was reminded of how graceful his sister was.
Her lilting voice pierced the silence, "I am not angry Lady Fabray. I understand well that one must obey their father. I am sorry that you must leave my service but I hope you will be happy away from court."
The lady, who was only slightly shorter than Elizabeth herself, spoke "I am sorry as well Highness. But for my father's wish I would gladly stay to serve."
Elizabeth smiled gently and reached out a hand to brush the girl's cheek, "No doubt the Court will lament losing so beautiful a flower. You must be assured that you will always have a place in my service." Elizabeth was not exaggerating, the Lady Fabray was often paid court by the young gentlemen of the Court, but her father had yet to allow any serious suitors near his youngest child. The girl was beautiful, with delicate features and hazel eyes, and blonde which was always fashionable.
Lady Fabray ducked her head and whispered, "I am so glad your Highness."
Elizabeth offered her arm, "Come Lady Fabray, we must greet my brother."
Arthur watched as the lady's face grew horrified. She turned and sunk into a deep curtsey. Elizabeth briefly dipped into a shallow curtsey and smirked.
Arthur stepped forward and raised the lady to her feet, "I have seen you around Court my lady, but I lament that we have never had cause to speak."
Lady Fabray glanced up at Arthur and the Prince realized why his sister would miss the girl.
She held his gaze fearlessly and replied, "I too am sorry for it your Highness."
Arthur smiled at the girl, "Your father is Russell Fabray? The Earl of March?"
The lady nodded, "Yes your Highness."
Arthur pursed his lips, "And you're name my lady?"
The girl inclined her head and replied, "Quinn your highness, Quinn Fabray."
"That is an Irish name isn't it my lady?" Arthur rather liked the Irish, and on occasion esteemed them.
The lady ducked her head in acknowledgement, "Yes your Highness, my mother is Irish."
Elizabeth spoke in a chiding tone, "Really brother, the lady must take her leave if she is to pack. Her father's request was a sudden one."
Arthur started and rushed to speak, "Of course, forgive me Lady Quinn. I shall pray for you safe deliverance to the country. I share my sister's regret that you must leave."
He caught Elizabeth's chuckle just as Lady Quinn spoke, "I am not sorry to have met your Highness and I thank you for your prayers. I confess that I too am sorry to be recalled from court," Her lips thinned and she continued, "But a daughter must obey her father." Unfortunately, went unsaid and for a moment Arthur fancied the lady a kindred soul, for he too was irritated by his own father.
Arthur smiled consolingly, "Of course." He took her arm and led her to the door where he handed her off to Finn, "Lord Hudson, I trust that you will safely escort this lady to her rooms so that she may make her preparations to leave?"
Finn looked slightly befuddled and Arthur was reminded that his best friend, though handsome and kind, was not clever.
The boy snapped to attention after a moment and bowed, "Of course your Highness. It would be my pleasure."He smiled brightly at the lady and she eyed him, amused. The two bowed to Arthur and Elizabeth and took their leave.
Elizabeth waved a hand and dismissed the rest of her ladies and waited until the door was closed before smacking him lightly.
"Lady Quinn, Arthur? Must you be so familiar with my ladies?" She sat with a peevish scowl.
Arthur smiled winningly, "They like it. I am a Prince after all."
Elizabeth snapped, "And a cad."
Arthur sat down opposite her and clutched his breast, "You wound me sister."
Elizabeth arched an eyebrow and demanded, "Why have you come to see me. You have quite ignored me in the past month; just yesterday Mother commented that her little boy was no longer content to spend his time with her." She leveled a disapproving stare his way and Arthur fought the urge to cower.
The Prince replied, "Father has kept me busy. I am learning to rule after all." Elizabeth's expression did not change and so he rushed to add, "Though I will speak to Mother tomorrow and beg her forgiveness."
Elizabeth nodded her approval, "Now why have you come?"
Arthur scowled, "I went into London this afternoon, to a tavern."
Elizabeth's voice was shrill, "Arthur! Are you mad? You cannot simply venture out into London, what if someone had recognized you."
Arthur held up his hands defensively, "No one knew us. It was a rather poor part of London, there was no danger of my being discovered." He played his trump card, "It was Dudley's idea."
Elizabeth let out an exasperated breath, "He should be flogged. The fool should know better than to lead the heir to the throne into danger."
Arthur smiled internally, now Dudley was in trouble.
He continued, "I heard some things… an old man told a story about… our sister."
Elizabeth leaned forward, "Mary?"
Arthur shook his head, "Rachel."
Elizabeth looked suddenly eager, "What did he say?"
Arthur hesitated, Elizabeth so adored their father, and but for the order of their birth she might have shared their sister's fate.
Finally he asked, "Do you know why she was banished?"
Tentatively she replied, "There are rumors of course. The younger courtiers believe her to be deformed or mad and none of the older courtiers, who might indeed know, will speak of it."
Arthur sighed, "The common people know of her, they know of the reason."
Elizabeth breathed, "Which is it? Mad or deformed?"
"Neither… it was because she was not a boy."
Elizabeth reared back, "No… Father… the King would not do such a thing."
Arthur scowled, "He broke from Rome for a son, why would he not punish mother if she failed to deliver one?"
Elizabeth stood abruptly, "To punish mother? You would have me believe that our father, who as you said broke from Rome to marry our mother, banished a child she bore him to punish her? I do not believe it. Father could never be so cruel."
Arthur stood as well, "I do not know if I believe it either Bess. The people, they toasted us, and Mother but they did not toast father. I think they have yet to forgive him for denying them a Princess."
Elizabeth wrung her hands, "I will not believe the King capable of such a thing."
Arthur reached out and grabbed a hold of her hands to still them, "Think not that I believe it out right Elizabeth. I think perhaps we should ask."
Elizabeth shook her head, "If she is indeed banished for such a reason why then did the King not recall her once you were born."
Arthur had no answer.
April 18, 1550
"Pride my darlings." Queen Anne of England spoke sadly.
Her son and daughter stared at her. They had expected vehement denial, they had expected their mother to fly to their father's defense, and instead she confirmed the peasant man's story.
Arthur rushed to comfort his mother while Elizabeth raged, "He banished her for her sex? I… why? Was I so displeasing that the thought of another daughter caused him such horror?"
The Queen replied sharply, "You must never blame yourself Elizabeth. The fault is your father's, no mother could ask for better children. His pride was wounded and he so desired a son."
Arthur's face fell, "It is my fault then."
Anne cupped his cheek, "No my sweet boy, you could no more control your birth than I could control your sex. I was blessed with a son and daughters; unfortunately your father was impatient and acted rashly and now his pride will never allow him to admit his mistake."
Arthur demanded, "How can you think to defend him? How could you forgive him?"
Anne replied gently, "I have forgiven him for my own pain, but I admit I still grow angry when I think of Rachel. She… is fifteen now, almost a woman and I know nothing of her save her facility for music."
Elizabeth sat next to their mother and took the Queen's hand, "I am sorry mother, for your pain."
Anne squeezed her eldest's hand, "Thank you sweet heart."
Arthur whispered, "Where is she mother? Where does she live?"
Anne shook her head, "With your Uncle George, but I shan't give you the name of his establishment, she is still banished."
Elizabeth shook her head, "Why… Surely father must miss her."
Anne clenched her jaw, a Queen did not cry "Sometimes I think he has forgotten her completely."
Arthur waited impatiently outside his father's presence chamber.
Finally the crier shouted, "His Royal Highness Prince Arthur," and ushered him in.
His father sat upon his throne and brightened immediately, "Arthur my boy!" His voice, despite his age, still boomed merrily.
Arthur sank to his knees as was proper.
"Get up my son!" Arthur rose and approached his father.
The King asked, "To what do I owe this unexpected visit boy?"
Arthur spoke firmly, "I should very much like to take our progress separately this year your Majesty."
The King grunted, "Your Majesty? What has happened to Papa?"
Arthur winced internally, "Forgive me father, I did not wish to show any sign of disrespect in front of your subjects."Arthur caught his father's approving smile and sighed in relief.
The King spoke, "A separate progress… why? Surely your mother would be distressed to be parted from her son."
Arthur inclined his head, "Elizabeth and I feel that…"
His father cut him off, "Elizabeth. So now we get to the meat of it. Your sister wishes to see the country without her parents? Hmm? Well… If you are willing to indulge her in this I will not object. It may suit us to allow the people to see their future King, strong and independent."
Arthur nodded eagerly, "My thoughts ran along a similar line Father. And I should be a horrible brother if I allowed my dearest sister to travel alone and unprotected." Arthur employed the Boleyn cunning and appealed to the part of his father that still fancied himself a Knight.
His father nodded, "Such a good boy. You are an excellent brother Arthur. Elizabeth should count herself lucky." He waved a dismissive hand, "I give you leave to accompany your sister on her separate progress but that boy, Robert Dudley I think? He must not be among your party."
Arthur nodded, "Of course father, thank you." He bowed and exited the room, privately thinking that he was lucky to have Elizabeth, not the other way around.
He steeled his jaw. He was going to find his sister… he would be her knight errant and save her from her castle.
May 23, 1550
George Boleyn stood in the doorway and watched his beloved and his niece as they played together. Mark's fingers skillfully plucked at the lute in his hands while Rachel's voice soared through a jaunty tune.
His son sat at Rachel's feet, staring up at his cousin with a smile.
They finished their song and he cleared his throat and applauded, "Bravo, both of you."
He bowed to his niece and smiled at his lover.
His son stood, "Father."
"Noah." His son was tall and strong with his dark hair and his eyes, a Boleyn to the bone.
He sat and spoke, "Please continue. Your playing always pleases me."
Noah smiled, "I agree. Play something else… play something bawdy."
Rachel scowled at her cousin and slapped his arm, "Do not be crude cousin."
The boy smirked, "You perform them so well though."
George cut in firmly, "Noah, one does not speak to a Princess in such a way."
Noah looked down, properly chastised, "I am sorry father."
George reached out a hand and mussed the boy's hair, "I forgive you."
Noah looked up, relieved.
Mark spoke, "I think her Highness should sing a ballad."
George nodded, "I agree. Sing us a ballad my Nightingale."
Rachel ducked her head, "If it pleases you." She stood and opened her mouth to begin her song when one of the servants rushed in.
He bowed deeply and waited to speak.
George snapped, "My God man! Why have you interrupted us?"
The servant replied, "A messenger has arrived, bearing the King's livery."
George stood abruptly, "What? Send him in."
The servant backed out of the room and George turned to his niece, "Rachel…"
The girl's face, usually tan in complexion, had gone pale. She sat and ran a hand across her face, shielding her eyes which often belied her true emotions. George eyed his little niece, who so often reminded him of his sister Anne and scowled. He remembered that Elizabeth shared her father's reddish brown hair, and though he had never met his nephew, had heard that he was a complex mix of Tudor and Boleyn traits, but his niece… Rachel was different. Her eyes were dark and brown like the King's but they bore the shape of her mother's. Her hair was midnight black like Anne's and she was small in stature, smaller even then her mother. His niece, who was given to the dramatics her mother had often indulged in during her youth, was shaking. She did not scream or storm off, she simply shook.
He crouched before his niece, "Nightingale… Please look at me."
The Princess looked up, "Uncle?"
George smiled gently, "Here now sweetheart. All will be well."
Rachel's face grew hopeful, "Do you think… do you think the King means to recall me?"
George replied truthfully, "I do not know my dearest."
Rachel clasped her hands and spoke, "I will hope for the best. I am fifteen after all. Perhaps the King has forgiven me for my sex. I do hope that that is the case. I…"
George interrupted her kindly, "Breathe. We will soon find out."
Rachel clamped her mouth shut, "Of course Uncle."
They waited silently. George observed that his son had an angry glint in his eye and Mark looked mutinous as he cast his concerned gaze over Rachel.
Finally the messenger was let in and the George saw that he was a self important little man. His chest was puffed and he did not sink into a bow as was proper.
George glared and snapped, "Do you think to come into my home and insult my niece?"
The little man sniffed, "She is banished." Rachel stiffened.
George stalked forward, "She is still a Princess and you will show her the respect she is owed." George had spent years drilling it into his servants heads that Rachel was to be respected, that she was to be treated will all deference that came with her status and he would be damned if his work was to going to be undermined.
The man glared but bowed a shallow bow and then declared, "His Majesty King Henry is on progress and has learned that the weather will soon grow dangerous. As your establishment is the most suitable he and the Queen along with all of their households will be arriving by this evening. I have been sent to assure that rooms are prepared."
George nearly bit through his tongue, "They are en route?"
The man sniffed, "Yes. I shall of course stay to assure that the preparations are well done."
George snarled, "You are aware sir, that I am the Queen's brother?"
The man nodded, "I am aware."
George addressed one of the servants in the room, "See to it that rooms are prepared for their Majesties." The servant boy nodded and hurried out of the room.
Rachel stepped forward, "What… what about me. Am I to be presented to the King and Queen?"
The man smirked meanly, "The King gave no indication. You are not permitted to speak to the King or Queen nor are you permitted to enter their presence."
Rachel whimpered and fled the room.
Noah chased after her, shoving the man out his way on the way out.
George snarled, "Be glad you come on the King's business, for I would have you beaten if you did not."
Noah followed his cousin into her chamber and watched as she paced.
She muttered to herself, "I will not stay. I will not. I cannot do it."
Noah spoke, "Rachel?"
The girl whirled and Noah's heart clenched as her tear filled eyes connected with his. He did not care that it was treason, in that moment he wished the King dead. He held open his arms and Rachel barreled into them.
He held her tight, "What do you want to do Rachel?"
She pulled back and looked up at him, "I wish to leave. I wish to stay away until they are gone."
Noah nodded, "Call one of your maids and have her pack your things and I will go and gather mine. We will be gone before Father knows we have had the thought."
Rachel smiled through her tears, "Thank you Noah."
He smiled, "Your welcome cousin." He winked, "I am your champion! Your knight!"
Rachel nodded solemnly, "No lady has ever had a braver defender. I think perhaps you could take on the whole French army and win."
Noah grinned roguishly, "Well of course… they're French." He bowed and rushed out of the room.
Two hours later, Rachel Tudor and Noah Boleyn rode away from Hever Castle.
The Earl of March hurried into the gardens and boomed, "Wife!"
Judith Fabray jumped and stood immediately, "Here husband!" Her husband rounded the corner and caught sight of his wife and two daughters.
He spoke urgently, "We have visitors. The Prince of Wales and the Princess Elizabeth are on their way and will soon be here. They are honoring our home with their visit and we must be prepared."
The Countess of March gaped at her husband, "Oh sweet Jesus. I must go to the kitchens and see that dinner is suitable. Oh Russell what will we do for entertainment?"
Fabray shook his head, "There is nothing we can do about that now Judith, go and assure that the food is worthy at least."
She nodded and hurried away.
Russell's youngest daughter spoke, "The Princess is kind Papa, she will be grateful for the shelter."
Russell snapped, "And the Prince?"
Quinn looked down, "I confess I do not know him well enough to say father."
He glared, "Useless girl." He turned and stormed away.
The eldest daughter spoke, "Sister?"
Quinn looked up. Her face was blank.
Prince Arthur sat at the place of honor in the dining hall of Grace hall. Elizabeth sat at his side as the two royals waited for supper to be served.
The Earl of March spoke again, "We are so pleased and honored by your highnesses visit. When I sent my daughter to court I never dreamed that she would befriend her Mistress."
Elizabeth replied graciously, "Lady Quinn is one of my most valued ladies. She is modest and kind, yet never dull."
Quinn blushed hotly and smiled when the Princess winked at her. She was sure her Mistress was aware that her father was speaking to cover the fact that supper was running late. Thankfully Princess Elizabeth was skilled at keeping her more impatient brother occupied.
Just as the Prince sighed for the second time the servers entered and began laying down platters of food. Arthur, who shared his father's love of food, rubbed his hands and smiled gratefully at Lord March.
He dug in the moment the food was placed in front of him and his hosts and sister smiled indulgently. The boy was fifteen after all.
Five minutes into the meal a servant hurried into the hall and stopped in front of the high table, "My Lord March." He bowed to the Prince and Princess and then waited for his master to address him.
Lord March's voice was hard, "Yes? What is it?"
The servant addressed him, "My lord two travelers have come in from the rain. We were unsure as to what was to be done?"
Lord March opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by the Prince, "It does you great credit my lord that your generosity is so well known that strangers feel comfortable stopping at Grace Hall." Arthur beamed at him.
Lord March smiled back, "Show them in. Have them dried off and then escort them to the dining hall so that we may meet these 'strangers'." The servant looked stunned but nodded and hurried from the hall.
Ten minutes after the servant had left the great doors opened and the two strangers entered the hall. A boy and a girl really, for neither looked to be older than the Princess Elizabeth, walked in together. The approached the raised table and all those seated could make tell that both were finely dressed, better even than their hosts. They made a handsome couple with their dark hair and eyes. The boy stood taller than the girl by more than a head. The girl herself was petite.
As the two approached they sank into a deep bow and curtsey. They had obviously been informed that they were not the only guests.
Arthur spoke, "Rise please! You must be hungry and our host has provided a feast." He hurried from his own seat and around the table, shocking the courtiers that were had accompanied the Prince and Princess on their progress.
He offered his hand to the small girl and breathed as her lifted her to her feet, "And your name my lady?"
The girl looked up at him in awe and replied quietly, "Lady Rachel your highness."
Arthur nodded, "Lady Rachel… and your companion Lady Rachel?"
The girl smiled and pulled her male counterpart forward, "My cousin Lord Noah."
Arthur smiled and led them to the high table. He sat Lord Noah next to Lady March and then led the Lady to his own side and placed her next to Lady Quinn. The two girls nodded to each other as Lady Rachel sat.
Arthur sat, his gaze still focused on the new lady and spoke, "Eat! Eat." Everyone did as they were told and resumed the meal. Lord Noah did as the Prince had done and tucked in almost immediately whereas the Lady Rachel leaned towards the Lady Quinn and murmured something. The blonde smiled at her and pointed out some of the dishes which the brunette quickly chose.
Lord March decided to speak, "I did not catch you surnames my Lord?"
Lord Noah swallowed and replied, "Howard my Lord March."
The older man narrowed his eyes a fraction of an inch, "I do not recall seeing either of you at court."
The boy shrugged, "There are so many Howards and we have yet to come to court Lord March. I am just turned sixteen. I am sure that soon my father will approach the Queen about a place at court for me and perhaps my cousin."
Elizabeth smiled, "Perhaps the lady could serve me? I am always willing to help our cousins."
Lady Rachel ducked her head, "Your highness is kind."
Dinner proceeded in much the same manner, Lord March attempted to ferret out more about his two 'guests' and the two skillfully avoided giving any type of real answer.
Finally the end of the meal loomed and Lady March began to apologize, "I beg your forgiveness your highness's, I was unable to secure any form of entertainment," Under such short notice went unsaid.
Lord Noah who was still working on his candied fruit, "Rachel can sing." He did not look up as he said this but instead shoved another bit of apple in his mouth.
The group turned to look Lady Rachel who had gone red in embarrassment.
Arthur asked eagerly, "Are you proficient at music my lady?"
Rachel replied modestly, "A little your highness."
Noah snorted, "A little, she has the voice of an Angel!"
Elizabeth smiled, "Would you sing for us my lady?"
Rachel took a deep breath and nodded, "Is there a lute I might use?"
Lord March nodded and bellowed, "Fetch the lady a lute!" One of the servants hurried from the hall and returned a moment later carrying the instrument in his hands.
Lady Rachel stood and took the lute in her hands. A chair was placed at the center of the room and the lady sat. She took a moment to make sure the instrument was tuned and then she took a deep breath and began,
"Alas, my love you, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company."
Lord Noah had not been boasting. Rachel's voice was intoxicating. Every man in the room found themselves entranced, as if she was a siren from the Greek myths and even some of the women found themselves leaning forward.
Lady Quinn was one of them.
Rachel finished the song and immediately began a playful jaunty tune that delighted her audience.
The Prince clapped his hands, delighted with the lady while his sister stared at the girl with an unreadable look on her face as if trying to puzzle something out.
Rachel played seven more songs before the Prince stood and declared, "My lady you must come to court. I have no doubt the King would delight in your gifts."
The lady blushed hotly and starred at her feet, "If the King should request me then of course I will obey."
The Prince cocked his head, that was a curious thing to say. He shook it off, "Does my Lady dance?"
The little Songbird smiled brightly, "I do your Highness, though not as well as I sing I think."
Arthur waved a hand, "I think I should like to stay here for a little longer," He turned to Lord March, "If our dear host agrees of course."
Lord March was eyes the Prince and the Lady Rachel but smiled none the less, "We would be delighted your Highness. It is such an honor to have you and the Princess here."
Arthur cleared his throat and Lord March rushed to tack on, "And of course Lord and Lady Howard."
Elizabeth stood, "I think tomorrow I should love to dance."
Lord March looked slightly alarmed, "I shall employ musicians so that dancing will be possible your Highness."
Elizabeth swept from behind the high table to stand near her brother, "I beg you forgiveness my lord but I am very tired. I should very much like to retire to bed." She turned to smiled gently at Rachel, "You of course may share my quarters with my ladies and myself."
Lady Rachel was staring at the older girl with bright eyes, "Your Highness is too kind."
Elizabeth smiled gently at the smaller girl and then addressed Lord March again, "Would you be willing to lend me Lady Quinn Lord March? She does know my routine so well and I would hate to deprive her of her quarters entirely."
Lord March replied immediately, "Of course you Highness. My daughter will serve you well." His last words held a veiled threat directed towards his daughter.
Elizabeth's mouth tightened, "Thank you my Lord. Arthur, escort me to my quarters please?"
Arthur nodded and offered his sister his arm. Lady Rachel, Lady Quinn, Lord Noah, and Lord Finn all hurried to follow, leaving Russell Fabray in his great hall.
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