Chapter 53: Preparations

Recompense is my new name.

Emmett helps to continue to train the men, his wife freshly in the grave I dug for her.

Isabella is hell-bent on training, no matter how much I yell, throw a fit like a petulant child and beg for her to stop.

Is there a way to stop her, short of death?

I haven't found it if there is.

It makes me testy and short with the men, but not with her.

Now I am aware of her condition, I speak nothing but softness to her.

Well, almost.

I cannot hold back when she picks up heavy weapons.

If she loses our baby I will be beside myself. She shared her sperm with mine to create life, and she should take care to nourish it to full health.

As I am thinking on these weighty matters, I look up to see my wife riding Knicklom at a brisk pace and shooting a crossbow at a target put out for the men with hay bales.

She hits it dead center, and though I am amazed and impressed beyond words, I am equally furious with her.

What is the meaning of endangering our baby like this?

Riding a horse like a man surely will dislodge our seed in her belly.

"Get down now!" I screech at her.

She throws the crossbow at Emmett. He picks it out of the air with ease, and then she circles me, smug as hell.

"Why? I am an accomplished rider, am I not? Did you witness what I just did?" She is aglow and apparently lethal.

I am uncertain if I should smack some sense into her, tie her down for her own good, or have my wicked way with her because she is beyond mesmerizing and sensual in this very moment. Her chest looks large and plentiful today.

"You will harm yourself and my baby," I say.

"Pisser of a rumor," she says, making light of it.

"I said come down! We have discussed this. No riding like a man while pregnant. You are showing now for God's sake! It's not . . ."

"Dignified? If you say that word, I will have my horse rear up and bludgeon you with his hooves," she threatens.

"I was going to say 'tis not safe. Please, love," I soften my tone, "you worry me to no end. I want you at my side, and with two feet on the ground."

She hops down very lively, and I cringe at the way she throws herself around with no regard to herself or the child within.

To distract her, I kiss her.

She melts into me, and with my lips firmly attached to hers, I walk her back inside the castle and find something to keep her occupied. Something that will keep her safe.




I sent out spies, and find that Victoria has denounced the Catholic faith, and is one of Anne Boleyn's handmaids now.

Victoria has the ear of the king, along with his bed, and informs him of my whereabouts.

I contemplate moving us to my other lands in Scotland, but now that Isabella is a few months along, I do not wish to disturb her pregnancy. Mothers have lost babies over less vexing things than this.

Contact has been made with my uncle, King James of Scotland, to request an alliance and military help, but no answer has come.

That was two weeks ago.

Our numbers have grown on their own as Henry's people grow rankled over their Defender of the Faith making his own religion so he can put aside his wife of over two decades.

He sickens me so much I want to vomit each morning like my wife used to do before her stomach rounded.

Henry has stripped me of my English titles, taken Castle Leeds and supplanted me with a Duke from the south.

I receive no further monies from those lands, nor from Masen Manor. He does me great insult by taking those lands back and handing them to another.

Our treasury is small, and my army is now at five hundred; roughly half of Henry's.

Dissenters steadily pour in; most of them Catholics, fearing their king is a heretic.

That is the label Isabella and myself have been branded with by Henry.

It gnaws away at me.

I may not follow all of rules, and I do not have a terrific accord with my maker since I never stopped making love to my pregnant wife like I was supposed to, but I am no heretic.

My prayers ascend to heaven like any other man, and I beg the Lord nightly that he will save the country from Henry and his wrath.


I freaking love this man. He gets all incensed his wife is riding a horse and wielding weapons, when in his time period, the most perilous thing a woman could do was have intercourse during the first 6 months of the pregnancy. So funny! *wipes away laughter tears*

Poor Edward is reduced to almost being a peasant with his lack of titles and lands in the choice spots of England. Oh dear… What ever shall he do?