Chapter 62: Jousting Green
I straddle one of Henry's destriers. It is a good breed—Spanish.
Though I miss Grayson and Knicklom right now, I do not dwell on those thoughts.
I harbor too much animosity toward this pig wrapped in metal, to tarry on what I do not have . . .
Such as my wife.
Is she safe? And what of my tiny little Edward?
I shake my head a little to stop that line of thinking.
My visor is in place, shielding my face and Henry is on the opposite end of the field, talking to his sycophant mistresses while atop his charger. They each give him favor, and his farce of a queen watches on impassively.
It makes bile rise to the back of my throat, so I spit it on the ground.
When he is done with his spectacle, he gets in place on the other side of the list.
I am handed my lance, and I brace myself.
This is it.
Moment of justice.
He will pay.
His lips will fill with dirt, and he will inhale the dust of the earth and know he is nothing.
The trumpets sound, and I spur his horse on between my armored, heavily-muscled thighs.
Sweat pools in my helmet—the day is far from sweltering, but his armor is so thick, it lets nigh a wisp of air through.
It does not deter me from my target.
As he approaches, I form strategies.
His weight is forward, to accommodate from the girth he has accumulated around his middle as he has grown older.
If I throw him forward, the horse will catch his weight, and he might not tumble off.
If I knock him backward, he might be too heavy and seated too firmly to complete the blow.
His horse is thickly armored. This could work to my advantage. It could mean his legs slip and do not hold around the horse's ribs or flanks.
That is the key.
"Aaaaannggh!" Henry howls as he lunges forward with his lance to hit me.
I allow it to make contact, because I go for the dip in muscle behind the horse's front leg.
The beast's leg buckles, and then I ram my lance up as quick as I can and hook it under Henry's chin. All of my force and body weight is behind it, and I even lift my seat off my saddle to see it through.
Henry's head does not fly off, which is most disappointing, but the horse rears up from the pain I inflicted on it.
The king topples off in the process, lands on his back, and the horse falls on top of him, crushing him to the ground.
A sickly high pierced scream rips out of him. "Aaaaaahhhh, Offffff!"
The horse rolls.
Bones in his legs are broken, and he is struggling to get the horse off him while he cries out in agony.
Droves of people race after him, and I seize the opportunity to escape.
They will not take their eyes from their damaged king, so I flee.
I run to find my Isabella. I run to find the world I belong in.
I claim artistic license here for the sake of the story. Historians say the following: Henry VIII's jousting accident occurred at a tournament at Greenwich Palace on 24 January 1536 when 44-year-old Henry, in full armor, was thrown from his horse, itself armored, which then fell on top of him. He was unconscious for 2 hours and was thought at first to have been fatally injured. His leg continued to bother him throughout the rest of his life. Although the leg healed initially, it reopened a few years later and became ulcerated. He was unable to play tennis and resume his usual athletic activities, and thus put on significant weight thereafter.
His height was 6' 4", and his weight estimated to be about 180 pounds in his younger years based on his armor. His last set of armor before he passed away, doubled in inches around the waist, his weight thought to be about 320 pounds at death.
So there you have it.
It's all Edward's doing, and he definitely had a hand in Henry's physically misery.
I'm betting your not saddened by this or shedding a tear for that tyrant, lying in sin with Victoria. Or maybe I'm wrong? ;D Who knows?