A/N: This may have just become my guilty pleasure of the season. Horribly inaccurate historically, but somehow I still love it. Picks up after the 4th episode.

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.


Rain drummed down steadily. The night was a vacuous, inky black that seemed like it had swallowed whole all the light of the world. Every so often lightening sliced the sky, coloring the air bright white and purple in turns, allowing the future Queen of Scotland to observe the small clearing in which she currently found herself, water falling in steady streamers from the thick canopy of leaves overhead. She was exhausted, physically worn through, but sleep would not come. Mary was freezing, soaked to the marrow, shivering uncontrollably as she bit back tears.

She realized that tears probably didn't matter. Between the dark and the rain that plastered her hair to her head and washed down her cheeks like tiny rivers, she doubted anyone would notice a few tears. But she wouldn't give them the satisfaction, and she wouldn't allow herself to give in to the despair. That would be the easy thing to do, and nothing in Mary's life had come to her easy, without the machinations of others that sought to use her position and title to their own advantage. Like Tomas. That one still sat bitter on her tongue. It had worked out in the end to be sure, but not without loss of life, though thankfully not hers, or anyone she cared about.

Mary shifted her position as best she could, as the rough bark of the tree she leaned on bit into her right shoulder. Gritting her teeth, she drew her knees beneath herself and attempted to use her legs to right herself, but she found no purchase in the mud. The air smelled of damp, turned dirt and the earthy sweetness of decomposing vegetation. Her entire arm had gone numb, and the muscles between her shoulder blades had started cramping horribly. Biting her lip, she attempted again to flex her fingers, to manipulate her hands, to no avail. The ropes had swollen in the wet, cutting off circulation to her hands. A new wave of frustration rolled over her. If only she could free her hands...

The fleeting wish died a quick death. If only she got her hands free she would... what? Run? Flee, even though she had lost all sense of direction? The storm had come upon them quickly, but it had not stopped them. They rode on for hours into the gale and by her estimation it had to be past midnight. They were miles from the French Castle, deep in the woods, miles from anyone or anything familiar. Only one of them remained awake, a dark presence in a sea of shadows moving occasionally at the periphery of her vision. The rest slept in the driest spots they'd been able to find, wrapped in oilskins to keep most of the water at bay, and in that moment she bemoaned the loss of her hunting cloak.

The horses were tethered at the far end of the clearing, heads low and pressed together against the weather. They weren't even saddled, and she doubted very much that even if she could get free, that she could get aboard one of the animals quickly enough to get away. And what would they do to her then? As of the moment they had kept their hands clear of her, save for dragging her from her horse and binding her ankles and wrists.

Her companion had not been so lucky. He lay only a few feet away from her, ankles and wrists bound as well, though she saw him only for the brief moments that the lightening allowed her to see. He was still unconscious, his hair plastered to the side of his head, remnant of dried blood being splashed off his cheek. And Mary knew that even if, against all the odds, she were to get free and get to a horse, she could not leave him. Not when he had risked so much for her, fought for her, bled for her, a girl not even his own. Even so, staring in his direction she willed him to wake, to fix her with indomitable blue eyes, to let her know that she was not alone here.

The tears came then, mixing freely with the rain. What would become of her, of them? What did these men want? And what of the others? Had they fought their way clear, or were they all dead? How could this have happened? This morning she had been filled with such joy and elation. The sun had warmed her face and her heart, and for the first time since coming to Court, she'd allowed herself the belief that things were going to work out. So what had happened? How did she get here? And how would she get back out?


Chapter 1

Please tell me what you think! This is such a new fandom I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.