A Thorn In The Rose: A War Of The Roses TL

From the wiki
In 1426, Westmorland had licence to enter his lands, and on 14 May[9] of that year was knighted by King Henry VI.[10] In the same year he married Elizabeth Percy, the daughter of Sir Henry Percy (1364-1403), KG, (Hotspur) and widow of John Clifford, 7th Baron Clifford. They had one son, Sir John Neville, who married his cousin Lady Anne Holland, the daughter of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, and died without issue shortly before 16 March 1450.[11]
2nd Westmorland's heir would be his brother unless he has male issue by his second wife tho by 1453 she'd be 43.
Chapter 146: Raby
Chapter 146: Raby

December, 1461

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury looked at the tapestries on the wall and marvelled that his nephew hadn’t changed them. These were the same tapestries that had been there when Richard himself had been a child. Either his nephew had not realised that or he just didn’t care. Either way, Richard felt some level of respect for his nephew grow then.

It was just a shame that the man wasn’t here, and that instead, Richard was having to speak with the man’s wife.

Eleanor Beaufort, was tall, proud and with beautiful hair. She looked intimidating, and Richard thanked God that he was taller than her. He would not want to think about what it would be like to have to look up at her.

“Lady Westmorland.” Richard said. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. I have come on the instruction of King Edward.” His nephew had been quite clear; Westmorland’s son was to keep the Earldom and the lands. Unlike what the King had said would happen to Percy, who had kept Alnwick but lost everything else.

“It is not as though I had a choice, now is it?” Lady Westmorland replied curtly.

Richard grunted, then continued. “It pleases His Majesty to state that your son Edmund, shall succeed his father in his rights and liberties as Earl of Westmorland. Provided of course that the new Earl takes up residence in my household, to be raised as a ward until he reaches the age of majority.”

“Who shall govern his lands?” The lady asked.

“His Majesty feels it pertinent to give you the right to govern your son’s lands, with oversight from the Bishop of Durham.” Richard said.

The lady looked as though she might protest this but she eventually said. “Very well, I agree.”

Richard was pleasantly surprised by how easy that had been. Given that the woman was the former Duke of Somerset’s daughter he had expected there to be much more resistance. But then, as he thought on it, he supposed it made sense. Lady Westmorland had her son’s future to think about, and women were far more protective of their children then men were, having less of this chivalrous nonsense to think about.

“Very well. There will be a formal signing ceremony later on in the Great Hall, and you will with your son need to formally pledge allegiance to the King.” Richard said.

“Fine.” Lady Westmorland said.

Richard nodded, then out of sheer curiosity asked. “Do you know where your lord husband has gone?” Richard didn’t like his nephew, he found him far too frenetic and mad, but he was kin, and Richard wanted to know.

Lady Westmorland’s composure broke for a fraction then, her eyes widened and something that looked like a tear came to her eyes, before she pushed it back and said. “I do not know, sorry.”

Richard sighed. “That is a shame, I would have liked to speak with him.”

“Why?” The Lady asked. “So, that you could make fun of him or rub it in his face that he lost?”

Richard shook his head. “No, so that we could finally put everything behind us.”

“You wanted to make up with him?” The Lady asked surprised.

Richard sighed. “Yes, we may have argued and fought, but at the end of the day, he is family, and we must keep our family close. This war has taught me that.”

The lady laughed and at his raised eyebrow, said. “I just never thought that you would ever say anything like that.”

Richard smiled. “Life is full of surprises, my lady.”
Chapter 147: Waaaaaales New
Chapter 147: Waaaaales

February, 1462

Henry Beaufort, Earl of Dorset….no…. Duke of Somerset took a breath and then took a swig of wine. It was bloody cold in the castle. It was always bloody cold; years of this place never being lived in had meant that the windows and the heating were substandard. The King didn’t seem to mind it, but everyone else did. It was why Henry had started a small levy to improve the castle, and had asked that building work start immediately.

Some had grumbled about it, but when the changes came they wouldn’t mind the expense. Of that he was sure of. What he wasn’t sure of was whether or not they would ever venture out from here. He took a breath.

“News?” He asked.

“The men are happy and prepared.” Owen Tudor, the commander of their Welsh contingent said. “They are prepared to destroy any enemy of the King.”

Henry nodded. That was good, the Welsh had come in useful during the fight against York. “How many can we expect for the next campaign season?”

“Three thousand, archers and all.” Owen said.

Henry whistled. Three thousand, that was a lot. “Of good quality?”

Tudor bristled. “Of course.”

Henry nodded and left it there. He turned to Devon then and asked. “And what of our English men?” The English were the ones he was actually worried about. The longer they were in Wales, the harder it would be for them to sustain morale and cohesion. People would want to go back to their homes, and their families.

“They are ready to fight, but they need cause.” Devon said. The man was unlike his father and brother, Henry actually liked him.

“Reason to fight?” Owen Tudor said. “Fighting against a usurper is not reason enough?”

“Most of the men are in a foreign land, away from everything they’ve ever known and they’ve not even seen the King. Of course, they need a real reason.” Devon retorted.

Henry held up a hand to stop Tudor from protesting further. He could understand what Devon was saying. Men were simple creatures, they would fight for their family, for their home and for their King. But they were far away from the first two, and the last one hadn’t been out of his rooms in weeks. It seemed that executing Warwick had finally come to haunt the King. He’d retreated within himself, barely speaking, barely moving, barely eating. It was incredibly frustrating if Henry were being honest with himself, but he didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t force the King to be something he wasn’t.

He took a breath. “What do you recommend?” He eventually asked.

“Someone needs to take command.” Devon said. “Someone needs to lead. The men need someone to fight for.”

“Who do you suggest if not the King?” Tudor barked.

Devon looked at Henry and he had a horrible idea of who Devon would suggest. “You, Your Grace.” Devon said.

“Me?” Henry asked. “Why?”

“You are young, you are smart and you are capable. Furthermore, you are the King’s closest adult male relative. You are the perfect person to lead us. The natural person.” Devon said.

Henry was about to say something in protest. He didn’t want the burden of this, but before he could Tudor spoke. “Devon is right.” Henry looked at Tudor and raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been coordinating the war effort for a long time now, you brought Wales together. You are the natural choice.”

Henry took a breath and thought about what Tudor and Devon had both said. It was true that he had been organising things in Wales for a long time, he’d been the one to suggest the ambush and diversion of York’s forces. And he’d been the one to bring about changes to the formation of troops. But this seemed like a lot. He’d be taking over the role that his father had traditionally held, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted the baggage.

He took another breath. There wasn’t really anyone else who could do it though, he supposed. Devon wasn’t respected enough; de Vere wasn’t trusted and Tudor was Welsh.

“Fine.” He said.

Tudor and Devon both seemed relieved.

“Excellent.” Devon replied.

Henry took a third breath and then said. “We must take Ludlow then. Before York’s get tries to claim it for his own. It is February now, before long there will be another campaign season.”

Take Ludlow and they would firmly shut the door on York and Wales. Fail and they were all fucked.

“What would you recommend?” Tudor asked.

“A rapid attack. Search and destroy.” Henry said. “Sneak in and claim it before they know what’s happening.”

“A combined force?” Devon asked.

“Yes, infantry only. We take it and we win.” Henry said. He hoped he was right, truly.