Elizabeth Stuart: Pawn, Avenger, Queen

Oh. Oh. This could be very interesting indeed.

Also: Catamites? That works, but it's more a term for the boys themselves. Do you mean sodomites, in this context, at least?
 
Oh. Oh. This could be very interesting indeed.

Also: Catamites? That works, but it's more a term for the boys themselves. Do you mean sodomites, in this context, at least?
I’m confused, what the hell do Sodomites and the French breaking free of Austrian influence have to do with each other?
 
I’m confused, what the hell do Sodomites and the French breaking free of Austrian influence have to do with each other?
I don't know either, but looking at the last paragraph, I am going to suggest that the French King is showing signs of being interested in boys and Henri intends to gain the upper hand over the Queen Regent by procuring them for him.
 
I don't know either, but looking at the last paragraph, I am going to suggest that the French King is showing signs of being interested in boys and Henri intends to gain the upper hand over the Queen Regent by procuring them for him.
Odd way of exerting French power...
 
Chapter 18
Chapter 18: January 1613

Elizabeth considered the question that had been posed to her. "If I may, what does this have to do with your King?"

Henri's mouth tightened. "Begging your pardon ma'am. But I'm speaking out of turn. With your permission, I'd rather not say more until I've heard more."

Well that was certainly fair. "As you probably have guessed, I've never given catamites any thought. So I'm going to be thinking out loud here."

The two men nodded. "I'd be surprised if you didn't need to," Salisbury admitted.

"I'm in communion with the four British Churches," she reminded them. "The Scottish Church is Calvinist, the Irish Catholic. The English Church is close to both and the Welsh Church is this strange amalgam of things that is getting a wee bit pagan."

Henri laughed. "Well I've been told that Catholicism is un petit pagan, and they might be right. So I can't be too bothered."

"I think that's the crux of it," Elizabeth decided. "I made a vow, a new Coronation vow, when I took control of these realms. To quote my predecessor and namesake I won't open windows into men's souls. I can't. So I can't be too bothered with most individual religious laws, because there's so much difference between our different Churches."

Henri looked both shocked and fascinated. "So what do you believe?"

"I follow Christ's teachings. Love God, and love one another." She smiled. "To be honest, now that I am thinking about it, I can't see how two men loving each other isn't in line with that."

Henri released a breath the Queen didn't realize he was holding. "I'm glad to hear that. This plan isn't going to work without your approval."

"So what does this have to do with- oh!" She turned to Salisbury with a bemused smile. "You want to wrap British ambitions in a comely youth like a cape."

"A very short cape," Salisbury joked. "Though he needs to be daring and clever as well, should this just be hero worship."

"I could be wrong," Henri allowed. "But in my experience boys with his... sensibilities rarely grow into great lovers of women."

"So the King is... sensible," Elizabeth stated. "And if I assign an embassy to the French court, you two can slip a handsome courtier onto the staff."

"My father has already selected one," Salisbury told her. "Robert Carr. I won't go into detail about what my father heard to convince him. It would make me blush to repeat it to my sovereign, let alone a woman."

Elizabeth had heard Carr's name, and wasn't so naive about her father's reputation that she was unaware what it meant that 'James would have found him a better favorite than Elizabeth'. She didn't care either.

She stood, feeling the spirit of the Bard as she spoke. "Then make your plans quick as a wit. For love takes time, and we have precious little o' it."

Exeunt
 
Chapter 18: January 1613

Elizabeth considered the question that had been posed to her. "If I may, what does this have to do with your King?"

Henri's mouth tightened. "Begging your pardon ma'am. But I'm speaking out of turn. With your permission, I'd rather not say more until I've heard more."

Well that was certainly fair. "As you probably have guessed, I've never given catamites any thought. So I'm going to be thinking out loud here."

The two men nodded. "I'd be surprised if you didn't need to," Salisbury admitted.

"I'm in communion with the four British Churches," she reminded them. "The Scottish Church is Calvinist, the Irish Catholic. The English Church is close to both and the Welsh Church is this strange amalgam of things that is getting a wee bit pagan."

Henri laughed. "Well I've been told that Catholicism is un petit pagan, and they might be right. So I can't be too bothered."

"I think that's the crux of it," Elizabeth decided. "I made a vow, a new Coronation vow, when I took control of these realms. To quote my predecessor and namesake I won't open windows into men's souls. I can't. So I can't be too bothered with most individual religious laws, because there's so much difference between our different Churches."

Henri looked both shocked and fascinated. "So what do you believe?"

"I follow Christ's teachings. Love God, and love one another." She smiled. "To be honest, now that I am thinking about it, I can't see how two men loving each other isn't in line with that."

Henri released a breath the Queen didn't realize he was holding. "I'm glad to hear that. This plan isn't going to work without your approval."

"So what does this have to do with- oh!" She turned to Salisbury with a bemused smile. "You want to wrap British ambitions in a comely youth like a cape."

"A very short cape," Salisbury joked. "Though he needs to be daring and clever as well, should this just be hero worship."

"I could be wrong," Henri allowed. "But in my experience boys with his... sensibilities rarely grow into great lovers of women."

"So the King is... sensible," Elizabeth stated. "And if I assign an embassy to the French court, you two can slip a handsome courtier onto the staff."

"My father has already selected one," Salisbury told her. "Robert Carr. I won't go into detail about what my father heard to convince him. It would make me blush to repeat it to my sovereign, let alone a woman."

Elizabeth had heard Carr's name, and wasn't so naive about her father's reputation that she was unaware what it meant that 'James would have found him a better favorite than Elizabeth'. She didn't care either.

She stood, feeling the spirit of the Bard as she spoke. "Then make your plans quick as a wit. For love takes time, and we have precious little o' it."

Exeunt
I knew it! What an interesting, innovative way to use Robert Carr. Looking forward to more!
 
Chapter 19
Chapter 19: May 1613

A month shy of midsummer and instead of a march to war, the situation on the continent was a stalemate.

France not taking sides had rather had the opposite effect than anticipated. With the Protestant Union unable to threaten the Catholics, the anti-war faction in the Emperor's court was able to bolster His restraint of the heir.

In England a second son was born, this one named Charles. Cecil recovered slowly, but ultimately passed on his office to his son. It took a bit of maneuvering to get the council to accept that, but ultimately they did. So by May it was deemed safe for Elizabeth to travel to the Palatinate for a longer visit to her husband, who had only been able to see his family for a day or two at a time.

Elizabeth briefly considered making a State Visit to Paris to check on the embassy there. There was some interest in council, but also some resistance. In the end, it was a lady in waiting who came through with the most convincing argument. "When I was first married I ruined so many loaves of bread by not giving them time to rise and bake."

The invitation to Paris was not asked for.

Elizabeth arrived at Heidelberg though to find Frederick wasn't there. Spring flooding around Dusseldorf caused suffering and worse, dissent that they couldn't afford.

She was going to head out right away but Frederick's court pleaded with her that the situation was too unstable for her to go off with two babies. Far better to wait there for his return.

Elizabeth grudgingly agreed to remain in Heidelberg until Frederick came back. She didn't know how long she would be willing to stay though. So thankfully on her third day there, Elizabeth received word that Frederick was on his way back.

But then he didn't arrive on schedule.

After a tense day of waiting, Elizabeth ordered a squad to go looking for his party. The Germans were alarmed that she planned on going with them which led to discussion they didn't have time for. In fact they were still arguing when the Elector's group returned.

Elizabeth was alarmed to hear that the party looked like they'd been attacked. She raced to the gates of the city and thank God he was all right. He rode at the head of his team, sword still out. Frederick dismounted when he saw Elizabeth, ordering the wounded brought into the city.

"The Archduke?" Elizabeth asked.

Frederick shook his head. "Bandits. They caught us off guard."

Elizabeth looked at the sizeable group. It seemed unlikely that mere bandits would risk that. Her confusion must have shown because Frederick continued. "We started off with a much smaller team. Most of these are yours."

"Mine?"

"I sent you a letter that I was going to be in Dusseldorf. They were trying to catch up to you but found my messenger instead. You should have seen the bandits when they saw our reinforcements ride in."

Elizabeth looked around at the riders. She realized with a start that they weren't English. "They're natives from America." Now she had ordered all the men available in her realms to the defense of the Palatinate, but she hadn't realized that command had crossed the Atlantic.

A rider answered her. "My mentor was a loyal servant to the last Queen. When we heard about your call, he told us the Croatoans will answer."

"Croatoans." Elizabeth looked up, remembering that name from old legends. She got another shock when she did. It was a woman, and a warrior woman at that. But though she wore native garb, she was in fact English.

Frederick smiled. "She has the most amazing story. Her parents took refuge with a friendly tribe and learned their ways. I should formally introduce you. Gin, this is Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Queen of the British. My love, this is Virginia Dare."
 

Hey, I think I figured out how to do a GIF. :)

Anyway, my jaw dropped at that. I imagine it is possible that they did just go native, but, wow, that's amazing. I hope that this will help to create a much better relationship between England and the natives now with this tradition.
 

Hey, I think I figured out how to do a GIF. :)

Anyway, my jaw dropped at that. I imagine it is possible that they did just go native, but, wow, that's amazing. I hope that this will help to create a much better relationship between England and the natives now with this tradition.
I'm p sure the evidence does support them going native and that folks back in Europe rejected the idea, much like how british & Canadian authorities ignored the testimony of first nation peoples about what happened to the Franklin expedition
 
I'm p sure the evidence does support them going native and that folks back in Europe rejected the idea, much like how british & Canadian authorities ignored the testimony of first nation peoples about what happened to the Franklin expedition
Franklin expedition?
 
Chapter 20
Chapter 20: September 1613

"The Queen has returned!"

Salisbury sighed with relief at the news he'd been waiting to hear. It had been months since the Queen had set off to visit her husband in Germany. Weeks since word reached them that bandits had made it impossible for women and children to make the journey back to Britain. And days since they'd learned her Majesty was making the perilous trip anyways, accompanied by an elite guard.

Salisbury might have pleaded with her not to risk it. But his father reminded him that the Queen had toppled and poisoned her first Prime Minister and likely could take care of herself.

Not to mention that no missive would reach her in time to change her mind.

And unfortunately it wasn't as if they didn't need her. Salisbury had done his best, with the aid of his father. But the business of government was noticeably grinding to a stop. Britain needed its monarch.

Elizabeth shocked him however, when she strode into his office. She, and the woman that came in with her, were both dressed in breeches and men's tunics. They both carried a sword and looked as if they had spent a great deal of time using them.

Of course the Queen could have come in wearing the Pope's crown and Salisbury would have been just as glad to see her. "Your Majesty!" he exclaimed as he bowed. "I am so relieved to see you."

"Thank you," Elizabeth replied. "I'm glad to be home, though I was loathe to leave my children behind." A sensible though infuriating practicality.

"Of course. Was it difficult making it to port?"

The Queen gestured to the woman with her, to come forward. "Very. I wouldn't have made it without my team. This is their leader, Miss Virginia Dare. Gin, this is my Prime Minister, the Earl of Salisbury."

"Pleased to meet you, sir."

Salisbury gasped, but nodded. "Yes, of course."

Elizabeth summoned a messenger. "I need to meet with the cabinet. Can you show Miss Dare to the conference room and then locate the other ministers?"

The boy nodded and left. Gin following silently behind. As soon as they were gone, Elizabeth dropped her formality. "How is he?"

Salisbury knew whom she meant, and the switch to discussing his father was like a punch in the gut. "He-- He doesn't have long. It's getting harder to wake him. Honestly it's entirely possible that he's-" He couldn't finish.

"Then I'd best not keep him waiting."

* * *

"My dear. I'm so glad I've held on to see you again." Cecil had aged terribly in the months since she'd last been there. His voice was very weak and he was indeed half asleep.

"I'm sorry to keep you waiting." Elizabeth winced. "I can't believe I just said that."

"Please don't be embarrassed. I hear all sorts of awkward things, but I have little time to be bothered by it."

Elizabeth nodded, not wanting to Queen just then. She took his hand. "I'm going to miss you, Cecil."

He nodded, sad and seeming a little guilty. "I'm sorry to leave you at such a trying time for you. I think I have some words of hope, though."

"I would love to hear some right now."

Cecil made an effort to rouse himself and sat up a little. "I never told you how I escaped from the Cataclysm. It was a handkerchief."

"A handkerchief?" Elizabeth laughed.

"It fell out of my sleeve on the way. I would have left it, but my wife embroidered my initials on it." Cecil's laugh turned into a cough. "She hated embroidery so much, I couldn't bear to ask her to replace it."

"Well, you're lucky you went back for it."

Cecil shook his head. "There was no reason to check my sleeve for it. None but divine inspiration. The Lord was looking after both of us. And I have no doubt He continues to do so." Elizabeth could do nothing but silently hope he was right.

It seemed the interview with the Queen was all Cecil's body could manage. The next morning he couldn't be woken, at all. He lingered for a couple of days before expiring in the last few minutes before the first of October. The Queen stood alone before his coffin.
 
Top