Flower O'Scotland

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VVD0D95, Nov 29, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 150: Princesses Talk

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Chapter 150: Princesses Talk



    September, 1578


    Jane looked at her sister by marriage and smiled. Mary, Duchess of York and Albany was a pretty girl, and she was smart as well. Already they’d shared their poems and their stories and all manner of other things. Jane loved her husband-the thought no longer shocked her completely- but she could not talk to him about such things for he didn’t understand them, at least not beyond using them for political ends. But with Mary it was different, Mary understood her fascinating with these things.

    “So,” Jane said. “How have you found being married?” Her English was still slightly accented and she didn’t always use the right words, but it seemed her sister by marriage understood her.

    “I am enjoying it. Arthur is a good man, and a kind husband. But there are some things that I am still getting used to.” Mary said.

    “Like people constantly wanting your attention and demanding things from you?” Jane asked.

    “Yes.” Mary said. “It can be absolutely exhausting.”

    Jane nodded sympathetically, she had been raised a Princess, but still found everything exhausting. “It can be a lot to take in. But it does seem as though Arthur is doing his best to ensure you are not too overwhelmed?”

    Mary smiled. “Yes, he’s been very kind in organising all of the tours and everything else. I just worry that the King and Queen won’t approve.”

    Jane wanted to say that the King and Queen wouldn’t mind so much because Arthur and Mary weren’t the heir and the heir’s wife, but she thought that might be rude, so instead she replied. “The King and Queen are usually go with such things; they know what it can be like. Besides,” Jane added smiling at the thought. “I am sure Arthur would have had a few choice words to say to them if they tried to force the matter.” Her husband’s younger brother could be very forceful when he wanted to be, something that James had often said would make him a good guard if he hadn’t been born a Prince.

    Mary laughed. “That is true. He gave the Earl of Pembroke a right telling off for something the other day.”

    Jane raised an eyebrow at that. The Earl of Pembroke was a proud man who she had thought would never take well to such a thing. “Oh? What was it about?”

    Mary laughed again. “I think the Earl of Pembroke had made a comment about a horse that was supposed to ride at the races in a few weeks’ time, and how the rider hadn’t kept him properly. Arthur pointed out that the horse belonged to Pembroke so if it was anyone’s fault it was his.”

    Jane snorted, she could just imagine the look on the Earl’s face at that. “How did he respond?” She asked then.

    “He stuttered and stammered and then gave the rider a raise.” Mary said.

    “Oh!” Jane replied surprised. “That’s good. Pembroke is notoriously tight with his money.”

    Mary nodded. “I’d heard.” there was a pause for a moment then as they both digested that piece of information and then Mary asked. “And what of you, sister? How do you feel about being a mother?”

    Jane smiled at the thought of her son, James who was a year old, and already starting to talk and walk. “I am enjoying it, thank you, sister. James is a smart baby and is always asking things in that way all young babes have.” She hesitated then not sure she had used the right word, but Mary seemed to understand what she was meaning.

    “Motherhood suits you, sister. You are positively glowing.” Mary replied.

    “And I am sure it will suit you.” Jane said, she could tell by the way Mary held herself that she was with child, after all, Jane held herself in the same manner in the early days of her pregnancy. She was due to enter confinement soon, before another child was born.

    “I hope so.” Was what Mary said in response. There was a pause and then the other woman asked. “Do you have any advice you could give me about going to Scotland?”

    Jane thought for a moment. “You are heading there later this month are you not?”

    “Yes.” Mary replied. “Arthur wants to be there for the usual festivities and then he wants to visit the Isles.”

    “Well, be sure to be courteous to the Duke and Duchess of Annandale, they are quite fickle people, and be sure to compliment them on the art that you see in the dining hall. The Duke is quite proud of it.” Jane said in a manner to suggest all was not it seemed.

    Mary seemed to get what she was saying for she nodded. “Anything else?”

    “Do not whatever she says, go on a walk with the Duchess alone without your husband. The Duchess will try and talk your ear to the ground.” Jane said remembering her own experience and wincing at the memory.

    Mary laughed. “I will remember that. Anything else?”

    “That is the main thing.” Jane said.

    Mary smiled. “Thank you, sister.”

    Jane smiled back. “Of course, what are sisters for?”
     
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 151: Uncle To Nephew

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Chapter 151: Uncle To Nephew



    March, 1579



    Robert cleared his throat. He knew what they said about him at court. He was odd, distant, completely different to Arthur and to everyone else. He had married a woman five years older than him and she had not given him any children. He had killed her brother and some other nonsense, all of which was untrue. Robert did not mind not having children, indeed he suspected he would make a fairly terrible parent, and besides his brother the King had enough sons and now grandchildren to allow things to continue on. And he also had a suspicion that he might be the reason he and Margaret had no children.

    As his nephew reigned his horse in next to him, Robert cleared his mind of such things and focused on the matter at hand. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” He asked referring to the countryside of Lochmaeben. He much preferred it to the stink and shit of Edinburgh.

    “Yes.” His nephew, Arthur, Duke of York and Albany said. “Much nicer than London.”

    Robert snorted. “A dockside whore would be nicer than London.” It was true, he had found London to be nothing more than a stinking shit heap the few times he had been there. How his brother managed there he did not know.

    Arthur laughed. “That is true. I am of half a mind to buy you out of Lochmaeben, Uncle.”

    Robert laughed as well, his nephew reminded him a lot of his older brother and the boy’s namesake. That Arthur had also had an easy way with people. “You would need to pay more than what I think your father would be willing to give you.”

    Arthur laughed once more, and Robert was of half a mind to write to his brother in London and ask him to name the boy as the Lord Lieutenant of Scotland. Robert currently held the role but he hated it. He hated having to go to Edinburgh occasionally and deal with all those sycophantic nobles. Arthur, he suspected would love it. “I don’t think that would be quite the issue. I have my own funds now, from Ulster as well as from the estates in both England and Scotland.”

    Robert raised an eyebrow. “You mean to say you prefer Lochmaeben to Edinburgh?”

    He laughed at the expression on his nephew’s face. “You knew?”

    Robert laughed again. “I am not an idiot, Arthur. I know you love Edinburgh, and I think you would be well suited to the role.”

    Something changed in his nephew’s face then. Arthur saw the boy go from being a laughing prankster to serious. “But, that is your role, Uncle.” The boy said.

    Robert laughed. “A role I took on because my brother who bore your name died. I am not made for such things. You however, are. I saw how the nobles reacted to you when we were in Edinburgh. And your wife is with child. You are the perfect sort of person for it.” He meant every word he said he genuinely did think that his nephew would do better than him.

    “But…” Arthur trailed off.

    “Come now, Arthur. Do not lie, you want it. You know you do.” Robert said simply.

    His nephew sighed. “Let’s say that I did, what would you recommend I do? How would you recommend I handle this?”

    Robert nodded, he knew that the boy would take the role if his father offered it to him. “You must know to play the balance. Arran and Atholl are both powerful men who harbour ambitions. Argyll is someone who wants his family to recover, and the others are involved in one way or another. Arran and Atholl are the two men you need to focus on however. You must ensure they both feel that they are important and included. But you cannot make them think they can take over.”

    Robert looked at the boy and saw that he was looking at him intently. “So, perhaps balance them, but not push too hard?”

    “Yes, exactly.” Robert said. “You have met Arran, you’ve also met Atholl. Ensure that they get the sense that you are on their side, but you are leaning the one way or another way and make it so that they need you, not the other way.”

    The boy laughed then. “I see, not an easy thing then.”

    Robert nodded. “Indeed not, but you have the skills and the capabilities to do it. and your wife is a writer, she will be able to spread the necessary propaganda for it.”

    “And this is not something you want?” Arthur asked. “I am sure Mary would be willing to help you.”

    Robert shook his head. “No, I am not suited it for it. I prefer Lochmaeben and the things I can do here. You are the one who must take the mantle.”

    The boy looked thoughtful and then said. “Okay, thank you.”

    Robert nodded. “Of course. I want only the best.” He knew then he needed to write to the King and then take it from there.
     
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 152: Parents

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK

    Chapter 152: Parents

    December, 1579



    “Arthur seems to be enjoying his time in Edinburgh.” Jane said nodding to the letter that was at her husband’s side. It had come a few hours ago, and was written in their second son’s hand. After her brother by marriage’s resignation as Lord Lieutenant of Scotland, James had appointed Arthur as the new Lieutenant and from there well, it seemed things had improved.

    “Indeed.” James said.

    “You sound surprised.” Jane commented.

    “It’s just, I never thought that playing politics was something that Arthur wanted to do. He never showed the same interest that James did, or that Katherine does.” James replied.

    “Perhaps he just needed a bit more space to breathe?” Jane suggested. “After all, it is one thing to play host at St James, or Whitehall or even Windsor, when your father is there in the next room, and another to play host when you are the master of the house.”

    She saw her husband consider this and then saw him snort. “I suppose you are right. I can be somewhat overbearing at times.”

    Jane smiled, her husband was that rare species of man who could see his faults and not take it as an insult. If only others could be like that. “Arran and Atholl have been very complimentary to him as well.” She added nodding to the letter.

    “Indeed, though I half expected that, after all they’ve known him the longest. No, the ones that surprise me are Huntly, Bothwell and Maxwell. They are people who I didn’t think would ever share an inch of praise for a member of our family. You remember how they used to bemoan Arthur?” James said, and Jane knew he referred to his dearly departed brother, not their son.

    “I do. Though I think it was more the fact that that Arthur was someone who was a reminder of everything else, whereas our Arthur is someone new and charming in another sense.” Jane said.

    “True.” James conceded. “That and the fact he’s not trying to sleep with their wives and daughters probably helps.” Her husband chuckled then as did Jane, for she remembered how often her husband would complain to her about his brother’s whoring and wenching, there were perhaps a few bastards born by noble mothers who bore a resemblance to the late prince.

    “Agreed, Arthur does appear devoted to Mary.” Jane said.

    “I should bloody well hope so, he has a son by her and he wanted to marry her.” James replied.

    Jane smiled then. “That reminds me, we need to start considering who our other children will be marrying.”

    Her husband’s facial expression didn’t change but he shifted slightly and that was how she knew he was more serious. “I don’t want our daughters marrying any German Prince of the Empire, unless they are an Elector.”

    “Agreed.” Jane said. She found the Empire to be a treacherous maze, only an Elector would bring benefits to the family.

    James pulled out a list of papers and then looked through them, her husband shook his head. “There are none of the right age. I think we are going to have to look elsewhere for Katherine.”

    “Where though?” Jane asked.

    “If needs must we could always marry Katherine to Christian of Denmark, it would not do any harm to strengthen that alliance.” James said.

    Jane shook her head. “No, I think that would be a waste. After all, James is married to Jane of Denmark and they’ve got children now, there would be no point sending Katherine there.”

    “The only other plausible choice then is Spain. I believe that King Philip has finally been made to see sense. It would be a great way to end the tension between our two nations.” James said.

    Jane had been against their firstborn son marrying into Spain, but perhaps the country would be less against their daughter marrying to Spain, now that both James and Arthur had had sons. “To his son Philip?” She asked just to make sure.

    “Yes, the boy is to be given the Spanish Netherlands. I think that would make the most sense for us.” James said.

    “Very well, I will support you in this.” Jane said.

    “Good.” James replied. “That leaves Alexander.” Their youngest son who had recently turned fourteen. The boy had shown no interest in either girls or boys, and had seemed to care more for books than anything else.

    Jane thought on that for a time, and then she said. “We could also put him into the church. It is not too late for him to take up the vestments and to progress from there.”

    “Indeed, and there is nothing stopping him from marrying if the need arises.” James said.

    “I’ll speak with him about it, to let him feel he has a say.” Jane added.

    “Very well.” James replied. They both fell silent then for a time, each alone in their thoughts. Then her husband spoke. “I have had word from Condé.” The French exile was now residing in Hampton Court, away from everyone else at court, mainly because he and James had fallen out over something.

    “What has he said?” Jane asked.

    “He has said that his friends at court have confirmed that Anjou is willing to look the other way whilst our funds are put to good use. From there Anjou will then ask the King to end the hostilities between our two Kingdoms and bring peace to the channel.” James said.

    “Excellent, so you are going to give the go ahead?” Jane asked.

    “Yes, because once that is done, then Condé can finally go away and leave us in peace.” James said.

    Jane laughed and said. “I am sure that will fill you with joy.”
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 153: A Madness Lies

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2015
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Chapter 153: A Madness Lies



    March, 1580



    Charles stared at the wall, and wondered when the pain in his head would stop. It was a constant source of agony for him, the only things that cured it were when his wife and son came to visit. But those visits had stopped now, and had done so for some time. Ever since the devil had lashed out at them, causing his wife to whimper and cower, whilst his brother Henri had struck the devil. Charles had cried when he had realised what had happened and now he just wanted it all to end. He knelt before the wall and prayed.

    “Please God, bring about the ending to the whispers and the torments. Let me know peace. If you do this for me I shall give up my throne and allow my son to inherit and become the King I know he can be. Please God.”

    He heard a laugh and winced, fearing that the devil was about to speak. He turned around and found his brother Francis looking at him. Oh, how he had hated Francis when they were children. Perfect Francis, who could never do any wrong. “Why are you praying to give up the throne? Are you not a man?” His brother demanded.

    Charles snarled then. “It is because I am a man that I am willing to give up the throne. Unlike you who knew you could never even fuck a whore.”

    Something flashed in his brother’s eyes and for a moment Charles feared he was about to be hit. “You know that is not true. Remember Marie?” His brother replied tauntingly.

    Charles felt anger grow within him. “You raped her. She didn’t love you!” Charles shouted at his brother. Marie had been the first girl he had ever loved. He had wanted to marry her, but then he had found her lying in a corner somewhere in the Palace her clothes torn, her eyes wet. He’d asked her what had happened, and she’d said…he closed his eyes then.

    “She loved me alright. She was ready and willing. And oh so wet.” Francis said tauntingly.

    “You lie!” He screamed at his brother. He went to hit him but his fist went through him and he hit the wall.

    “Haha, you can’t even hit me properly.” Francis said.

    “Boys, that’s enough.” A stern voice said. Charles knew who it was, he would recognise that voice anywhere. He turned and found himself looking at his father. King Henry II of France.

    “Why are you here?” Charles demanded. “Are you going to take his side again?”

    His father snorted. “I am here to tell you that I am disappointed in you.”

    Charles took a large slurp of wine and laughed. “That makes two of us.”

    “You are going to give up the crown and for what?” Henri asked.

    “For peace.” Charles said. “For forgiveness.”

    His father laughed. “You will never get forgiveness.”

    “How do you know?” Charles demanded.

    “You are not worthy of forgiveness.” Francis said then.

    “Neither are you.” Charles snapped.

    “Charles, that is no way to speak to your brother.” Another voice said. Charles sighed, his mother had arrived.

    “Well, it’s true!” He said then, hating how much like a child he sounded.

    “Stop it.” His mother demanded. “You are of France, not a mewling infant.” There was a pause as his mother rummaged in her pockets before pulling out a small vial which contained a green liquid.

    She handed it to him. “What’s this?” He asked.

    “It is the thing that will cure you.” Mother said. “Drink it.”

    Some part of him was screaming at him not to drink it, but his mother had never lied to him before and he trusted her. He unscrewed the vial, and then downed the contents in one. Immediately he was hit by a strange sensation. “I….I don’t feel so good.”

    “It takes time, you will soon though.” Mother said.

    “The world is going before me.” Charles said as his vision began to blur, he started coughing then, and felt his stomach grumble and his legs give way.

    “Embrace it, close your eyes.” Mother commanded. He did as bid and felt peace wash over him.
     
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