Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VVD0D95, Nov 29, 2018.
Little Mary sounds adorable!
She is! She also has her father wrapped around her finger
Chapter 26: Lennox and I
It was bitterly cold, as was to be expected for the month of Michaelmas. James found himself wondering not for the first time why he had decided to come down to Lochmaeben to meet with his cousin. He reminded himself then as he had done on the journey down, that he would rather get this whole business sorted now, than allow an army to settle in at Berwick over the winter. He cleared his throat, nodded to his guards, and they opened the door.
“The Right Honourable Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox.” The guard announced.
James remained seated, a painting of Robert the Bruce behind him, as his cousin entered. Matthew Stewart was a few years younger than him, but already had grey in his hair. And a beard to boot. He could see something of a rogue in the man. The man bowed low. “Your Majesty.” He kissed the ring and remained kneeling.
“Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, eh? You are certainly different to how we imagined you to be.” James said. He looked at the man a little more and then said. “Rise.” The man did as bid. He then took a seat when James gestured for him to do so. James looked at him and kept his gaze fixed on him. “Tell us something, Matthew, why is it that you have brought an army of Englishmen to our border?”
Matthew swallowed then and said. “Sire, it was not my intention to start a war. I had brought this small band of men with me to handle a problem I was told you were facing.”
James hid a laugh. “And what problems were those, pray tell?”
“Sire, Lord Argyll and Lord Ruthven were in contact with the regent in England, they were plotting some sort of rebellion. However, the regent decided that she did not wish to support them, and therefore I was sent northwards with this band of men to aid you.” Matthew replied. James laughed then.
“You are not a good liar, cousin.” James said. “You came with this band to aid them. However, because both Ruthven and Argyll lack balls they have not rebelled and therefore you are left in a very awkward position of having a band of English men near the Scottish border and are now having to tell this lie, to the man you claim to recognise as King.” James paused then to add weight to his words, and then he said. “Tell us. Why should we not have you executed?”
At once Matthew fell to his knees and begged. “Please Sire, be merciful! I was only doing what I thought might bring me home. I have spent my entire life in England, away from my home and my lands. I wish only to come home. I will do anything to ensure that happens!”
James sighed. “And that right there is your problem, cousin. You are so willing to please people that they have taken advantage of you. Did you really think that if you aided the rebels that they would give you the regency? Did you truly think that?” Matthew went to speak and James interrupted him. “No, they would not. Argyll would have taken it. He would have taken it and then he would have seen you slain, and married your daughter off to his son no doubt.”
“What will you do with me?” Matthew asked, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
James stood up then and placed his hands on Matthew’s shoulders. “We shall help you rise.” He looked at Matthew and continued. “We shall restore to you the earldom and lands of Lennox, and allow your wife and children to come to Scotland. And in return, we shall expect your unending service and loyalty. Should you break it, we shall have no problem removing your entire family. Do you understand?”
“I do Sire, thank you, Sire!” Matthew said.
James nodded. “Good, now rise, you are a Stewart.” With that he helped the man rise, and hoped that he would stick to his vows.
Lennox on James's side? Now that could change things...
Oh definitely especially with Argyll abd Ruthven still planning war
Chapter 27: Culpepper Confusion
Thomas pushed down the frustration he felt. He missed Catherine. He missed her with everything in him. He did not want to be in Scotland, he thought the Scots a barbarous people. Barely one step removed from savages. Why the King of Scots had asked him to stay here for a time he did not know. But he did know that lacking the army which had been sent back south, he was very vulnerable and he did not like that. Matthew Stewart his reason for being away from Catherine had asked to meet with him and so here he was in the man’s chambers.
“What are you doing?” Thomas demanded, his patience wearing thin as he watched Stewart shift through some papers. “None of what has happened since you came here is what was agreed upon. Why are you not marching with Ruthven and Argyll?” Neither lord had actually ventured forth to do anything but that was beside the point.
Matthew Stewart smiled that same smile that aggravated Thomas. “I am earning the King’s trust.”
“How?” Thomas demanded. “He has not included you in his council, and you remain on the outskirts with the rest of court.” The Earl of Arran had made that point very clear to Thomas during their last meeting.
“I am showing the King that I can be trusted, that I meant what I said to him during our meeting. And so I am biding my time and waiting.” Matthew said.
“And in doing so you are making me look a fool.” Thomas snapped. “This was not the Queen Regent demanded you do, and this is not what I expected to be doing here. So, tell me what is it you are planning.”
Stewart grinned. “Do not fear, Thomas, you will be back in time to fuck the Queen Regent.” Thomas kept his face blank at that but his heart hammered. “I am ensuring that the King knows he can trust me. I know that I am being watched and therefore I am doing everything I can to reassure the King that I am not a spy or an enemy. Indeed, I expect that soon enough when my wife and children come to court that the King will be more open with me, knowing that he has hostages for my good behaviour.” Stewart paused then, took a sip of ale and continued. “I know Argyll and Ruthven, they are the type of men who will not wait very long. Arran is changing sides like the wind. Sooner or later there will be a war and when that war comes, that will be my chance to show the King that I am not my father and that I will be his right hand man.”
“How will you do that?” Thomas asked. “He’s not like to give you command.”
Stewart grinned. “He doesn’t have to give me command, I just need to give him Argyll and Ruthven’s heads on plates.”
Thomas thought on that and then said. “And then you want him to give you the lands which would be forfeit, thus making the Campbells destitute for a time and ensuring Ruthven’s family never rises to the same heights as they currently stand.” It was a decent plan he knew.
“Aye, and once I am in with the King, I can then start encouraging him to look more toward England for an alliance, and not to France. I might even give the Queen Regent what she wants and have the King betroth his heir to her daughter Princess Eleanor.” Matthew Stewart said.
Thomas looked at the man, he did not doubt that Stewart could pull this off, he was a very good commander and had proven that during King Henry’s wars in France, but his wife was the political brains. “And if this does not work? What then?”
“Then I will show the King the exchange between Argyll and some of the border lords.” Stewart said simply.
“What exchange?” Thomas asked. “There has been no exchange?” Thomas would know he had been meeting with those border lords for months before the actual march.
“The King does not know that.” Stewart. “And the border lords are not smart enough to deny anything.”
“So you would lie?” Thomas asked.
“I would do what I need to, to ensure my family’s well being.” Matthew Stewart said simply.
Oh. I see. Or at least I think I do. This is fascinating!
The plots are growing!
Chapter 28: Last Rose
Elizabeth felt her stomach lurch and she fought back a groan. She did not know what had caused this. The doctors didn’t know either. One moment she had been fine playing with cousin Catherine, the next moment she had been doubled over in pain. That had been three months ago. And since then it had only gotten worse. Some days she could barely even breathe through the pain. Her vision was blurry as well. She thanked Lord God that Catherine and Cat were there at her side to keep her company. Her brother ignored her, and her step mother had never cared for her.
“Tell me of my brother, Catherine.” She whispered.
“My lady, His Majesty is strong and healthy, he grows wiser everyday and as such will make a fine King when he comes to his majority.” Catherine replied. Elizabeth did not know if she were speaking truly or lying.
“And what of my sister Eleanor? How does she do?” Elizabeth asked. She had never met this sister, the last of her father’s children, and she did not think she would.
“She is well, my lady.” Catherine replied.
“Only well? You do not approve of her?” Elizabeth asked, always knowing when her cousin was trying to conceal something.
“It is not her I disapprove of, my lady, but her mother.” Catherine whispered.
“Why?” Elizabeth Asked, though she suspected she knew the answer. She had heard the rumours after all.
“She has been seen being overly intimate with one Thomas Culpepper, and my lord Francis caught them in an intimate embrace.” Catherine replied.
Elizabeth tried to raise an eyebrow, but the action caused her to wince in pain. “How intimate?” She asked, knowing that her cousin was very much a conservative lady, and did not approve of anything, even hand holding.
“They were seen kissing by Francis, and he thought there would be more had he not interrupted.” Catherine whispered.
“Did he say anything?” Elizabeth asked. Francis Knollys was a bit of an idiot, but he had some smarts sometimes.
“Heaven no, he did not want to be accused of treason.” Catherine replied.
“Treason?” Elizabeth asked. She did not think that would be treason, surely?
“If he had mentioned anything, under the edict that the King issued, to accuse the Queen Dowager and Regent of something such as that is treason.” Catherine supplied.
“How?” Elizabeth asked shocked. The effort made her spasm. Catherine gave her some water and then she asked. “Did Parliament not protest?” Surely such a thing would happen given the absurdity.
“No, my lady, Parliament has not met for three years. Not since the grant of extra funding.” Catherine said. “Though the Duke of Somerset is pressing for it to meet. The regent refuses, and Norfolk along with her.”
Elizabeth thought on that and then sighed. “I am sure there is a reason for that.”
She heard Catherine say something but could not place it. She started coughing again, and this time blood came out onto her hands and her clothes. She heard someone scream, but couldn’t place it. Her vision started to go black, and then there was nothing.
Let’s see what shit this brings
If Henry were still alive, he'd be furious with the doctors!
That he would be. Now the question is who provided those doctors
Oh no! Is Elizabeth dead?
If not dead, then very close to...
Let’s just say whoever is responsible for her care is as good as because of this
Let's hope it wasn't Frances Brandon...
Oh aye that would be terrible
She'd have to flee the country..
Chapter 29: Seymour, Seymour
Edward cleared his throat and spoke. “Lady Elizabeth is dead. The illness that took her down from her health months ago has finally finished its foul work. I had a letter from her tutor earlier this morning.” In truth, the woman had been dead for a few weeks now, but Edward had not wanted to ruin this moment. “This leaves us in a very dire situation in regards to Scotland and means we do not have a bride to offer the Duke of Rothesay.” They did, but he knew the Queen Regent would never give up her daughter.
“Does King James know?” the Queen Regent asked.
“He will do soon enough. I had to write to him to ensure he knew. It was only good manners.” Edward said. In truth, he had written to the man weeks ago, when Lady Elizabeth had actually died.
“He will move back to France then.” The Queen Regent said, sounding surprisingly sad. “Which means we will need to strengthen Calais.”
Edward decided to voice what he thought. “We could always offer him Princess Eleanor, Your Majesty. A Princess in return for him avoiding an alliance with France would be in both our interests.”
The Queen Regent frowned. “Princess Eleanor is only five years old, she is far too young to be betrothed to anyone. And we both know that the King of Scots would want her to go to Scotland. I will not allow that.”
“Then perhaps we can suggest that he send his daughter Mary southwards, to be betrothed to the King?” Edward suggested, that would be preferable though a waste of a marriage.
“No.” the Queen Regent said. Mary of Scotland has no value. She is not heiress. The King needs marry someone of value.”
“Then we must accept that we have lost Scotland.” Edward said, feigning defeat, but knowing full well that the ball was in his court.
The Queen Regent nodded. “We shall need to strengthen Calais.” She looked at Dudley as she said that and the man nodded and made a note of it.
Norfolk spoke then. “With Lady Elizabeth dead, we must hold an inquest into what was responsible for her death. I do not for one second believe that a healthy girl such as her could suffer for so long.”
Edward kept his mouth shut for a moment, to fight back the nervousness. “Indeed. Quite rightly so. And whoever is responsible must face the full force of the law.” He hid his nervousness behind a drink of wine.
As if sensing that something was amiss, Cranmer spoke. “We have also had news from Spain.”
“Go on.” The Queen Regent said.
“His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias is likely going to be in need of a wife. His current wife Princess Maria is ill, having given birth to a stillborn girl. The couple have not had any surviving children, and therefore the succession is in danger.” Cranmer said.
“What are you proposing?” Edward asked. He thought he knew, but did not want to give voice.
“That we have the King propose Lady Mary as a bride for Prince Philip, should Princess Maria die. I am sure that the Emperor will accept such a marriage. Though of course her legitimacy will need to be recognised by the court to ensure that it stands.” Cranmer said.
“Out of the question.” The Queen Regent said. “To do so would fly in the face of everything that my husband, His Majesty King Henry had done since his great Matter.”
“There is also a chance that she might recover.” Edward said. “Besides, I am not sure we should ally with Spain.”
Cranmer sighed. “If that is your wish, Your Majesty.”
“It is.” The Queen Regent said. “I will not allow that woman to marry.”
And that will be your downfall. Edward thought to himself, making a note to speak with Lady Mary the next time he was near her residence.
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