The Sunne in Splendour: A War of the Roses Timeline

I hope Anthony gets his head put on a pike and the entire Rivers family gets shunned and disgraced in the whole realm. Crash and burn!
 
“I have made my mind up,” said Anthony, his back to her. His words carried something heavy in them, something dark and she intertwined their fingers. “Edward of York is not our king. He has never been. Father and I fought at Towton. We gave our blood and our honour to the Lancastrians, only to stab them in the back at the first sign of fortune.”

“Anthony…” Words failed her. “What are you saying?”

He turned to look at her, a serious expression on his face. “I intend on returning to the red rose and I want you to help me, Elizabeth.” She shook her head and stepped back, but Anthony grabbed her arms, stopping her from moving. “I know Edward still visits your bed, even when you are heavy with child. Only he and Lord Warwick know where King Henry is held and I want you to find it out for me. Queen Marguerite and the Prince of Wales will only take me back if I return His Grace to them.”

“No…” she said. “Anthony, no. I will not be your spy. And I will not help you! Edward is King. Mad Henry was a usurper and a tyrant.”
Oh my, this is certainly shaping up to be interesting… certainly will throw a wrench in Elizabeth’s plotting for young Bess if her uncle is a known traitor.
 
August 1471. New
August 1471. Château des ducs de Bourgogne, France.

The room was quiet when she entered, quiet and cold. Bona felt her hands shake as she approached the dark figure by the desk, hunched over his papers, quietly moving the disks around and making notes of his plans for war. He didn’t even notice her coming in, too distracted by his maps and his ideas to pay attention to her, like always.

She sighed and stepped closer again, reaching forward with her hand. He flinched as she touched his shoulder and raised his head, turning his eyes to look at her. Her husband, Charles Martin, Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. He looked at her with wide dark eyes, frowning slightly as he took her in, her pale and fat form, blonde hair pushed under a white hennin.

“What is wrong?” he asked. “Is there something wrong with my children?” That’s how he spoke, always. Not our children, but mine, his, his property. Bona tried not to let that hurt her.

“No,” she answered. “But we missed you at dinner. Maria asked for you. She is very nervous.” He nodded, for his eldest daughter had been recently married by proxy to the Duke of Brittany and was expected to leave for Nantes in a month. She was very nervous about it, being only fourteen, and Bona had done her best to assuage her fears, but there was little a stepmother could do without her husband there to support her.

“She will do her duty,” said Charles, turning his head away. He sighed and rubbed his face. Bona stepped closer and observed the figurines sprawled over the large maps, the sigils of himself and his enemies. The French fleur-de-lys, the cross of the Swiss Confederacy, the Imperial Eagle and…

“Are we at war with England?” she asked and Charles looked up at her, a question in his eyes. Bona pointed at the three disks on the northern coast, the York white rose painted over enamel.

“No,” he said. “On the contrary. I have been discussing an alliance with them and we are very close to seeing it fulfilled.” She looked at him as he stood up, arching her eyebrow ever so slightly. Bona was confused, grasping at the half-truths her husband gave her, unwilling to tell her all of his plans.

“What sort of alliance?” she asked.

“The King’s daughter Cecily, will be married to our son, the Count of Charolais,” said Charles. “In return, Edward will support our wars against France as we will support his when it comes time for him to reclaim his birthright in the continent.”

“I was certain Edward of York would marry his second daughter into Denmark,” she said and he nodded, smiling slightly. “At least, that’s what I heard would happen.” Her husband made her pay attention to all of his neighbours, to every possible rumour or fickle gossip. He didn’t want just a wife or a mother to his children, he wanted a partner in his politics, someone to support and help him. Bona tried her damned best to be that person for him but she always felt like he was disappointed in her.

At least, she had succeeded in one aspect. They had two sons, Charles and Philippe, and one daughter, little Isabella of Burgundy. And a new son in the making, she thought as she touched her enlarged belly. He couldn’t say she was a failure in every single duty of a wife and Duchess.

“He was, but I convinced him to ally with us instead, at least with little Princess Cecily. He has more daughters to give to the Danish if he so chooses.” Charles waved a hand dismissively at the thought. “Cecily of York was born in the same year as our boy, whereas her Scandinavian prince would be at least four years younger than her.”

Bona looked at the map again, a little white rose disk in Italy, alongside another Imperial Eagle, and their own Cross of St Andrew. What could Charles possibly want in Rome? “Is that everything?”

Charles smiled and touched her face, a hand going low to the heavy curve of her belly. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I know what I am doing. I will fulfil the promise I made to you when we first wed. I shall make you a queen." Bona nodded and pressed her lips together.

She thought he was going to kiss her, but he didn’t. Instead, he stepped away and turned his back to her, a clear sign that the conversation was over. She felt a hint of sadness in her lower stomach as she watched him neglect her so, her broken heart twisting into even more sharp shards, stabbing her from the inside.

Bona’s eyes went to a dark corner of the room, a painting surrounded by candles. Her and her husband, hands joined together. Their expressions were deathly neutral, mouths set in thin white lines on their faces. She remembered that day, soon after her wedding, during her first pregnancy. Bona was so happy that it was hard to be serious, her stomach tumbling wildly inside of her. Charles, however, made no sign of his pleasure.

Her gaze returned to him, the Duke, and saw how he barely paid attention to her image, whether in truth or in the canvas. Bona sighed and turned away, leaving the room. She loved her husband, she truly did, but sometimes, she hated him as well.

--

January 1472. Warwick, England.

It was already dark outside when George came to see her. Isabel laid in her bed, her maid having adjusted the sheets tightly around her, shivering with the cold. The hearth burned brightly but its warmth seemed to forget about her, passing over her and warming everything else. Isabel was cold and alone, truly alone, for the first time in months.

He was sombre when he entered her rooms, his face pale and mouth turned downwards. Someone must have told him, certainly. He was supposed to be hunting with her father and cousins and yet here he was, standing right before her with sad eyes.

George stopped before her bed, his fingers skimming over the sheets. She looked at him and forced her weak and aching body up, sitting on the bed. She felt weak and cold, but his stare at her made her feel much worse.

“The Duchess of Gloucester has given birth to twin girls earlier this week. Philippa and Joan,” said her husband. Isabel felt her cheeks flush in embarrassment. She knew her sister-in-law was pregnant as well and the two had bonded over their shared large bellies and morning sickness, laughing as if the matter was simple. The taste of her nieces’ arrival was bitter in her mouth and she cursed herself for it. Eventually, Mary Stewart would have to give birth, even if Isabel would never hold her crying baby in her arms. “And the Queen is pregnant again.”

She felt her head drop forward, hot tears bubbling in her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. Her hand touched her belly, her empty and useless belly, longing to feel her son alive within her, kicking and moving, but it was impossible. The physician said the boy had already been dead for days when he was born. “I will give you a son, husband, I promise.”

George nodded. “As soon as you are well, we will try again for another.” He gave her one last look and nodded again, mostly to himself than to her. Isabel let herself fall back down on the bed, pulling the sheets to her chin. She closed her eyes, feeling the tears slide down her cheeks, and barely heard as her husband left and the door clicked shut behind him.
 
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