The King’s eyes danced lovingly over Anne as she twisted and turned, leapt and chasséd across the dance floor at His Majesty’s annual masquerade. Women flaunted their bosoms, men eagerly waited to gain the courage to ask each one to dance and occasionally, the entire court would dance at once, switching partners every few steps. It was on one of these occasions that I was approached by my father and given my new task
“Elizabeth, you must promise me this. Protect Anne. Keep the King’s attention on her. If you accomplish that goal and allow Anne to become queen, the status of the family will rise greatly. You would be sister to the Queen, Elizabeth. You would be given any chance you would like. Will you do that for her, for us, for yourself?”
I sighed sadly. Of course I could accomplish that. And being raised by the Boleyns' taught me one thing above all: Always respect your elders
“Of course, Sir,” I replied anonymously, keeping with the masquerade element and with this, we returned to the dance floor.
When the last song was announced, the entire court rose to their feet. The song was a simple waltz and the swapping of partners ensued. My velvet gown flowed around me and my silvery mask shone with diamonds. Mary had previously helped me catch my light brown hair in a silver net and I wore a small tiara of diamonds that had been given to me by the King in my days of wooing him. As the last few measures were being played, we switched partners for a final time and no sooner had I changed to a new gentleman than I was swept off my feet into a hidden alcove.
“I’ve been looking for you,” a rich baritone voice murmured softly over my shoulder in my ear. “Do you remember me?” he asked as he turned me around to face him. He lifted his crimson mask off from his face and I cast my eyes downward to avoid seeing the countenance of my captor. The one image that I did see though, was deep brown eyes, dark as night, but full of heart and meaning.
I nibbled my lower lip nervously and untied the simple knot that held my mask on the upper half of my face. As I lifted my mask off, I gazed into the chocolate orbs that looked down upon me and I allowed my eyes to drift over his finely wrought features.
“E-E-Eric?” I whispered in disbelief.
He smiled reassuringly but his eyes looked downwards as if he was recalling a distant memory. “There are few who recall that as my name, even fewer who use it,” he mumbled
“What are you talking about?” I asked in confusion.
“How long have you been out of touch with the wizarding world Elizabeth?” he asked, slowly turning to face me.
“Seven years. What has happened in my absence?”
“So much can happen in so little time,” he thought aloud to nobody.
“Eric, What is going on?” I asked, frightened at his response.
“This isn’t the location to discuss this. We must move before we’re overheard. Come,” Eric snapped, taking me by the wrist roughly and yanking me into the courtyard by the fountain. “Here is good,” he said as he sat down on the edge of the tone basin.
“Eric, what happened to you? Why the harshness? What has gotten into you? Where did the Eric that I know go?” I pleaded.
Eric closed his eyes a moment and sighed. “He’s still here Elizabeth,” he mumbled softly, taking my hand and placing it upon his breast. “It’s just, so much has changed since you left to return to muggle England. There is a great battle being waged in the wizarding world. It began just two years ago...”
“Eric, I am not going to come play nurse for you during this battle. My apothecary skills are not to be abused.”
“Let...me...finish,” Eric commanded. “Shortly after you left, the remaining purebloods and I began to meet to discuss what action should be taken to keep the wizarding bloodlines pure.”
I opened my mouth to respond but he placed his index finger softly upon my lips.
“The noble families have declared me as their leader. They named me Erebus and charged me with the task to purge the countryside of every mudblood in existence.”
“Why have you come to seek out me though?” I asked.
“Because Elizabeth, you have as much power as I do. You are as pure of blood as I am. You are one of few that’s status is above me and that knows nothing of what is going on. Your people need you. You are the equivalent of His Highness there. And you have been absent from your reign as Queen. Muggle England is not the only England that still uses the feudal system.
“Mudbloods, Halfbloods, Squibs, all must be sacrificed to bring the Wizarding world to peace once more. Can’t you see it? You’re the only one who can unite us. You’re the only one left with that power in your veins. You’re our last hope to bring this world to peace.”
“Eric, I don’t think I-“
“You must. You have no choice. If you don’t come with me, I swear I don’t want to do this, but I will bring you back to your place. You will be seated upon the throne of Wizarding England whether you want to or not. Elizabeth, they gave me the right to come close to killing you. To nearly end your bloodline if you won’t come. I don’t want to do that to you, Elizabeth.”
“But, I’ve got to take care of Anne and –”
“Elizabeth, don’t make me hurt you,” Eric pleaded, sinking to one knee and presented a jeweled crown and sword. “These are yours. With them you rule. Without them, you are powerless and forced to yield to the power of the lower Lords. It is your decision, but you must decide now.”