Chapter 4 : August 1533
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“Your Majesty, it is time.”
At the sound of ‘Your Majesty’ I stopped spinning on the spot and found my eyes wide open, my face in a state of shock, like a deer in headlights. My head was still reeling with dizziness and I felt myself sway. I closed my eyes for just a moment too long and fell back on my heels, only to be caught in the arms of my dear Eric. I felt his warm breath on my lips, his powerful, yet gentle arms supporting my entire weight, and the soft rustle of fine silk whispered near my ear.
“W-w-w-why thank you Eric,” I managed to stutter out as he helped me return to my feet. “Time you say? I haven’t even packed!”
“I can help you with that. Come along. We must hurry,” he murmured as we walked side-by-side back to my rooms, an awkward silence passing between us.
When we reached the heavy wooden door that opened into my privy chamber, we both reached for the handle and as our hands touched, the spark that was lit so many years ago reignited within me. I stepped into the room and took one last glance at my home for the past 13 years. The oak-paneled walls seemed closer, more confining, the tapestries harsh and overbearing, and the heat of the fire far too intense. It was no longer the home I loved, for it had become a prison. The lush bed littered with goose-down pillows appeared stockier than before, and the clean white linen sheets that had been so kindly turned down for me by the maid appeared disheveled and plain. The stone fireplace that lay across the room from the wooden four-poster bed was filled with burning embers and the rushes on the floor were dry beneath my feet. I felt as though I was seeing my room for the first time.
Behind me, Eric shut the door and locked it with the iron skeleton key that I had given to him many months ago, along with the invitation to join me at court at any time. The window was already locked tight against the cold autumnal breeze and I finished the act by drawing the blinds closed. Eric removed his elm and dragon heartstring wand from the inner folds of his cloak and aimed at the door as if to further increase our secrecy but I placed my hand on his arm as he began to mutter the charm. He understood the unsaid command and instead, I slipped my Blackthorn and Runespoor Fang wand out from within my bodice and mumbled “Cella Silencio” as the walls were silenced and locked the door with “Contego Ostium.”
“I haven’t forgotten all my spells Eric. I am more than capable to do things on my own.”
“I know. But I’m your escort and as a man, it’s my duty to take care of you.”
I stopped arguing and ceded the point to him knowing that I would never win the argument of which gender was stronger. Together, we packed my chest and shrunk each item so that it would lie perfectly and not wrinkle on the voyage to Gaelen Castle and as my twelve gowns flew into the chest, I looked over at Eric’s intense concentration on the dresses, as if he willed himself not to think of anything else. We finished in less than ten minutes and I found my room entirely empty, save for the dressings of the bed and the furniture that remained in the room. Each diamond necklace, textbook from my school days, hair net and hood was carefully tucked into the chest and I took the opportunity to sit on my bed and look around.
With a large sigh, I fell back on the bed and heard Eric say, “Your Majesty, we really must be going,” at which I sat forward on my forearms and looked at him straight.
“Eric, we’re not leaving until I clear something up with you. You’re going to sit on the chaise there and hear me out and we’ll leave when I am finished. Understood?” I commanded, finally using the power that ran rampant through my veins.
He nodded in submission as he stepped over to the crimson sofa and I spoke again. “Now, do tell. You were always kind, sweet, and nice. What happened? Something’s changed within you. I can hear it in your voice, I can feel it in your actions.”
“Elizabeth, you’ve never been on the front lines of a war. You don’t understand the terror that your men face each day. It changes a man. Completely.”
“That doesn’t mean that you can lose the personality that you had at Hogwarts. The boy that I loved doesn’t seem to exist anymore. His fun-loving personality has gone. And it has been replaced with sadness and despair. I don’t like what you’ve become. I miss the old Eric. The one that I loved with all my heart. The one that swore to me that we would marry and love each other forevermore. That Eric.”
“Elizabeth, I don’t know how to tell you this...but,”
“But what Eric? Speak, now.”
“Elizabeth. I’ve realized in the past thirteen years that the hopes of us marrying are nonexistent. You have to lead the lords. The highest position I can hold is a Chancellorship.”
“Have you any idea of what’s going on in muggle England? My sister, my hateful ambitious sister. A woman of your social status. Perhaps lower and a woman no less. She is now the Queen of England. And you’re telling me that it will never work.”
“What about that potion that you make? Hmm? I know what you were doing this afternoon Elizabeth. Anne needs the potion to remain as Queen.”
“Anne needs the potion because Henry doesn’t know who he loves. I know whom I love. Or loved. And I loved you. We swore, Eric. We swore,” I pleaded with tears in my eyes.
Eric rose from his seated position and sat down beside me upon the luxurious bed. Enveloping me in his arms, I found myself sobbing into his olive velveteen doublet as we sat alone in the silent room. Just the way that he hugged me reminded me all the more of our school days and I only began to cry harder as I found myself comfortably lodged in the position that he so often held me in. Eric laid a soft kiss on the top of my head and rested his cheek upon my forehead, his hands removing my hood and the pins that held my hair in its’ position, allowing my light chestnut curls to tumble down my back.
Memories began flooding back to me, how we would sit and talk for hours in the common room, library, even forbidden forest in positions nigh identical to this, his hands playing in my hair and his lips placing soft kisses upon mine. The actions of the two carefree teenagers that lived in the castle were wild and untamed, just the way we liked them. Everything we did was spur-of-the-moment. And not a single aspect of the relationship we shared was modest. From our powerful arguments to our passionate loving times, we were always two who went overboard.
I returned to the present to feel his tender lips kissing away the tears that were rolling down my face. Biting down on my lower lip to prevent any more droplets from spilling down my tearstained cheeks, I held Eric closer, as if he were my lifeline in the whirlpool of memories that I was drowning in.
“Eric, we can’t live like this anymore,” I sniffled. “We cannot live as friends. I’m sick of feeling the love for you and knowing that I cannot have you. I’m begging you, make the decision for me. We may live either as lovers and anticipate our marriage, or not at all. It’s your choice, Eric.”
“Elizabeth, I always want to be here for you. But my status-“
“Have you not noticed that I care not about your status? Have you not realized that yet? Eric, I wish to become your wife. I wish to marry for love, not for status. I am a woman in my own right now. I am a queen, and I have been raised to do what I know feels right. And if you will still have me, I would be overjoyed to become yours. Simply yours.
“And if you need help deciding, just think. Remember back to that joyous year we had fifteen years ago. When I was just sixteen and you, seventeen? Remember? The nights in the forest, the discoveries we made, the promises we gave to each other? Do you remember?
“We’ve both grown. We’re older now and we have each felt the emotions that run through our bodies. So I leave the decision to you. You may marry me, or leave me.”
“Whatever your wishes, Your Majesty,” Eric whispered softly into my ear.
“There’s one more catch there, Eric,” I added.
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“You are no longer allowed to refer to me as ‘Your Majesty,’ ‘Your Highness,’ nothing of the sort. I am to be either ‘Elizabeth,’ ‘My love,’ or any other, but nothing that distinguishes me as your Queen,” I stated steadfastly.
For the first time in six years, I saw Eric crack the golden smile that I loved so much. The shining white teeth and the twinkling eyes returned so quickly to the face that always seemed to be filled with gauntness.
“And there’s one more,” I corrected. “From here on out, you must smile at least once a day. And not the fake smile that you give the lords. I want the real smile. The true smile. The smile of a lover.” And as I said this, I waited for the reaction that I knew would follow. And sure enough, I began to hear a slight chuckle from the depths of Eric’s soul. “Now that’s what I mean!” I exclaimed happily as he smiled once more.
“Now, kiss me, you fool, or I shall never have you again,” and as the words spilled forth from my mouth, I felt his soft lips touch mine, lightly at first, but increasing with passion as the moments passed. Our responses to each other were as accurate as the day that he graduated and left me alone. The intensity of desire had returned. I couldn’t seem to get enough of his taste, enough of his scent, just enough of him. But the moment came where I knew that I had to break away, or else I would never stop, and when I stopped the kiss, I found myself to be panting, nearly weeping for more of him. Yet tonight wasn’t the night.
With a deep sigh, I stood at the end of the bed and surveyed my surroundings one last time. “You know what?” I said facing Eric. “I’ve always wanted to do this to my room, yet never had the courage to do so alone. But I think tonight is the opportune moment.”
“Do what? I’m afraid I don’t follow,” Eric answered.
I smiled with a knowing smirk of what I would do and how the interpretation would be read. With my wand in hand, I created the spell that I would need. “THIS!!” I shouted as I spun around 180 degrees and with my arm over my head. A jet of lavender light erupted from the tip of my wand as I pitched the enchantment at the hearth. Before mine own eyes, I saw the crest of the Everard clan clearly engraving its self in the solid stone. And as I walked towards the fireplace, I rubbed my fingers along the perfectly etched outline, filled with the Lily that appeared so lifelike that I nearly attempted to sniff it.
“It’s perfect. It’s the perfect last reminder of my history,” I said and stepped back to admire my handiwork.
“Elizabeth, your history is only starting. Think not of this as the end, but as the beginning,” Eric said, stepping alongside me. “Have you finished everything?”
“Yes, Yes I do believe so.”
“Then our time of departure has arrived. So I ask of you, carriage, or apparation? The room is locked and the walls silenced. You may do what you wish.”
“I’d say we apparate. I’ve always wanted to apparate within the castle just to prove I could. Come along,” I beckoned and took his hand as if we were still the dashing young teens that we once were and with a loud CRACK, we were gone.
A/N: See! I told you it was longer! Now that I’ve finally finished all of the to-do back at the castle, we can finally move on to Gaelen Castle and the war! YAY! It may be a little while since I'll be updating my story Dark Intentions whilst I'm writing this one (don't worry about my writing focus on the other one...I'm still looking for a beta to overview the first 3 chapters or so) and I've decided that this fic shall be less than 10 chapters! I've got my blueprint and I'm running off to write the next chapter now! R/R Bitte Schoen! (That’s Pretty Please in German!)
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by The Captain