PHOENIX RISING #Excerpt by Hunter Jones #AnneBoleyn
We walk down the steps from the Queen’s Apartments. Sir Kingston walks with me and the ladies walk behind us. The morning sun kisses my face. The daffodils are in bloom and the birds sing like any other radiant spring morning. Surely even Nature would know if the hour of death was approaching for an anointed Queen Regnant of England. It must be a sign of hope for me. I will be rescued at the last moment. This is all part of the public humiliation Henry wishes. He wants all to witness as I bow to his greatness, then he will pardon me for sins against the Crown and banish me to a nunnery, much like Cranmer promised.
If not, then I face the morning with courage. If I am to be punished, it is for my own sins. The last few years swiftly pass before my mind’s eye. What had caused the change? Certainly the miscarriage of a son had been a part of Henry’s outrage. But what made him turn against me in such haste? Again, the unseen troubadour’s voice pleads for the love of his lady; his song is as sweet as the one sung by the birds around me, yet as mournful as the questioning of my own heart.
The air crackles around me and I breathe in slowly, filling myself with a new energy and a prayer. I must balance and maintain a sense of equilibrium. Courage and strength are to uphold me; that is my silent prayer.
Henry surely hasn’t pledged himself to her, although he has always been much like a crow, in that anything dangled before him which glimmers will capture his eye. My heart breaks at the thought. If he had fallen for a woman of wealth, taste, or great nobility, I could forgive. But Jane? She is nothing. Bringing myself from the daydream, I see the crowd that awaits us as we move closer to the edge of the White Tower. There we will take a turn toward Tower Green. One way or another, either death or escape await me. I am ready to face whatever God wishes for me. All I pray for is an answer that will serve the greater good of the King, and an end to my pain.
The maid woke me as she walked across the room to light the candle opposite my bed. Hearing me move underneath the covers, I see her silhouette curtsy in the outline against the background of daylight peeking through the window.
“So sorry for waking you, my great and beautiful lady,” she whispers. I hear the trembling of fear in her voice.
“Oh, there is no need to worry yourself, my dear girl. This is the best of days to wake early. Thank you for waking me. I couldn’t be more delighted. Today is the day for which we have longed! You do me a very great favour. I am to be fitted for my wedding dress on this very morning.”
“Thank you, Lady Jane. May I bring you anything from the kitchens?” she asks.
“Not at this time, but would you move the covering from the window? I wish to invite the beauty of this day into our home and into our hearts. This is the day all of England has waited for. Today, a traitor dies and the King will be free to see his will done for the greater good of us all,” I say.
Now fate has led me to today. It is the wish of God and the King. I am to become the wife of the King of England. How could any woman think to maintain the affections of a man if all she did was meddle and rant about his business? This is an especially tiresome trait when his business is the future of England.
The tapping on the door let me know my ladies had arrived to ready me for the fitting of the dress the King had ordered. My time has come. All I pray for is the ability that will serve the greater good of the King, and an end to his pain.
The last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life…
Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage.
A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.
Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.