Chapter 21 – The Queen of England
He was now using logic to change parameters in his mind. If she didn’t know that place, perhaps she was suffering from memory loss and had forgotten key facts. He decided to ask a question to test her. So, before Greta could pose a further question he asked, ‘Who is the Queen of England?’
To Keith this was a logical question to test where Greta was from. After all Queen Elizabeth II had been on the throne for more than 60 years, if she knew anything about England at all, she would know who the Queen was.
To Greta this the most shocking and treasonable question imaginable. She stood with a gasp covering her mouth in shock, and Henry who had been half dozing listening to the conversation, strode over and kicked Keith in the ribs. Keith immediately let out a groan of shock and pain, and doubled over in agony. Keith’s cry of agony, woke Eustace and the King.
Despite her shock at Keith’s question, her intuition as a Witch told her that Keith was not being malicious. She realised that Keith had not realised he had touched a very sensitive nerve. She recalled that one of the greatest challenges to Stephen’s right to be King was from the Empress Matilda his cousin. This was not the same Matilda who was Stephen’s wife and her beloved Mistress, but many said the rightful heir to the throne. She had heard that Henry 1, Stephen’s father, had made an oath to appoint Matilda his successor. It was said that on his deathbed he had rescinded this oath, and appointed Stephen instead. Many disputed this, and it was the cause of the friction with the Barons.
Keith had no idea why his question had provoked such a violent reaction from Henry. His ribs hurt where he had been kicked, and he curled up in a foetus position on the ground to protect that area of his body from further punishment. He heard Henry call across to the King, ’Sire the tall stranger does not recognise your Kingship’. Before the King could reply, Eustace drew his sword and approached Keith with violent intent.
Greta wanted to question Keith further. She needed to act quickly to stop the situation from escalating. She knew that the one person that Eustace feared was King Stephen’s wife, and Greta’s beloved Mistress. Matilda had a very distinctive voice that was low-pitched for a woman, and her English was spoken with a distinct French accent. Greta often amused her Sisters with her talent to mimic her Mistress. She had a gift to be able to impersonate both human voices, and also many animals and birds.
Now she shouted direct at Eustace in the style she used to pitch to crowds, it was incredibly loud from a small body as frail as her own, and the voice was as if it were Queen Matilda herself speaking,
‘HOLD HARD, I WANT THIS SERVE ALIVE. I QUEEN MATILDA COMMAND IT’.
Eustace froze with his hand about to draw his sword. The King also stopped mid-stride. Henry had notched an arrow, but lowered his bow. Greta switched to her own voice, in a much more conciliatory tone.
‘Let me question this man further, and then he will lead us to some breakfast’.
After a short pause the King said, ’very well, saddle the horses.’ Reluctantly Eustace sheathed his sword and Henry un-notched his arrow.