WESTMINSTER ABBEY, JULY 13th, 1483
"My only boy? He would take my Dickon from me? He is a murderer and a fiend! I will not allow it!"
The Dowager Queen of England knew how to speak so as to captivate any room. Sadly, on this night, her only audience was the Bishop of Westminster, her clutch of daughters and the few servants left to her.
"I assure you Your Grace the King is in the most loving and capable of hands! The Duke of York must be there to attend his brother. The King is lonely and in need of companionship. Who better than his own blood? My Lady you must be reasonable!"
She hissed at him, spinning on him like a wild animal. Sanctuary had made her feral, feeling trapped like some beast in a menagerie. No one came to visit save the Protector's men. She had but one loyal serving woman left and her young daughters. Her children were all she had left to her, the woman who had once been Queen.
"As Gloucester was reasonable when he slew my brother and my son at Pontefract?" She snarled "He means to kill all my kin, to destroy all I have left to me and you gladly aid him."
She was a desperate woman. Her eldest daughter Bess stood in the corner of the cold, dark cell and shook her head at her mother's paranoia. As the eldest Princess of England, being shut up in dreary sanctuary was torture. She could imagine all the balls and pageants for her brother's ascension but Elizabeth of York would see none of them.
She knew the grief was fresh but her mother's hysteria was trapping her, as her future slipped away. They should have been with Ned, who would soon don the mantle of King. They had to surround him with his family. Richard had killed their kin, but he was still her Uncle and her father's chosen protector. He would keep the Princes safe, he would keep them all safe. They were York, all of them.
"Your Grace the King commands it. I will call his guardsmen if I must, but I would rather not disturb the peace of this sanctuary."
"This is no true sanctuary if you rip my own son from my breast and send him to his death!" the Woodville woman shrieked "Would you send your King to his death? Will you answer to God Almighty for this crime?"
The old man shrunk before her, her words wounding him.
"My Lady that is treason! Edward of York is King in England and Richard of Shrewsbury is his Heir. You must calm yourself Your Grace, you are apoplectic. Your grief has left you-"
"Richard may have already killed your King. It is very likely your King is dead. You will not take my boy!"
"Mother!" Richard's young voice echoed in the chamber, startling Elizabeth and the Bishop. "Enough. I will go with the to attend my brother the King. I am York, and I do not cower."
Elizabeth wanted to scream, to tear her hair out and beat at her breast. The world begin to spin, Bess was hugging Richard, crying into his pale blonde hair.
"We will dance at Edward's coronation ball. You must promise you will return and rescue me from this prison. We are born of the Sun in Splendor Dickon. What does that mean? Do you remember?"
"We must shine bright. We must never gutter out."
The Dowager Queen was sobbing now. She watched as her girls all bid their brother farewell. Elizabeth, Cecily, Bridget, Catherine and Anne, all beautiful Plantagenet flowers and soon to be her only children. She had lost George and Margaret as babies and her beloved Edward to that monster Gloucester. All her little lost children, and now her Dickon. She rushed to him and kissed his forehead, clutching his small body to hers.
"Fear not Richard. No harm will come to you, I promise."
He nodded gravely and caressed her face with his palm.
"God bless you Mother. When my brother is crowned will you too leave this wretched place?"
Elizabeth sobbed and held him close again.
"I shall Dickon." Her voice broke "God bless you, my precious boy."
They bundled him off, he turned around once more and lent them one last beaming smile. Elizabeth dried her tears and turned away from her daughter's and set her shoulders, looking up at the slits nears the ceiling that passed for their windows. It was early evening. She motioned to her serving woman, Phillipa.
"Get the girls to bed. I must write a letter."
She left them through the small door near their sleeping chambers, one candle in hand. In a small nook under the floor, there was a box, one that had seen her through most of the troubles in her life. She had locked it up and sworn never to use it again, and in doing so she had lost her beloved husband and her King. She would not make that mistake again.
"Winds of the North I invoke thee," she began in a whisper "Fires of the South, I invoke thee..."
Outside, thunderclouds began to gather.