I’m Amelia of Willshire over Mount Windsor heading towards the North. As a young girl, I lost my Mother to disease. My Father King Adam of Willshire was left with 3 young children, my 2 brothers, Paul and Michael, and I. Even though he tried his hardest, it became difficult to raise a young girl without her mother. Also struck with the same disease that took my Mother, my Father, the strongest man in my eyes, became very ill. Not really having a choice, my Father contacted his friend King Emmanuel of Landford for help. King Emmanuel knowing how ill my father was, obliged. He suggested bringing me to his Kingdom and raising me to be bequeathed to his eldest son David. With a broken heart, my Father agreed and soon after died. I think he did not want to leave this world without knowing I would be taken care of
As a young girl, I really did not know what it really meant to become another’s wife, but for me, it was years away. Plus what better than to know I would be marrying a Prince one day. The only thing was the moment I met them, my heart chose Thomas, David’s younger brother.
I came to live at Landford at around 13 years of age. It was strange for me. Most of my life I lived with my Father and brothers but now I had an entire family and my future already created for me. Queen Catherine was so happy to have me; she never had the opportunity to have a daughter. She immediately connected with me and I with her. I was very appreciative of my new family but I missed my birth family and our Kingdom immensely. When my Father passed, my brother Michael became King of Willshire. He was the youngest King and unfortunately very unprepared. In a matter of a year, Willshire would succumb to widespread disease and mismanagement by the King and his court. I really could not do anything but watch my Father’s Kingdom crumble in front of me.
Queen Catherine had explained to me that what was happening to Willshire was not my fault and I should live on with my new life, and so I did.
David, Thomas, and I became great friends instantly. King Emmanuel, their Father, treated us equally. Whatever his boys did and had, I also had and was allowed to do, even weapons training. This was totally unacceptable for women to do. Father believed it would be better if I knew how to protect myself. David and Thomas were total opposites. David was tall, dark hair and eyes, goal-oriented, predictable. Thomas was also tall, but with light hair and eyes, more spur of the moment, spontaneous, and definitely of strong will. That was what I loved about him and thinking back I knew I loved him from the very first day I met him. His emerald green eyes became a part of me instantly. His look was intense, piercing. They seemed to have a magical power or maybe that was all in my head because I was hypnotized by them. And that smile, that beautiful smile, it could melt the largest iceberg. David and I knew about the arrangement but as we grew older, we knew it was not going to be. His heart belonged to Elizabeth, a peasant girl in town, and mine belonged to Thomas. Even though, Thomas was not interested in me at this time. He had many “female suitors” if I may say. He was so handsome. But he wasn’t really interested in anyone or anything; he was just interested in becoming King. Even though he was not next in line to be King, he trained and studied as if he were.
Throughout the years, my friendship with David became more of a brother/sister relationship. We did everything siblings would do together. After a while, everyone thought we were actual siblings and Thomas was the adopted one. He was always a bit distant from us, in his own world. My friendship with Thomas also changed. He had given me my first kiss and seemed to be showing interest in me as I did him as a child.
David had mentioned I grew out of my weird little girl stage to an attractive sensual woman, which Thomas could not help become charmed with.
Of course, I was not upset about this because it was my life’s dream to be his wife.
We were not the perfect juveniles. We got in as much trouble together as we did separately. We did so many things to upset Father and Mother. Punishment from Father was extreme but Mother was always there to console us.
I remember escaping with David and Thomas into town in the evenings so David could meet with Elizabeth. We were prohibited to do this but we knew exactly when Father napped and how long. So we were never really caught. As David visited with Elizabeth, Thomas and I rode around town. Since as children, Father and Mother did not introduce us to the townspeople, no one really knew who we were. I really enjoy being around Landford's people. Everything was so simple. Thomas on the other hand had a bit of arrogance to him but was never disrespectful. As I would always joke to him, he should get to know
his people before he became King. He always answered with “Ha Ha, Amelia, you should teach them to kneel before their future King” and would try to force me to kneel to him. All fun and games.
Our trips to town became more frequent. David was becoming very serious about his lady and was planning on telling Father and Mother. Even if it meant he’d be banished, he was willing to lose the crown for love. How romantic!
On these trips, Thomas and I had a lot of time to ourselves which we used to get more acquainted with as young adults. A young woman should not flaunt but I gave myself completely to Thomas one evening. It was not planned, it was written in the stars as Thomas said. Thomas was always so poetic.
As we left David, we rode upon to an abandoned farmhouse, it was a chilled night, many stars in the sky, and the moon was very bright.
“Let’s rest here for a bit Amelia” Said Thomas
“What if someone is here?” I responded.
“It looks empty, come” He replied.
I followed Thomas into the barn and leaned upon a bale of hay. He smiled and whispered, “What shall we do while we await David? He is going to be a while.”
As he walked around the barn, to make sure no one was around.
“Tell me a story or recite some poetry, you do that so well,” I answered as I walked in the opposite direction, looking around.
Thomas had a wonderful imagination. His stories were full of excitement. And not enough could be said about his poetry, so full of love, any maiden would fall to her knees upon listening to him. He had a different tone of voice, very soothing and gentle. I always told him he should be a storyteller. Which he often disagreed with.
He smiled as he walked towards me.
“All right, all right, hmmm?” He said as he rubbed his chin.
“Once upon a time, there was this beautiful young maiden who had stolen the heart of a sad lonely Prince.” He added.
I laughed and replied, “Thomas, please.”
He came up behind me and whispered “May have a kiss?”
His warm breath on my earlobe gave me shivers. I giggled, pushed against him, and said “No you may not.”
He grabbed my waist, pulled me to him, and replied “Then I shall just take it.”
I could not help but tremble as his cold soft lips gently touched mine.
His kisses were so intense. Very experienced. I felt them deep inside me.
He looked around and pointed towards an upper loft. He grabbed my hand and led me there. He had grabbed a blanket off his horse and placed it on the floor so we had an area to sit and relax. I lied down and look at the beautiful sky.
“Look at how lovely, Thomas,” I said as I pointed upwards. The barn was missing part of its roof.
“Nothing more beautiful than you in this light” He replied.
He lay next to me and smiled as he looked at the night sky. His profile was perfect, his eyes looked clear green as the starlight shown on him.
I thought to myself “Nothing more beautiful than you in this light, Thomas”.
He gently caressed my cheek as he approached me for another kiss. This kiss was different. More wanting. It created a feeling in me I had never felt before.
As he lies upon me, he whispered, “Amelia, I want to be the only man that beds you. Give yourself to me and I will forever be true to you. We have come this far together and I love you as much as you love me”.
I shyly smiled and said “I’d give anything to be with you, Thomas. You are all I have ever hoped for and wanted.”
He smiled and kissed me deeply. His eyes penetrate my soul as did he. We stared into each other’s eyes the whole time. Our souls have become intertwined and we were now one.
One heart, one breath, one love. It was magical.
As we rode back to the Castle, he would glance at me and smile.
“Could this be heaven?” I asked myself.
I could not believe Thomas and I had shared such an intimate moment. I rode in a daze the entire time. David seemed to suspect something was different between us but never questioned it. Upon reaching my bedroom door, Thomas reached for me and whispered “Sweet Dreams my angel, I love you”.
I smiled, mouthed I love you, and entered my room.
My lady in waiting, Shyanne was waiting for me with her arms crossed. She floated across the floor towards me.
“Amelia my lady, where have you been?” She asked sternly.
I shuttered and replied, “I went out with David and Thomas, as I do every week”.
“That I see, but you seem a bit strange, my lady” she added.
I giggled and said “Tonight, my world has changed. Thomas has made me a woman”
She looked confused and said, “What do you mean?”
I could not stop smiling. I was in a dream state.
“Oh, OH MY! She added.
“You and Thomas?” she asked.
I shook my head in agreement. She ran towards me and hugged me tightly.
“Amelia, oh my? How was it? No, do not answer. I’m so happy for you. Oh my, when will you tell your parents?” She asked.
Right then I immediately snapped out of it.
“Ahh, I do not know, I really did not think about that,” I replied.
Reality had just smacked me in the face. Father was going to be furious. Mother not so much, she would understand being a woman and all.
She hugged me and walked me to my bed.
“It's late, we will talk more tomorrow. I do not want Your Majesty to hear us giggling and get upset”. She whispered.
She winked and made her way to her quarters.
I could not sleep.
The moment kept replaying in my mind. Thomas’ sweat shimmering body was etched in my mind forever.
“If only this feeling could last forever,” I thought.
I awoke startled by yells in the corridor. It was David and Thomas play arguing as they fenced. They did this often but today I was not having it.
I opened my door and shouted, “Do you know how dangerous it is to play with sharp objects in such a small corridor?”
They both laughed.
“How dangerous, my lady?” said David in a teasing voice as he bowed.
“This dangerous” I replied as I grabbed Thomas’s sword and pinned David to the corner.
“Touché”. David taunted.
Thomas laughed and joked “Did you forget she has the same weapons training as we do, brother.”
Smiling he looks at me and winks.
David put his arms around my neck and said “Let us go, Mother awaits us.”
“I will be there shortly I must dress,” I answered.
As I walked back towards my room, Thomas bumps me and says “Meet you later at the stalls? We will go riding, yes?”
I shook my head in agreement and smiled.
Our meetings became more and more frequent. So frequent that Thomas decided he would just sneak into my room every night, instead of sharing our moments with the horses. He said the horses; Toby and Beauty watching us gave him the willies. I think everyone knew about us but no one said a word. We were inseparable.
So inseparable that Mother began to question me about us. As I returned from riding, Mother had requested I visit her chambers.
Thomas raised his eyebrows and smiled, “Don’t worry, you are not in any trouble, I hope”
I was not afraid of showing my love for Thomas. I just did not want to disappoint my parents especially when they expected me to marry David.
As I reached her door, I inhaled deeply and knocked.
“Come in my child.” Mother said.
I walked towards her, she sat near the window watching her sons practice their battle moves.
“Sit here, Amelia” she added as she motioned next to her.
“Is there something wrong, Mother?” I asked.
She smiled and answered, “Of course not, my
child, I just want to spend a few moments with my daughter.”
I felt relieved but a little uneasy.
“So tell me,” she said.
I quickly interrupted her “Tell you?”
She smiled and continued “Yes, we do not speak much, how are classes with your new tutor? You have not spoken of any suitors?”
My heart completely stopped.
“Oh sweet child, I know you are bequeathed to David but there will be other suitors” she added.
I could not lie so I decided to confide in her.
“Mother, I carry someone in my heart which may disappoint you and Father,” I whispered.
She smiled and whispered “Thomas?”
“Yes, how did you know? I asked.
“I have noticed you both, the glances, and the smiles.” She replied.
“Mother I do not know what to do?” I responded worriedly.
She stood up and leaned towards me.
“Amelia, you must not do anything, your heart has chosen Thomas and I know his heart has chosen you. This is not a disappointment, it brings joy to me. It reminds me a lot of your Father and me.” She confided.
I still felt tense.
“But Father? He will not be happy” I added.
“Don’t worry about your Father, I will tend to him. If your love is meant to be, no one, not even your Father can intervene.” She assured me.
She hugged me tightly and said, “Just tread lightly until the time is correct to tell your Father.”
Months had passed and our relationship was stronger than ever. Since Mother knew, we had a bit more freedom with it. Father was too busy ruling our Kingdom, he barely had time to eat or notice us.
David had begun preparing to bring Elizabeth to the Castle to meet Mother and Father. As always Mother knew, she was our biggest advocate. But she was a bit uncomfortable with this. Father was not going to approve but David had his mind made up.
As every week, we would meet at the stables before leaving for town. David seemed nervous. Revealing his true love for Elizabeth would also disclose our visits to town, disrespecting our parents and that was a cause for punishment.
Thomas nervously paced back and forth as David brushed his beloved horse, Hemi.
“David, are you sure you want to do this?” Thomas asked.
“She is my true love and Father needs to know, she will be my wife,” David replied.
“That will put Amelia and I there and Father will not hesitate to punish us also. Do you not care about our fate?” Thomas exclaimed.
“Brother, I will not tell Father about you or Amelia accompanying me. If there is to be punishment I will receive it solely.” David answered.
I just stood there quiet.
“You both stay home tonight; I will go on my own as not to implicate you.” David continued.
I looked at Thomas concerned.
“You cannot go into town unaccompanied Brother that is out of the question,” Thomas said.
“We can follow far behind as if we were going to market,” I suggested.
“Yes, that is what we will do”. David agreed.
I was so excited for David, even though we all
knew this would not end well.
Thomas pulled me aside and said “I cannot believe you suggested that, are you mad? Father will have our heads for this.”
He began to pace again.
“What was I supposed to do, either way, he was going to go,” I replied.
“We are putting our love and happiness in jeopardy for his, which is unconventional and will be unaccepted. It is not fair!” Thomas continued.
I had never seen Thomas that angry. He walked away towards the Kings Men stables. As he entered the stables, Thomas saw the men congregating. He walked over to them and said “I was just told something unbelievable, wait until you hear.”
He stood in the middle and began whispering to them.
As David continued preparing his horse for this trip, I just sat near a tree watching him. He was such an elegant man; any woman would be honored to have him as a husband. He was strong, extremely handsome, and very funny. As I stared at him, he threw a branch towards me.
“What are you looking at? Shouldn’t you be preparing Toby for our travels?” He said.
David had given me Toby as a gift. Toby was the offspring of his mare, Hemi.
She was recognized and prized in our kingdom, so that made my Toby super special. I just smiled, made a joking face, and ignored him.
He continued on.
Time quickly passed.
It was time to leave for our outing to town with David; Thomas seemed different, quiet, and standoffish.
As we rode, I felt strange. The look in Thomas’ eyes was not the same. It seemed cold, angry. As we reached the town, we went our different ways. David excitedly rode toward Elizabeth’s home and we went in the opposite direction as usual.
I rode up to Thomas “Are you well? You seem angry.” I asked.
He smiled and replied, “Of course all is well and I am not angry, let us explore our South Landford today.”
It seemed like he was avoiding the subject so I let it be.
He pointed and replied, “In that direction, there is a small chapel, I saw it the last time we were here, it looks interesting.”
His mood seemed to have changed. We rode a bit and there in the distance it was. Tall, white, and surrounded by colorful flowers.
It was so beautiful!
Upon entering I felt a bit awkward, I had never visited a chapel before and it was quite overwhelming. Like every girl, you imagine your wedding day and dream of the beautiful church it will be held at. This one was simple but exquisite.
I smiled at Thomas and said “When I marry I want to do it here. It is so lovely”
He looked around and replied “Really? You know you will wed at the Castle, it is tradition”
“Yes really, look at how beautiful this place is, so tranquil. The Castle is lovely but maybe Father can change that tradition for me” I responded as I walked across the room.
“I think not. If you like it so much let us marry
now” Thomas said loudly.
“What?” I replied in shock.
He smiled and said “Sure, why should we not, do you love me?”
“Of course I do but Father” I replied.
“Father is going to have our heads for this trip anyway, might as well make the most of it. Let us do it, these people do not know us, and it can remain between us as everything else, and this way we are not living in sin anymore Amelia because you will be my beloved wife. How about it?” He announced.
As he walked towards me he added “Why should David be the only one with good news and happiness?”
I did not know what to say. This was my dream but I did not want to disappoint my parents and overall I did not want to disappoint Thomas.
Thomas walked over and asked, “Is it yes?”
I smiled and said “Yes.”
He walked towards the back of the church and knocked on a door.
Out came a priest.
“Dear Father, My lady and I would like to be joined in the eyes of God, I have gold for payment, Can it be done today?” Thomas said.
“Yes it can, my son, but right now?” said the priest.
“At this moment, if possible Father. We would like to leave here in union this evening.” Thomas said excitedly as he looked towards me smiling.
The priest looked at us both and replied, “Let me get a few things and I will return.”
Thomas looked at me and said, “Are you ready to be my wife?”
I smiled and replied, “The real question is, are you ready to be my husband?”
He smiled and nodded.
The ceremony was quick and sweet. Thomas had a sweet expression on his face as he listened to the priest. Throughout the ceremony, he just looked at me. I was engulfed in love as his beautiful smile appeared while he repeated his vows to me. In a matter of minutes, we were husband and wife.
Though no rings were exchanged, the priest said it was still legitimate.
At the end the priest said “Thomas, Amelia I could feel your true love. Thank you for letting me join you in the eyes of God.”
Thomas could not wait to tell David. I wished to remain quiet, as I was still in the moment.
We met David at our usual spot. David was smiling and very happy.
“Congratulate me, I will marry soon, Elizabeth has accepted my proposal, soon we will be husband and wife.” David announced.
I jumped up and down in excitement and hugged him.
I asked excitedly “Can I be part of your wedding? I do not have to be the maid of honor if you do not wish. I just want to be part of it”.
David smiled and answered “Of course, my sister. I could not have a wedding without you.”
David then looked over at Thomas.
“My brother, guess what Amelia and I have done?” Thomas teased.
David expecting a joke, as usual, smiled and replied “What damage have you two gotten into?”
Thomas while shaking David's hand and says “We are husband and wife.”
Thomas’ smile became serious because he expected a different reaction from David.
David stopped what he was doing and said “WHAT? You are not serious?”.
“Yes I am, brother” Thomas replied arrogantly.
“Mother and Father will kill you both.
Marriage is a serious vow, nothing to jest with”. David exclaimed.
Thomas confused by his reaction said “Who is more serious than Amelia and I. Why should we deny our love, brother? You are not denying yours and it is unconventional.”
David smirked and replied “Oh brother, if you are happy, I am happy for you both but let us hold off on telling Mother and Father, yes? This can be very sensitive and you know Father.
As we rode, we were suddenly surrounded by Father's men.
“Prince David, your Father has called upon us to return you home immediately.” said Greyson.
David laughed and answered “Why so many men? I am not a criminal”
“Your highness, your Father requested you be brought in.” Greyson added.
“Brought in, for what?” David interjected.
“For Treason your Highness” Greyson said.
“Treason? There must be a mistake.” I interrupted.
Thomas remained quiet.
“Treason? That is a joke, my fellow men.” explained David.
“Just oblige Prince David, we are just following orders.” Greyson replied somberly.
As we arrived at the Castle, David was pulled off his horse and taken to Father.
Thomas and I followed.
“What is going on Father?” David questioned.
“David, my eldest son, with a heavy heart, I must detain you. You have defied me beyond belief. I have been informed you have betrayed me, my son”.
Confused David replied, “Betrayal? You cannot be serious, Father. What are you talking about? I did no such thing”.
“Take him away” Father commanded without looking at David.
Thomas walked towards Father and proclaimed “Father, Betrayal? He’s your son; he has not done such a thing. Your punishment is too harsh!”
“This matter does not concern you, Thomas. And I will deal with you and Amelia later.” Father replied as he walked out.
I lowered my head as Father exited the room in respect but at that moment I felt none for him. I could not understand what was happening. I rushed to Mother who was sobbing uncontrollably.
“Mother, what is going on?” I asked.
In between sobs, she replied “The soldiers informed your Father that David had been plotting to overthrow the kingdom with the townspeople.”
“That is untrue Mother, you know that!” I exclaimed.
At that moment Thomas entered and said “Mother, we must tell Father the truth, that he has been courting that maiden not plotting against our kingdom.”
Mother disagreed “No Thomas, this must remain quiet; you must not go against your Father's word”.
“Mother, but it's unfair and untrue” Thomas yelled.
“My children, let it rest for now please” Mother pleaded.
Father also punished Thomas and me. We were not allowed to fraternize with each other and worst of all we were not allowed to see David. He was treated horribly as all prisoners are.
This destroyed my heart. My brother whom I loved imprisoned for loving someone. How was that possible? How is that accurate? The only betrayal was Love. Father disowned him completely; we were not even allowed to mention his name. How could we tell Father this was a huge misunderstanding without disrespecting him. I tried many times to no avail. I decided to keep trying, my brother had no fault in what he was being accused of.
Father was sitting alone in the front room, so I decided to see if I could convince him to at least listen to David. It did not hurt to try.
“Father? May I speak with you?” I asked.
“Yes my child, come sit with me?” he invited.
“Please hear me, there has been a total injustice, my brother David did not betray Landford, Father, I know for a fact.” I affirmed.
“Amelia, I have word from a trusted source, I have not gone into this decision blindly.” He conceded.
“But Father, I was with…” I was saying when
Father interrupted me.
“My decision is final, nothing else will be discussed. Now go and do not let this talk ruin your day.” He concluded as he kissed my forehead.
In a short matter of time, things in our Kingdom became hard. Shillingburg had called the battle against Willshire and then Landford. Everyday life was interrupted by attacks and unruliness. Father made himself believe that all this was further proof that David had betrayed him. Father had no choice but to intervene and prepare his troops for battle. With anger in his mind and heart, he felt he must first make an example of David and put him to death for betraying his Kingdom. This way no one would dare betray him ever again because even his son was not saved. Thomas, Mother, and I had no say in Father's decision.
On the third day at the third bell toll, David was scheduled to death by hanging. I needed to find a way to postpone this. The only way was to defy my Father’s orders. At this point it did not matter; he was my brother and did not deserve this injustice. Very late, a few nights before, I with the help of Greyson planned to commit the ultimate sin in my Father’s eyes. I had planned to help David be free. At 5 past 3, Greyson accompanied me to the dungeon. Everyone was fast asleep. I entered David’s cell, he was so thin, unrecognizable.
I whispered, “David, it is me, Amelia”.
He quickly arose.
“Amelia, I am so happy to see you, what are you doing here?” He answered.
“I am going to set you free” I whispered excitedly.
“Are you insane, Father will have your head for this” he responded.
“Listen, my brother, I have it well planned, just hear me out” I pleaded.
“No Amelia, you can not do this.” He said.
“Do not worry brother, all is well thought of, just listen. Father will not be attending the hanging so I will request your face be covered to obstruct the view. But it will not be you. You will be in Willshire by then with Elizabeth.” I said excitedly.
He laughed and ask “My sweet sister and how are we going to do this?”
I have it all planned and with Greyson, it can be accomplished” I added.
“The late King Adam, my Father, had built me a small cottage in the forest where we visited. It has been abandoned since I left Willshire. You and Elizabeth can make it your home.
I have looked into it and no one has taken residence there.” I continued.
“As for the prisoner who will die in your place, the prisoner in cell 4 is scheduled to die the next day, he will take your place and Greyson will retrieve his body after and act as if he cremated it. But actually, he will place that prisoner back in his cell and when he is called for, the guards will notice he has killed himself. By then you will be long gone”. I acknowledged.
“Oh my goodness sister, I think this can actually work” David answered.
“Have you spoken of this with anyone besides Greyson? Thomas?” David asked worriedly.
“No, not at all, this will remain between us” I replied.
David hugged me tight and asked, “When will we do this?”
“Same time as now the night before your execution” I answered.
“One last thing, how do you know Greyson will not betray you?” David asked.
“No worries brother, I have that under control” I assured him.
We quickly said our goodbyes and I hurried back to my room.
To my surprise, Thomas was waiting for me.
“Where were you?” Thomas asked.
“I was feeling uneasy so I decided to wander a bit.” I murmured.
“Are you sure?” he asked suspiciously.
“Positive, Thomas” I replied hastily.
Since I did wander the corridors this wasn’t strange to him.
“I have missed you” he whispered.
I smiled and walked towards him.
“You seemed a bit preoccupied lately, what is on your mind?” He wondered.
“Nothing at all, Thomas.” I replied as I reached for his hand.
“Can you hold me until I fall asleep?” I whimpered.
He smiled and answered “Of course, my love, I will hold you for an eternity if that is what you would want.”
The next morning I awoke to Thomas still in my bed.
“Oh my Thomas, get up! Shyanne will be in soon” I rambled.
“My love, no need to worry. I will be gone before she arrives.” He snickered as he tried kissing me.
At that moment, there was a knock on my door.
“Who is calling?” I asked.
As Thomas ran and hid behind the drapes.
“It is Greyson, my lady.” He replied.
“Enter,” I said.
“My lady we have much to do, you must arise.” He commanded.
I took a deep breath “I will meet you in the garden soon. Thank you” I stuttered.
He bowed his head and made his way to the garden.
“What was that all about?” Thomas asked suspiciously.
“Nothing, everyday chores, if you were not so preoccupied with yourself, you would know I study with Greyson every day. You must not be so jealous. It can turn to madness.” I snapped.
Thomas looked upset.
“Jealous? Me? Never! It is just curious to me what Greyson can teach you.” He added.
“Greyson is brilliant. He is my mentor, nothing more jealous boy.” I said as I walked and opened the door with Thomas behind me.
We were startled by Shyanne who bumped into both of us as Thomas exited my room. She just lowered her head in respect to the Prince and entered my room. I turned around and followed her.
“My lady, pardon my boldness but Thomas should not stay in your room overnight, your parents are bound to find out” She cautioned.
“Shyanne, we are very careful. I replied.
As she prepared my clothes for the day she asked “Will your Father let you say farewell to your brother tomorrow?”
I shrugged my shoulders and replied “I think not, we have been prohibited to even see him.”
“How sad, tomorrow will be a very horrible day in Landford history” she added.
“I must hurry, Greyson awaits me” I said.
She smiled and helped me with my clothes.
As I made my way to the garden, I passed Thomas in the Great Hall. He sat beside Father having a conversation. I glanced at both and smiled. Father smiled but Thomas did not. He must still be upset about Greyson.
On a table in the garden, Greyson had aligned my books as if he was going to help me study.
Very smart, I thought. No one would suspect what we were plotting.
“I have already prepared an exit for David, tonight he will exit through the north, he will have to run to where the creek meets the Red Oak Tree, there your horse, not his because then it will be obvious, will be waiting. That would be far enough away so his gallops cannot be heard. I will retrieve your horse in the early morning. I have already prepared the house in Willshire and advised
Elizabeth to meet him there.” Greyson explained.
I smiled and agreed. I felt so much excitement. As I looked up, I could see Thomas staring down at us. I smiled and Greyson automatically grabbed a book and slammed it on the table.
“Young maiden, you will never understand if you are not listening, you can toy with Thomas later” he shouted.
As he looked up and motioned for Thomas to leave the window. Thomas smiled and bowed his head in agreement.
“I’m sorry, Greyson.” I replied.
Greyson looked at me grimly.
“Amelia, Thomas cannot know about this. I do not trust him!” He whispered.
Greyson lowered his head towards me.
“I know you love him and would not want to keep anything from him but this is one thing no one should ever know about.” He added.
“I know, Greyson” I said as I looked away.
“Everything must go as planned today, if you have to meet with Thomas, you do so, if you have lunch with your Father, you do so. No one must be the wiser of our plan. Go and I will see you at 3 am” Greyson concluded.
I picked up my books and returned to my room. At the end of the hallway, Thomas stood.
“You are not fooling anyone, Amelia” he said.
“What are you talking about? I asked.
He followed me as I entered my room.
“Thomas, you have an overactive mind,” I added.
“So shall we go riding?” He asked.
“Sure” I responded.
“Let us go to your little cottage in the Willshire woods” he insisted.
My heart almost stopped at his request.
“All the way to Willshire?” I answered.
He smiled as he wrapped his arms around me and said “A man enjoys private time with his wife, once in a while.”
I giggled and responded, “Why go so far when we can begin right now.”
Those beautiful green eyes could convince me of anything. His soft gentle touch and his kisses drove me wild. I let him have his way with me, not that I did not enjoy it because I did. I just had to keep him from suspecting anything. Greyson did say everything should play on as normal.
“You are not afraid of being caught by Mother or Father? He asked as he removed my slip.
“No, that makes it more exciting, do you not think?” I replied as I kissed his neck.
Mother and Father were out so I knew we had a bit of time for ourselves.
As always our lovemaking was like a dream. Thomas was a forceful but gentle lover. He always knew exactly what to do to make our time together unforgettable.
After the wonderful time I spent with Thomas, the day went on as usual. I attended my classes, did some training, and then prepared for dinner with our parents. The day was moving so fast as if it knew what was going to happen tonight.
During dinner, Father began disclosing some thoughts towards me.
“My dear Amelia, you have grown to be such a beautiful woman. I must find you a suitor since David no longer qualifies”.
I glanced at him and then my Mother.
Confused I answered, “We have all the time in the world, Father.”
Thomas looked at them and said, “Why could I not be a suitor?”
Father looked over at him, laughed, and replied “Thomas, you are not worthy of her.”
Thomas looked angry and confused “And David was worthy? A Traitor was worthy?” he replied.
“THOMAS!” Mother yelled.
Thomas stands up, slams his hands on the table, and says “How about if I tell you that Amelia and I…”
I immediately interrupted “Thomas, please do not.”
Thomas looked over at me and asserted “Do NOT? Are you ashamed?”
Mother intervened “Thomas, this not the time.”
I had never seen Thomas like that, he was so angry.
He slammed his fists on the table again and said “Father is a strong man, why must we always shield him, now is a good time as any.”
Thomas shook his head in disagreement and left the room.
Father looked over at me and asked “Why is Thomas so angered? Is there something I should know? Is Thomas the suitor you chose?”
I looked at Mother, then back at Father. Mother gestured as if for me to say yes.
I said nervously “Yes, Father.”
Father looked so confused but did not say a word. I quickly left the room to find Thomas.
I found him at the Kings Men Stables.
“Thomas, Thomas” I called out.
He turned around and very upset.
“I am so sorry.” I quietly said.
“I do not understand Amelia, do you not love me? He asked.
“Oh Thomas, I love you but now was not the time to tell Father, not with all that is going on.” I added.
“Then when is an appropriate time Amelia? Father is never going to accept me as your suitor, either way, you heard him, I am not worthy.” he snapped.
I reached out to him as I guided him to me, as my fingers touched his face I said “He did not mean that Thomas. We will both know when the time comes. Either it be today or many days from now, our love will not end.”
I kissed his teary eyes.
“My love, I have given myself to you. You are my life. I will never stray.” I added.
He did not look convinced so I added “Does it matter who knows and when? As long as we do, that’s all that matters. I LOVE YOU THOMAS!” I shouted.
The men outside the stables all looked at each other and walked away.
Thomas looked up at me and responded, “If you did love me as you say you do, you would have said something to Father.”
I touched his lips and uttered, “I did, Father asked if I wanted you to be my suitor and I said yes.”
He stood up and began walking towards the door.
“I was not there so I did not hear, telling Father then is a little too late” Thomas concluded and left the stables.
I sat there in silence.
My heart hurt but I had an eventful night ahead and I could not let this trouble me.
Evening had come and it was time to prepare for bed. I returned to my room with an empty feeling in my heart. Shyanne awaited me with my bedclothes. She began brushing my hair. She could not help noticing I was sad. “My lady, what is wrong?” She said worriedly.
I had no words to explain how I was feeling. She wiped my tears and said “My sweet Amelia if these tears are for Thomas, they are wasted. He knows you mean no harm to him, do not cry.”
I covered my mouth and mumbled “I have hurt him Shyanne and I do not know if it can be mended.”
She gave me an endearing look and responded “Thomas knows you love him, his hurt is temporary, you will see.”
At that moment there was a knock on the door.
Shyanne opened it slowly, there stood Thomas.
“Good Evening Shyanne” He said.
Shyanne dismissed herself as he entered.
“I’m so sorry, please forgive me, Thomas” I blurted out.
He grabbed my hand and kissed it.
“Amelia, I have nothing to forgive, I have acted like an envious spoiled child, on the contrary, please forgive me.” He said.
How could I not forgive him, he is the love of my life, my reason for breathing. I quickly hugged him and whispered in his ear “Thomas, I belong to you never doubt it.”
He kissed me good night and dismissed himself.
He would not be staying due to a Sportsman competition in the morning.
I could not sleep, my heart raced as I anticipated the moment of freeing David. I paced back and forth near my window as I watch the guards, one by one fall asleep or become distracted. Exactly at 3 I heard tapping on my door. I slowly opened it.
“Are you ready, my lady?” whispered Greyson.
With a smile I nodded in agreement. We made our way through the dark passageways. Today it all seemed so much farther. I felt like I have walked miles to get to him. All was quiet, the prisoners were all asleep. David anxiously waited in his cell.
“Prince David, please follow the instructions to the letter, any misstep can get us all killed,” Greyson advised.
“My horse will be waiting for you near the creek.” I added.
David grabbed and hugged me.
“Little sister, I owe you my life.” He said as he kissed my forehead.
I handed him a bag with some of his belongings.
“What about tomorrow's hanging?” David asked.
“I have that covered. You go and live your life, my boy.” Greyson replied.
David ran down the corridor to the open exit, at the door he waved, blew me a kiss, and disappeared into the moors.
A feeling of accomplishment filled me. I think that is the only time I had ever seen Greyson smile.
Greyson quickly turns to me.
“In the morning, you act as all is normal. I will bring out the prisoner and will retrieve him afterward. No one will know differently. You tend to your Mother and especially Thomas.” Greyson asserted.
The next day started as usual.
Thomas competed in the early morning then we prepared ourselves for the disgusting spectacle that was about to occur. The guards prepared the noose and Greyson prepared himself and the prisoner. As Greyson directed, I watched over my Mother and especially over Thomas, who seemed distant.
At the time, we were taken to our thrones on the square to watch.
Father did not attend.
I took a deep breath as Greyson brought the prisoner onto the stage, his hands bounded and face covered in a dark cloth, only his eyes were visible. The prisoner said nothing, he stood stoic and seemed to stare directly at Thomas, as to be giving him a mental message. I could not watch. It was quick and to the point. Thomas seemed unaffected and just walked away. I could not even imagine what he was feeling. All I knew was that I felt ashamed and extremely sad for that man but I had to save my brother. Mother would never be the same after witnessing David’s death. Greyson made it appear that David was given a proper Prince’s burial.
As planned, the next day, the prisoner who took David’s place was pronounced dead in his cell. Greyson and I never spoke of this event again. Days after, I received word that all was well with David and Elizabeth.
Our plan went on without a hitch.
Now I had to live life as normally as possible. This was one secret no one should ever find out. Also, the secret of Thomas and I still remained. Mother was so affected that she did not speak much anymore. Especially after finding out that Father was preparing Thomas to lead in battle.
Father's decision of sending Thomas to war was, in my view, his way of proving his remaining son was honorable. And Thomas did as Father commanded, not because he wanted to but to win his affections. I watched as Thomas trained tirelessly to fight. He was a master with his sword but was his mind in that same state.
He fought so elegantly but was that enough to protect him in battle. On one of our last nights together I decided to ask him directly how he felt about going to battle. He assured me it was what he wanted to do. I was not convinced. I was so worried about him. To fight, he was definitely prepared but the battle is not only fighting with your hands but also with your mind.
I remember the day he was to leave for battle. He looked so handsome in his Prince’s battle uniform. I wept as he said his farewell.
Mother and Father looked on proudly. As he stood before me, my heart became weak.
“Amelia, I will be back, I promise” he said flashing that beautiful smile that he knew always made me feel better.
I smiled and replied, “I will always await you, my sweet Prince, be safe my heart.”
He looked over towards Father then kissed me fully. We both whispered I love you as we separated from the kiss.
He got up on his horse and galloped away.
In minutes he was gone, on his way to protect the borders of Landford.
The Castle seemed so desolate. The echoes of silence could drive you to madness. So many days had passed and no word. Father grew anxious and was also looking very ill. I was always shielded about the truth of his health but I was beginning to notice drastic changes in him.
Days turned to weeks then months and still, Father struggled to keep his composure. It was hard for him to awaken in the mornings and tend to his normal routine.
His decision about David was taking a toll on his mind and now thinking he has lost his other son was making it worse. Even though he appears happy to see me every day, I was no consolation on him losing his flesh and blood.
Early Tuesday, we were all summoned to his chambers for news on his health. My father was not well and needed to appoint his successor. His sons were gone, at this point, David was put to death in his eyes and Thomas had been declared dead in Schillingburg since no news was received about him.
Mother looked over towards me and smiled. You could see the worry on her face but she tried to keep Father from noticing. She was a strong woman, I admired her so much.
I slowly approached his bed and grabbed his hand. I tried to keep the tears from streaming down my face but it was impossible. He was not my blood Father but he was the only Father I knew and I did not want to see him suffering as he was. He was not on his death bed but he was ill enough to be immobile.
He turned his head towards me and smiled.
“Don’t cry my child, it is not as bad as it looks” he whispered.
I replied with a smile.
He continued “Catherine and I have come to a decision, from this morning on, you will take my place on the throne as Queen of Landford.”
I was in shock and said “But Father, I am not prepared to rule a Kingdom”.
He smiled and replied “You are just as prepared as I was when I became King, my sweet girl.”
Mother added, “You will be a wonderful Queen”.
I could not refuse my parent's wish. I felt I owed them, after all, they took me in. I did cause them heartache with all the mischief I gave them in my younger years. This was my time to give them pride. I sat in silence and tried to gather my thoughts. It seemed like everything was moving around me like I was in a dream.
Suddenly Mother said “My child, are you well?”
I shook my head and dismissed myself from their room.
My Lady in waiting Shyanne followed me to my room.
As we entered, she smiled and said “Oh my Amelia, you are Queen, Queen of Landford. I never thought I would see another Queen rule over a Kingdom.”
I was still in shock and I really did not want this.
“What am I going to do, Shyanne?” I whispered.
“You will rule this Kingdom with beauty and grace, my lady” She replied.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly as I glanced out the room window at the Kingdom, My Beautiful Kingdom.
As I prepared myself for bed, I could not help but think about David and Thomas. I missed them so much!
David always remained in my thoughts; he taught me many valuable lessons and always made me laugh. My Thomas, his soft, spellbinding voice and that smile. I longed to hold him. I often envisioned him sitting in my room. I was eager to have news about him, so I can have some type of closure.
The next few days were hectic as everyone prepared for my coronation.
I remained in my room, thinking. I was terrified of this future. I have never prepared for this. I had no idea what to do. Thomas knew exactly what to do but he was not here. Oh how I wish he was. I know I should be ecstatic, this was a moment of triumph, of happiness, but I felt empty and undeserving. David or Thomas should be King, not I. But this was my Father’s wish and it was to be granted whether I liked it or not.
The day of the coronation, the Castle was buzzing with excitement. Shyanne had returned to my room with my gown and began to prepare my bath.
“What is wrong, my lady or should I say My Queen?” she asked.
“Just feeling a bit nervous, I suppose” I answered.
“I would be terrified” she replied with a nervous laugh.
Then she corrected herself.
“No need to worry though, you are going to be a wonderful Queen, the Kingdom is welcoming you with open arms. Everyone in town is talking about you.” she added.
I smiled in response.
I felt like my gown weighed 100 pounds or was it the weight of my nerves. Mother entered the room to glance at me before the crowning.
“My child, you look so beautiful. I am so proud of you and I am sure your brothers would be too.” She said in a broken up voice.
I was so scared not a shutter came from my lips.
Mother began to walk away and I stopped her.
“Mother, I need to tell you something,” I whispered.
“My child, we have all the time in the world as you say” she replied.
“This is important and it is something I should have told you a long time ago.” I muttered.
“It is about Thomas and me.” I sighed.
“I know Amelia, about you and he being wed. He told me before he left for battle and I have kept it deep in my heart” she said.
“And that is ok with you?” I replied.
“Yes, of course, why would it not be? You were brought here to marry David and Thomas won your heart, it is all the same to me. They are my sons and I love them and you immensely.” She said teary-eyed.
Suddenly the trumpets sounded. Mother grabbed my hands and kissed them.
“It is time, my child, go with God” Mother said proudly.
Shyanne and others helped me down the corridor to the Throne room. It was full of people, some I knew, and others were just there to support their new Queen. My Father stood so frail but handsome at his throne. My eyes filled up with tears as I walked towards him. Greyson accompanied me.
My father slowly stood and said “My Daughter today is a glorious day. I remember you as a child running through these corridors with your brothers. The Joy of my heart. Fate has taken them and has illuminated you as the chosen one. With my power I today named you Amelia, Queen of Landford.”
I felt my whole body tremble as Father placed the crown on my head.
“Long live our Queen” The crowd chanted.
Father grabbed my hand and led me to the balcony to introduce me to my Kingdom.
To my surprise the Castle was surrounded by spectators and townspeople who had congregated there to see me. As soon as I appeared they began chanting “Long Live Our Queen”.
I waved at them, terrified but with gratitude. I wondered if David knew or even attempted to come to see or if Thomas, wherever he was knew he was finally King. My Mother looked proud as Father accompanied me to the throne. The trumpets played again, as the flags were raised on the Castle announcing the new Queen. Amelia, Queen of Landford…
The celebration continued on into the wee hours of the morning…