“The Nevilles Acknowledge Their Bastards” (Part One)

Warwick in Castle

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: “The King has gone mad. He has no idea of time and place, drooling and babbling like a fool. Somerset rules in all but name, ignoring the authority of the Duke of York.”  I smile as I read the parchment. Now all know what I’ve known these months, since the King stole my lands and handed them to a Beaufort. The King is a mad man, cursed by a witch I am sure. My Bess? Perhaps she conjured up a spell, or maybe another, one supportive of the Yorks. Either way, I now have the king right where I want him, utterly discredited, insane for all to see. And Somerset? That bastard will fall right along with him. I swat a mosquito on my arm. My God, they annoy me. I smile again. Yes, just like that. I swat another, done.

Elizabeth Edwards: Five moons, t’is been five moons since I’ve laid eyes on my Richard, his new babe now now cooing and smiling. With black curly ringlets and sky blue eyes, there be no denying her. My heart fills. Together these ten years, I know this man. I know him well. As he did with our Margaret and our son, now lost, my Earl will take one look at the little lass and fall in love.  Though he be another woman’s husband, he’s really mine in truth — and she knows it. She knows it well, as do all in this great realm. As I wait holding Cicily and peering out the window, Richard’s father the Earl of Salisbury, plays with Margaret out in the gardens, her giggles urging him on, his laughter filling her whole. I praise God and thank Him abundantly. Unlike the Lancasters and those close to them, the Nevilles acknowledge their bastards.

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: Oh my God how I miss her, how I miss them. A new daughter, yes another girl, awaits her father’s love —  as does dearest Margaret, a beauty, just like her mother. A fine match she will be for a lucky Lord one day. I worry not, with my titles and her long flowing ginger hair, a fine match will not be hard to find, though her dowry will cost me a’plenty. Oh my, as I ride up to the estate I gifted my Bess, I lay my tired eyes upon my daughter Margaret running circles around my father, laughing. I dismount, and watch quietly for a few moments as I brush the dirt of the ride from my cape. I call out, while nodding to my father, “Margaret! Margaret!”

Margaret Neville: I look up quickly when I hear my name, and excitedly run as fast as I can. “Father!”

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: I scoop my daughter up and spin her around, give her a warm hug, and place her back down on the ground. I bow deeply, and bend a knee. “My little princess, how you have grown! Go to your mother and let her know I’ve arrived, love.” As she scampers off happily, she cries out “Mother! Mother! He’s here! He’s here!” I smile. Yes, I am a lucky man. God has blessed me with both a dutiful wife, who though plain, is of regal blood, wealthy in lands, loyal and a wonderful mother for my Isabel. And then, there is my Bess, my one true love. My only prayer unanswered is a healthy son, a gift God holds back for another day, another lay. I look over to the entrance, and there Bess stands, a babe in her arms. I smile broadly.

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury: I walk over to my son as I watch him reuniting with his daughter. A Neville always makes whole beloved mistresses and bastards. Our wives must accept this, as t’s only right, God’s will. I hear Percy bastards live in shambles, among the paupers of this kingdom — a shame upon Christendom, the pigs. I grab hold of Richard’s arm to catch his ear before entering, as once inside it will be all about the babe. “Son, we are in agreement then?” He nods.  “There are eyes and ears all over. I thought best we meet here. Please forgive my intrusion. I must say, your bastards are lovely, the mistress as beautiful as any woman in the realm.”

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: I pat my father’s hand, holding tight upon my arm. “Thank you, father.” I’ve no idea if he’s heard the news. “Have you heard King Henry’s gone mad?”

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury: I laugh heartily and pat my son on the back. “Son, the man’s been mad these many years. Why we’ve held firm to him this long, only God knows.”

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: I speak plain to make the message clear. “No, seriously… King Henry has gone mad. The losses in France weighed too heavy upon him, so now he dribbles like a fool. He likely thinks he’s Jesus or Saint Francis, speaking in tongue like the monks do, the pious pig.”

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury: I look at my son stunned. “You know what this means, right?”

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: “Of course, father. We change the tide or we lose it all. Even with him sane, t’is all but lost. For all we have done, he favors us not, all we have worked for in the hands of Somerset and the Percys. Damn him. Damn them all.”

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury: “Let’s go on in son. Look at poor Bess. The woman is waiting to show you the babe. We’ll plan after we sup’.”

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: I smile broadly. “Yes, let’s go take a look at my new daughter. After we sup’, t’is time to plan how we make a new king, a York king.” I sigh. “Father, they… will… not… win!”

~~~~~~~~~~ Fade To Black ~~~~~~~~~~

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