Lady Rose Blount, 7th eldest, 19 years old
Lady Mary Blount, 3rd eldest, 23 years old
Lady Catherine Blount, 5th eldest, 21 years old
Lady Joan Blount, 9th child, youngest, 15 years old
Lady Constance Blount, 4th eldest, 22 years old
Lady Isabel Blount, eldest, 28 years old
Lady Amy Denton
Lady Grace Denton
Lady Jane Dove
Lady Alice Oliver
Lady Helen Peyton
Lady Ruth Peyton
Lady Sarah Dunch
Lady Susanna Wade
Lady Lucy Walker
Lady Margaret Dale
Lady Bridget Swan
Lady Judith Swan
Lady Martha Swan
Lady Maria North
Lady Joyce Harper
Lady Maud Bennett
Lady Mildred Norwood
Lady Agnes Brent
Lady Denise Wallace
Lady Ellen Pratt
Lady Edith Warner
Lady Emma Finch
Lady Dorothy Key
Lord Edmund Blount, 2nd eldest, 26 years old
Lord Robert Blount, 6th eldest, 20 years old
Lord George Blount, 8th eldest, 17 years old
Lord Alexander Veldon, 21 years old
Lord Thomas Swan
Lord James Wallace
Lord Oliver Stuart
Lord Joseph Key
Lord Edward Harper
Lord Charles Pratt
Lord Albert Finch
Lord Phillip North
"Rose, watch your step!" A tall young man called to me as I walked along the bank of a stream.
"A little water won't kill me Alexander," I giggled and brushed my long red hair out of my face.
"I wouldn't want my love to drown," he responded as he put his arms around my waist.
He smiled and gave me a kiss on my forehead. I put my hand on his chest and felt his heart beating wildly inside of his chest.
"I can swim," I smiled at him and his green eyes danced a bit.
"I'm going to ask for your hand, tomorrow." He whispered and pulled me closer.
"Papa won't allow it," I frowned and gazed upon the stream as it sluggishly moved along the banks.
"I must ask, I need you as my wife," his voice was soft but serious.
"I want you for my husband," I rested my head on his chest. "Papa goes to court soon; King Henry has given him a position. He has risen in favor since his sister gave birth to his majesty's son. He's too arrogant to allow his daughter to marry a poet when she can marry a nobleman," I rolled my eyes.
"What of your mother?" Alexander inquired.
"Mama would let me if you're what my heart wants. This I can assure you of," I placed a kiss on his cheek.
"Rose!" My sister Joan's voice pierced through the trees.
"I must go," I embraced Alexander before picking up my skirts and retreating up the hill.
Joan was standing near the edge of the trees with an eyebrow raised.
"You wouldn't happen to be meeting with Lord Alexander would you?" Joan chuckled.
"No, I wouldn't." I glared at my younger, blonde haired sister.
"I'd hope not. Once Papa gives you the news that he's given the rest of us, there's absolutely no chance of him marrying you," Joan laughed and walked off, in the direction of their home. I glanced back with a sigh and then followed her. Once I got in Papa was standing there, smiling.
"Rose, I have wonderful news."
"What's that Papa?" I humored him.
"You and your sisters have been ordered into the service of Queen Anne," He nodded to me and I looked at him, bewildered.
"Queen Anne?" I gasped.
"Yes, the King's marriage to Catherine has been annulled. Queen Anne is the king's only legitimate wife and Mary is a bastard," He shrugged.
"Oh, that Anne Boleyn is a sneaky little whore, she is," My mother was stitching in the corner.
"Isn't she, Sophia?" My aunt shook her head.
"Queen Catherine should've banished her from court!" Mama shrieked.
"I can imagine her just writing her off as another of the King's mistresses," Aunt Ruth shook her head again.
"I wonder what witchcraft she used on Our Good King Henry," Mama giggled as she continued stitching the dress she was making.
"Oh you women stop!" Papa waved his hand.
"Catherine is the rightful Queen! The pope said so himself," I cried.
"There is no pope anymore, only the Church of England." My sister Isabel replied and pulled her children close to her.
"Things are different now sister," Constance added, rubbing her pregnant belly.
"The heretics have taken over; our beloved England is now the enemy of all Europe." Edmund added.
I shook my head. "I don't believe it."
"Believe it, Rose, we leave tomorrow night." Mary flipped her black hair before resting her hand on my shoulders.
"Queen Anne will have our heads if we fail to show her loyalty. Remember Cardinal Wosley?"
I closed my eyes; this had to be a nightmare.
"I cannot go to her court," I glared at Papa.
"You will go to court, you will catch the eye of a courtier, and you will marry him. Understand?" His voice was threatening.
"I cannot comply with your wishes," I whispered.
"Is it about that Alexander Veldon?" He inquired coldly.
I heard Constance and Mary both gasp.
How does he know? I couldn't look him in the eye.
"Edward!" My mother's sharp voice showed her contempt for my father's ambition.
"What is it Sophia?"
"You cannot make her marry a courtier if she doesn't want to. She must marry someone she loves." She snapped.
"Did you do that?" he retorted.
"Now you must have forgotten that I am Sophia of Cleves. My brother is Duke of Cleves! I was married to a French king and after his death I moved to England and met you. I married you and completely abandoned my station of a queen to be with the third son of a minor noble!"
I had never heard mama so angry before. Isabel rubbed mama's shoulder to calm her. Papa had fallen silent with Edmund glancing between our parents. I had always wondered why my mother never sounded English when she spoke. Her accent was thick but I could never place where she was from. The silence was deafening and my entire family was standing around, glancing at each other. A knock at the door broke the silence. Papa answered it and my heart fluttered when I realized it was Alexander.
"Lord Blount, I have come to ask for your daughter's hand,"