April 6th, 1556
Hampton Court Palace
Blood. There was so much blood. Ruth could only watch in horror as Isabella twisted in pain on the bed before her. Before she had even had a chance to rise her child pains began, and her ladies had been in a panic since. Moments like these were times when Ruth wished Ethel had not returned to Bletchingley Palace with Lady Anne. Marie and Catherine had disappeared once more, not that Ruth had wanted their help in delivering Isabella's babe. Ruth had expected to be at Bungay Castle with her husband giving birth to her own child when Isabella had her child. Isabella hadn't been that lucky. Her confinement had still been two or three months away, but apparently God had another plan.
"Sancha, please fetch me another wet cloth. Hurry!" Ruth passed a blood soaked cloth to Leonor as Sancha passed her a fresh one.
Mariana and Madeleine held either of the queens's hands, whispering encouragement. Isabella's shrill shrieks deafened Ruth to point where she found it hard to focus, causing her to rely more on Sancha, the daughter of a midwife.
"Lady Norfolk, I can take care of the queen, if I may," Sancha murmured.
Ruth gratefully nodded, and Sancha took her place beside Isabella. With another shriek from Isabella, the royal babe was in Sancha's hands, silent and male. Ruth put her hand over her mouth to hold in a scream of horror. Isabella lay back, silent from pain. The room itself seemed to hold it's breath as Sancha used a dry cloth to rub the body in an effort to revive the child. Ruth took the cloth from her and began rubbing the tiny babe's body herself.
Sancha shook her head. "It is no use," She whispered.. "he was born too early."
A cracked voice spoke. "Ruth, let me see my child."
Ruth sighed as she wrapped the child and picked him up in her arms. Isabella sat up, with some assistance from Mariana and looked over the underdeveloped babe in Ruth's arms.
Her blue-grey eyes stared blankly at her child, and then at Ruth. "It was a boy? Wasn't it?"
"Aye, it was a boy, Your Majesty." Ruth nodded.
Isabella spoke in German so that only Ruth would understand. "He is going to kill me. I lost a son. She cursed me, Ruth. He is going to murder me,"
Her voice cracked, and she broke out into a sob. Ruth could only watch helplessly as she cradled the royal babe in her arms.
Ruth turned to her trusted second in command. "Sancha, stay here and comfort the queen, the rest of the ladies and I will take care of everything else, understand?"
"Yes, Lady Norfolk." Sancha curtsied and then hurried to Isabella's side.
Ruth stood and watched at Sancha put her arms around Isabella, whispering gently to her before turning to the rest.
"The rest of you, follow me." Ruth led the ladies to the door and nodded to Clara to open it for her. Ruth could only walk a few more paces with the dead child before she saw the worst person to appear walking down the corridor: Northumberland and King Edward.
"Of all the moments he could have chosen to come," Mariana whispered.
Ruth turned back to nod at the young Spanish lady. She led the curtsy as Edward grew closer.
"Your Majesty," they chorused and rose to stand.
Edward's face was dark as he drew closer to Ruth. "I was informed that the queen gave birth to a child this morning."
"She did, Your Majesty." Ruth nodded.
"How is she?" His green eyes held fear in them.
Ruth sighed. "She is well, distraught but well."
Ruth tried to walk around him, but the king blocked her path. "Was the child a son or a daughter?"
Ruth gulped as she showed Edward the royal babe. "It was a son. I suggest that you leave the queen alone for a while, she is not in the best spirit to see, Your Majesty."
"I must make sure she is alright, she is my wife." He protested.
"Her Majesty, is quite depressed, Your Majesty. I know you wish to see her, but you must allow her to grieve alone." Mariana chirped before Ruth could respond again.
"Lady Mariana is correct, Isabella is not quite herself at the moment." She added.
"I do not care about that, I should be there to comfort her. It is my duty as a husband." Edward took a step towards the chamber door.
"Your Majesty, please. You will send her into a frenzy." Ruth was now blocking the king.
Edward frowned. "Lady Norfolk, you will allow me to see my wife or I shall order you too,"
Mariana nodded to Ruth and she relented.
"Yes, Your Majesty." Ruth stepped aside and allowed for Edward to enter the room.
Charlotte glanced at Mariana and Madeleine with fear. "Are you sure that the queen will not-"
Her statement went unfinished due to screams of terror that could heard from the queen's bedchamber. Ruth placed the dead child in Mariana's arms, grabbed Madeleine's arm, and ran into Isabella's chamber.
"Take the child to be buried!" She called to Mariana over her shoulder and burst through the door.
Sancha was still sitting on the bed, her head turned away from the entrance, instead facing the queen. Isabella was standing in the corner, screaming as Edward tried to approach her. "I am so sorry, please, please leave me!"
"My love, what causes you to react this way?" He took another step forward.
Isabella sunk to her knees. "Do not kill me. I do not know why God took the son from my womb. Please…"
She began to sob violently and Ruth looked back at Madeleine who only shook her head, appearing shocked by the entire scene.
Edward looked confused. "I am not going to kill you. I only wanted to comfort you, my dear."
"No," Isabella shook head. "you are going to kill me for losing a son!"
Edward got down on his knees and looked Isabella in her eyes. "I do not care that you lost a child. I am only thankful that you are still alive."
Sancha turned around and smiled at Ruth, clearly enchanted by Edward's care for his wife. Ruth motioned for her to join her and Madeleine near the chamber door. "Go find Mariana and make sure the child has been buried."
They curtsied. "Yes, Lady Norfolk,"
Ruth could hear the door close behind her as the ladies followed her orders. She was watching as Edward helped a whimpering Isabella to her feet.
He cupped her face with his hand."I love thee. I love thee. I adore thee. What would give you the slightest inclination that I would commit such a terrible act against thee?"
"I fear," Isabella began.
"Do not fear," Edward interjected. "I told you not to fear anything while I am alive. You have nothing to fear, for you have my love."
Ruth held back a tear as she observed the pure love that existed between Edward and Isabella. She decided to leave the pair alone, and she quietly slipped out of the door. She walked out to see Sancha leading a prayer in front the queen's chamber.
"In God's amen." She concluded and looked up to see Ruth.
"Lady Norfolk, I would've waited for you to begin the prayer, but I was just so afraid for the queen that I had to speak to God as quickly as I could."
"It is alright, Sancha, I prefer to pray alone. The queen will be fine, Edward is taking good care of her." Ruth smiled as she mentioned Edward.
Mary sighed with relief. "I thank God that Edward is not like his father. This could have ended in disaster with King Henry,"
"Aye, you are correct about that, Mary." Margret agreed.
"You are all dismissed for the moment," Ruth nodded to release her charges and turned back around to re-enter Isabella's room.
Edward and Isabella were lying in bed together, Isabella seemed to be sleeping while Edward watched over her.
"Would you care for a drink of wine, Your Majesty?" Ruth inquired.
He shook his head. "I do not want to disturb her. She sobbed to point where she became unconscious and I fear she will not be stable from this point."
Ruth frowned. "Not Izzy. She is strong. She will be fine eventually. It may take a while, but she will be happy again."
"She thought I would behead her for losing the child." He moved a piece of hair from Isabella's face.
Ruth sat in her chair. "You must be aware of the precedent your father leaves you. At his death only two of his wives were living, one having been discarded and the other a brilliant survivor, I must say. Four others perished during his lifetime, because of him. He is not the only king to seek an annulment for a lack of heirs."
"I am aware of these things," He sighed. "I loath that I must be held responsible for the crimes of men who do not share my views, nor did they cherish their wives as deeply as I cherish Isabella."
Ruth smiled. "I am grateful that you feel that way for her, for now I can rest easy knowing that she will never have to fear the way others before her have feared."
The king positioned himself carefully beside his wife. "Do not worry, Lady Norfolk, your sister is safe with me."
"I do believe I can trust that." Ruth nodded as she sipped her wine.
I love writing this story, I really do. I have become emotionally attached to every character in a different way. However, it does not matter how I feel about this story for I am not the reader. I need to know what my readers are thinking so that I know that I should continue. I don't want to fill the archive with stories that nobody is reading. Let me know you're here so that I can continue. What are some things I can improve? What was your favorite part? What do you hate/love about the characters? Who can you relate to? Do you find it historically accurate for the times? It's just really hard to continue when there's nothing for me to go on, well anyway I hope you enjoyed the chapter.