Rebellion

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Authors: Livi Michael
means she was preserved and able to land at Berwick.
    Great Chronicle of London
    Then after that came King Henry that
     was and the queen and the King of Scots, [and] Sir Pierre de Brézé with 4,000
     Scotsmen and laid siege to the castle of Norham, for eighteen days [in June 1463].
     And then my Lord of Norham and his brother Lord Montague rescued the said castle of
     Norham and put both King Harry and the Scots to flight. And Queen Margaret with all
     her council fled away.
    Gregory’s Chronicle

10
Flight
They went into a forest, to avoid
     being seen, where there was nothing but trees in all directions …
    Georges Chastellain
    The little prince had asked her a dozen times
     where they were going. She did not like to say she did not know. She’d given up calling
     out to the guards and attendants who had been with them when they entered the forest; it
     was as though a thick blanket muffled her words. Or as though something ancient and
     primitive might be listening.
    It must, by now, be evening, but it was
     impossible to tell. The overhanging branches were so dense that no light penetrated, but
     they tried to look where they were putting their feet, for the ground was not what it
     seemed to be. It was covered by twisted roots and vines, concealing ruts and holes in
     the ground.
    She had concentrated at first on trying to
     distract them both, but gradually her voice had failed, and the little prince too had
     fallen into silence. He clung to her closely, taking in the shapes and shadows of the
     forest with wide, intent eyes.
    But the forest wasn’t silent. A rustle
     through the undergrowth here; bats flitting and swooping overhead; a withered branch
     creaking as they approached. There was something in the forestthat
     seemed alive, watching and waiting. It breathed when she did, with its stale and loamy
     breath; its heart beat with her own.
    She did not want to stop; there was nowhere
     she felt was safe enough to rest. So they pressed on cautiously, without knowing whether
     or not they were going in circles, their breathing audible in the dense air.
    She had to remind herself that she was queen
     of this inhuman world; she was queen and she had the prince in her keeping. The muscles
     in her legs trembled and her breath seemed unnaturally loud, as if the forest was
     breathing through her open mouth.
    There was a sudden
crack
followed
     by a lesser one, then a great shape swung down suddenly, horribly, from the nearest tree
     and another stepped out from behind a different tree, and then another, until they were
     surrounded. She wanted to cry out, but her throat was paralysed. She heard the sharp cry
     of her son, ‘
Maman!
’ as he was taken, but something seized her from behind and
     propelled her forward, her knees bumping over the rough ground, and all the breath was
     knocked out of her so that she could not cry out in response. Just as suddenly, it
     stopped, and her head was pushed forward so that she was staring at the ground, then she
     was yanked upwards, into a standing position, by the hair.
She was taken and seized, robbed of
     all her royal jewels and robes … and when there was nothing left they seized
     her body and subjected her to a search and threatened her with various torments and
     cruelties, and then at swordpoint she was taken to the chief of robbers who would
     have cut off her head, but she, falling to her knees with hands conjoined and
     weeping, prayed that for the sake of divine and human honour he would have
     compassion upon her … that she was the daughter and wife of a king and in
     other circumstances they would have recognized her as their queen and if they
     sullied their hands with her blood their cruelty would be remembered by men
     throughout the ages, and saying these words she wept so profoundly that there was no
     thing in eitherheaven or earth that would not have taken pity upon
     her … At this the robbers began to quarrel and

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