Much later that same evening, Stanley sat alone in the privacy of the King’s private library. He was surrounded by various books and documents. If he should be interrupted by any, they would see that he was keeping late hours doing the newly crowned King’s correspondance and accounts. In the midst of such papers was another set of more hidden ones which held his rapt attention. He filled the sheafs with the symbols and writings that he had viewed earlier on that odd linen within the chest.
After some thought on the matter of that chest, he had met privately with John Howard and turned the chest over to him. He did never want any suspicion or accusations coming back at him and chose to place the matter of the chest and it’s possible ramifications directly upon Howard’s and therefore the King’s shoulders. The linen intrigued him though and he wanted to know more of it and what ever secrets it held. This, he deemed as his own personal bargaining chip. If he could hold that secret, it might benefit him and his family at some later time.
Once he finished putting his memory to print, he took the documents and placed them within his satchel. He buried them between numerous others and closed the satchel. That taken care of, he continued on with his correspondance for Richard. Those other papers, he would search more on with a well trusted and educated cleric in his service.
At the same time, John Howard sat in his private apartment staring at the chest now in his possession and pondered his own thoughts on this situation. Here sat the proof they needed that Elizabeth was practicing witchcraft. Even if it was planted by someone else, it was clearly meant to implicate and damn her. It was found in her private quarters made her look most guilty. If Richard were wont to, he could rightly and justly have her burned at the stake for this. Howard debated this to himself. He knew Richard’s feelings on Elizabeth and wondered if he would go this route, what repurcussions there should be from it. There was already the issue of the boys causing such dissent within the court… If Richard carried through with executing their Mother for witchcraft, it would severely taint his reign even more.
John Howard was well aware of Richard’s inner demons, his incessant need to win at all costs, be in complete control, and his insistance on justice. Howard had known Richard from their youth. He knew him well enough to understand that unless he broached this subject very carefully, Richard would once again give way to his demons and act before thinking, much as he had done with Richard Grey and William Hastings. God’s Blood, there was enough of a fire brewing already without adding this to the flames. Before he approached Richard with this, he needed a well thought out reasoning and plan to offer in leiu of burning the woman at the stake.
As he stared at the chest, his curiousity was roused as well about that strange linen. Unlike Stanley, he had some long distant, well hid memory of having seen something similar before. Late into the night, he racked his mind in attempt to remember where he had seen such writing. Finally, he gave up and tried to get some much needed sleep. In the middle of the night, he woke with a startled memory. As a young boy, he spent lengths of time with his Mother’s relatives, the Mowbrays and the FitzAlans listening to their many accounts of their ancestors and their legends.
One such entertaining story had been of their distant ancestor, an Irish princess named Aoife MaMurrough. His older relatives had laughingly joked that she may have been an ancient one with hidden secrets and powers that those ancients were professed to have. The legends were that she was a warrior princess named Red Eva, who conducted battles and warfare on behalf of her husband, Richard DeClare known as Richard Strongbow. They made light of the legends but within the family, they knew that there was truth behind some of those fanciful stories.
The family kept their truths well hidden. No one ever suspected nor accused any of them of having ancient beliefs, or tainted demonic bloodlines. In public, they well presented themselves as the most loyal and devoted servants of the crown and the pope. They trusted few and so even in private within the confines of their family, their bloodlines and the occasional appearance of such abilities in offspring were well guarded. In a very private, well protected room were remnants of their past histories. There were ancient scrolls and parchments with strange writings and markings upon them, much fragile and frayed scraps of cloth, and braided ropes of intricate knots. No one was sure of what the meanings were. They only knew that these items were important and valued treasures that could also be damning to them if ever made public. On very rare occasions, some of the children were allowed into the room, instructed on their history and warned of their futures should they break the trust of the family.
John Howard shook as he sat up in his bed that night and remembered those scrolls full of markings which so resembled the ones of this linen in the chest. He knew that he could not divulge any knowledge of these markings else be asked how he should know. The contents of this chest were dangerous to many more than just Elizabeth Woodville and he silently damned her for allowing this ancient secret to be found and made public. In his heart, he knew her to have some part or guilt in this even if someone else had planted the chest and it’s secret to be discovered. He got up, walked over to chest and opened it to carefully touch that linen. As his hand touched it, he felt the lingering traces of others who had touched it over the ages. It was far from new material and stitchings. He could not make out all of the others with any clarity, his powers were not that strong or trained. The ones he could pick up were the most recent, those being Elizabeth Woodville, her Mother Jaquetta, and… her daughter, Elizabeth York.
Howard had never been at ease or comfortable with this ability of his. Throughout his life, he had ever tried to distance himself from it and it’s affects upon his life. He used it occasionally to his benefit and aid in that he sometimes could know of where an item had been previously and whose possession it had been in. The main benefit was of minimal value in determining small things as if someone was lying when they said they knew nothing of an item. Such occasions were useful when reprimanding his children… as when he would discover something broken and ask who did it. Of course they would all deny knowledge, but he could touch the thing and know which child was the guilty one. Other than that, he could easily trace a found message scribbled and sent with a messenger unwilling to admit who was sending or recieiving it.
Now as he held the linen, he wished he had put more efforts into developing his skills and wondered if there was more that he could do with it. He stroked the linen and the stitches while he thought of those who had so carefully placed those stitches. It slowly came to him that the young Elizabeth York had placed no stitches but only held the linen in hands that shook with fear. He could feel that fear. Elizabeth Woodville had spent much time with the linen, weaving thoughts and words into her stitchings. She had spent a great deal of time over stitching, removing some previously placed lines and replacing them with added lines and webs of her own. He tried to focus on her in those moments and felt her emotions of the time. She was intense with feelings of power and controlling that power, feelings of wanting much more. Her stitchings were circled around and connecting to make them unending… to represent an eternity, a never ending power and control. He shook off those feelings, the energies she had left within those lines were not positive in any way but centered around only herself.
His fingertips moved to other stitches. Those created by Jaquetta Woodville had been connected in equal ways as her daughter’s, but her lines were filled with thoughts of the circle of life and family. Jaquetta had sewn with a calm power and divine guidance, an acceptance of the ways of the wheel up and down. She had never removed previous stitches but only added her own to the continuously changing and growing patterns and connections.
John Howard suddenly understood that this linen was ancient, started by a long passed ancestor, a woman who had placed upon the linen a thought, a promise to weave her wishes and those of her female descendants into the cloth and send those wishes out to the divine, the spirits who would then weave those prayers and wishes around the family. Through all of the hands that added to it, there had been few instances of malice or misintent until Elizabeth Woodville’s hands touched it. Until then, the few bitter and angry intenst were directed specifically at one person. Now, her thoughts that encompassed so much more were firmly imbedded into the life of this material. Her sometimes vicious thoughts swept beyond just that of one person but involve curses upon entire future generations. he wondered doubtfully if anyone could repair that damage. A thought came to him from somewhere deep inside of him, he knew not from who or where it sprang from. The thought was a heed of caution but promise. Protect this well, it holds the past for the future and some wise woman will one day be able to repair the damage and weave the good back into your lives.
A cold chill and foreboding washed over him as he placed the linen back in the chest. He did not know who the woman was that began this weaving was but he did know that she was not just an ancestor to the Woodville women but an ancestor to so many others of Royal bloodlines. This piece of linen was connected to them all and wove through all of their lives.
As the morning approached, he had slept not all, unable to stop thinking all of these threads winding through their lives from the past till now. His thoughts were of the meeting he must have with Richard this day and he was not looking forward to it. There were times when he viewed Richard with his inner demons and was reminded of that ancestor King of theirs who caused so many to curse him. The personal curses upon that king had shown up in some of the ragged bits of stitching upon that linen. Some of those women had cried and cursed King John as they sewed their heartbreak over losing loved ones and sons to his cruelty and his desire to prove he could control them all. Those women had laid curses down on only King John, though and not his entire family or future generations whereas Elizabeth’s curses were so broad that they would reign down on everyone through to the future. He knew of no way to combat these threats, knew of no one who might be able to stop them, as he knew of no one who would willingly come forward to admit such ability.
All that he could think of for the present time was to take his own heed of the dire warnings and somehow prepare himself and his family for some such devistation in their future. That would be difficult as her threats had been so general and widespread as to cause harm in any number of ways to any of them. He needed to know in more detail of what she had said , what she had put down specifically in her thoughts. Some of her thoughts had been of keeping her own powers and control through an eternity. Since he assumed that no one could live for an eternity, he deemed she should mean for her name and for her future generations to continue that control. There were ways in which he could combat that… at least in which her name did not live on with any sort of positive regard to power or control. His immediate thought was to take any power positive or negative away from connection to her name. For Richard to burn her at the stake would bring much attention to her name in the future. He was of the opinion now that the best course of action in regards to her future was one that should pass her into some unknown obscurity and dismissal. This would be his suggestion to Richard. As to future generations of her name, if one took away her name from them, one took away her control in that respect. Take away all control of her children’s futures and her memory, her recognition would cease to have any power over time. They had already achieved that with her sons… the daughters could most easily be manipulated with their removal from her and their placement at court with marriages and loyalties binding them to others rather than her.
The other concern was for those threats and curses she had flung far and wide… No, those curses were out there now with little way to control them. He was sure that much of it was directed at Richard personally, or whom ever she deemed responsibile for her losing her sons. Howard felt a dread come over him as he understood that she would hold them all responsible in some way. They would all come to suffer in some fashion from this much as Hastings had just suffered at the hands of Richard.