Leona Woodlyon had done her part as directed in taking the children though it tore at her heart to do it as she listened to Elizabeth’s cries. She understood all to well Elizabeth’s pain and feared facing similar circumstances. Gerard had oft made mention of removing their children from her influences and she was very afraid that if she should fail in this duty now, he would make good on his threat.
She tried to calm the woman in some way and assure her of the girls well being. Elizabeth was in too much pain to comprehend anything that Leona tried to convey. Leona could say little else… they were allowed only a few moments of conversation and she desperately feared saying anything that might be construed in the wrong way. She also knew well that her actions and her behaviors would somehow get back to her husband, Gerard who would judge her most severely if she did not behave in a well suitable manner befitting her nobility. All she could do was try to convey some unspoken message to the girls. Hopefully once the dust settled here, they would be able to get through to Elizabeth.
Leona spent a few moments speaking to Elizabth York, who seemed to be left in charge of dealing with the life events her Mother chose not to face. She quietly introduced herself to the girl, since she had not been acquainted with her in previous years. In those hurried hushed words she promised the young Elizabeth on her soul that the little ones would be safe, well cared for and returned to them as soon as their Mother should decide to leave this sanctuary.
Elizabeth Woodville broke from her weeping and turned to Leona. She glared at the woman in an icy manner and spoke with unveiled bitterness, “You dare to come here and take my children… you break an oath of blood loyalty in this and you shall pay dearly for it.”
The younger Elizabeth tried to hush her Mother, “Please, enough of this. Let no more words of hate from your mouth rain down upon us. Have a care, Mother.”
The woman ignored her daughter’s and Leona’s pleas to speak not in anger. “You will see Leona, you will lose yours as I lose mine.”
Leona paled in fear of Elizabeth’s threat. She quickly gathered the babes along with little Margaret and motioned for Brackenbury to hurry them out the door. On her leaving she spoke tearfully, “On my honor and my soul, Elizabeth, I am in much fear for your life, your future and your children’s. You must not not make matters worse for any of us.”
Later that morning she was bundled into a cart with the children and a maid. She was not looking forward to a length of trip like this but the knights accompanying them had insisted that she ride in the wagon. It would be safer there and she could keep the babies quieted. She would have preferred to ride her mare, Royal as she so seldom got a chance to do so anymore. Now, it looked like she may never get a chance again… She had been instructed to leave the horse at the Castle stables where her husband would retrieve it at a later time. That was the limit of any message from Gerard.
The motion had finally lulled the children to some slumber and she stared out at the passing landscape. Her thoughts turned to the words she had spoken to Elizabeth… She sighed, squeezed her eyes tight to hold back more tears and recalled how oft Gerard made the same comments to her. She could hear his frustration as he voiced the words she so often gave him cause to repeat, “Leona, end this now… you put us all in danger and make matters all the worse for us.” She bit her lip and let the knowledge that he was right sink in. Having to be a part of this, feeling Elizabeth’s anguish and pain, she understood now how much danger she constantly put her loved ones in by not listening to reason and good sense. Tears dropped down her face as she thought of having to give up her own children…
Gerard kept telling her that they were not safe with her spouting her mouth off about the ancient ones and their ways. He was also adament that they should be fostered with Noble families in the usual tradition. She knew she would soon have to part with her young son, Francis. He was close to seven now and Gerard insisted it was more than time for him to be placed in training. She tried to console herself with the fact that she would have little Leora with her for a while longer. The thought of tiny firebrand Leora caused her to smile and cry at the same time. Such a little spit fire she was, Gerard so often shook his head in either pain from her screams or frustration from attempting to get her to behave. She was barely two but had the mind and the energies of one much older. They were forever trying to keep her out of troubles and danger, so curios she was about everything. Leona’s heart was burdened by the knowledge that this child showed abilities that if not properly guided and controlled, would put them all in mortal danger. They seldom let her out of their sight for fear she would display her unusual talents in front of unknown strangers. Now, she was being looked after by Leona’s most trusted maid, Ella. The child had never been apart from her before and Leona prayed she did not cause too much disruption or damage. This small child, she knew in her heart she would have to part from soon… Arrangements were already being made to send her to a relative clan in the highlands where there well trained Priestesses to watch over her and guide her in ways that they could not. Once Leora left them, she would cease to be theirs in any way. She would be taken into training as the clan’s spiritual leader and her loyalties would forever be to the clan and to the higher powers.
She glanced over at Elizabeth’s sleeping babies and thought how much harder it must be to have one’s children taken by force suddenly with no preparation or forewarning… and in the case of her boys, the gnawing knowledge in one’s soul that they were not to survive. The wagon moved slowly on and Leona quietly cried for all of those hearts torn and bleeding from Richard’s actions.