Fight for the Crown

Katherine Seymour is fighting for a place on the throne of England, and she's prepared to do anything for the chance to be Queen. Kidnapping the first born son of the king, seducing a prince and murdering the queen are all risks she's prepared to take.

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2. Chapter 1

My feet run down the stairs before my mind even realises it. With my heart hammering wildly inside my chest, I risk a glance behind me and see the shadows of the guards chasing after me.

“Catch her! Get her! Bring her back! She has my baby!” The Queen’s voice echoes off the stone walls. I clasp the sleeping boy to my chest, hoping he won’t wake and cry for his mother.

 

This baby must die; the Queen cannot give birth to a boy. He will be the heir to the throne. My father is William Seymour, the Duke of Gloucester who put Henry (the current King) on the throne, and ruled England from behind him. But Henry didn’t take my father’s advice on marriage. Henry was to marry me, and there was to finally be a Seymour on the throne of England.

 

With the shadows advancing quickly, I sweep into the stables and heave a saddle onto the nearest horse, before tightening the straps and leaping on. I charge out of the wooden stables, the horse’s hooves pattering on the uneven cobblestones.

“Look, she’s over there! Riding out on the horse!” I hear the faint cries of the soldiers and urge the horse to ride faster, squeezing my knees against his sides. The baby opens his blue eyes and they fill with curiosity as they see me and not his beautiful mother. He starts to wail and it takes all my willpower to not just stuff a sock down his throat.

 

My father wants him killed in front of all of our followers, show what happens to fake heirs. It was my job to get the baby, earn his mother’s trust and steal the child from under her nose.

 

I reach the edge of the forest and stop to take one last look of the castle before charging straight into the thick sprawl of trees. It’s more difficult driving a horse through the forest in darkness, with one of my hands full with a baby than I’d anticipated. Soon, I’m finding that I’m driving round in circles and not getting anywhere. The sound of the soldiers is getting louder. Filled with a new fear of being caught and executed, I ride forward, ducking my head to avoid a low branch.

 

Finally making some progress, I get off the horse and send it in a different direction, hoping to catch the soldiers off guard and have them follow the horse rather than me. I lift my thick woollen skirts and walk quickly, dodging the marshy ground and protruding branches. Eventually, tired of walking, I hide behind a tree, listening to the noise of the men’s horses stamping around. I breathe out in relief. Then a hand clamps to my mouth whilst another grabs hold of my arm.

 

I squirm, dropping the baby in the process, until I can see the face of my captor. My eyes widen as I look into the dark brown eyes of Prince Richard, the King’s youngest and most loyal brother. Rather than angry, his face looks more worried, and I take this as an opportunity. I nip his gloved hand with my teeth and as he lets go in surprise, I reach into the folds of my cloak and grab my dagger. I lunge towards his heart with it, but he anticipates the attack and grabs my hand, pulling me across so I’m standing with my back touching his front, my own dagger held at my throat with both our hands around the engraved hilt. My breathing becomes ragged as I try to think of a way to get out of this.

 

Wait, where’s the baby? I swear under my breath and look down to see where the child’s gone. Richard, watching my movement, grabs my other arm and holds it behind my back at a painful angle.

 

“You’re under arrest for kidnap of the Royal Prince, Edward of Wales.” He says, squeezing my arm until I’m sure there’s no blood flow being allowed to it.

“Go to hell.” I reply, turning my face and spitting in his. He snorts in disgust and pulls the dagger closer to my throat. I let out a hoarse gasp.

“It’s a good job the law protects you, otherwise I’d kill you now myself.” He snarls, dragging me towards his horse.

“Well, my dear Prince. It seems you’re mistaken, as you can see, I don’t have your precious Prince Edward.” Richard pauses, his face suddenly turned to an expression of shock. I laugh lightly.

“I don’t think the King will be very pleased if you take me back to court but not your nephew.” I add. Just as I thought, Richard let go of me and started looking around for the baby; which I’d already spotted by his horse’s leg. Taking my chance, I lift the baby into my arms and jump on Richard’s horse and gallop off, leaving him to shout wild commands at soldiers lost in the mass of trees. I blow a kiss in his direction, laughing all the way.

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