Categories > Original > Historical

The Betrayal of a King

by lost_in_the_shuffle 0 reviews

A king betrays the two people he holds most dear.

Category: Historical - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2008-03-19 - Updated: 2008-03-19 - 4121 words - Complete

Lady and Lord Kempton watched the children play with a smile on their faces. The two boys and one girl tumbled through the grass, like puppies.
“Watching them,” Lady Kempton said, “you would never know that one was royalty.”
“I agree Robyn,” Lord Kempton said, “the best thing that the king ever did was allow Gerard to foster with us.”
The couple watched silently after that, each lost in their own thoughts.
Gerard Seward, king of Stanmore, played happily like a boy of eight would. Blissfully unaware of the burdens that would fall on his shoulders when he turned fourteen.

The three children weren’t siblings, but they had been raised as such. One, Roth, was the future lord of Kempton, the vastest hold in Stanmore. One, Evelyn, had been betrothed to Roth from the cradle, although that mattered not to either of them at that moment. The third, Gerard, was the heir to Stanmore, royalty and above all men, except for God himself.
But that didn’t matter to any of the children at the moment, they ran through the fields, glad to be friends.
Evelyn stood nervously outside the chamber room, waiting to be announced. It had been sixteen years since she last saw Gerard. The day he turned fourteen, he had been removed from the Kempton household and taken back to Stanmore to learn how to be king.
She smoothed her dark hair back, and made sure her deep purple gown wasn’t rumpled. Because she was the betrothed of the Earl of Kempton, she had to be announced to the king.
“Gerard, king of Stanmore,” she thought, unable to believe that he had been officially crowned two days before.
It seemed like just yesterday that the three of them had ran through the fields together, now Gerard was king, Roth was an earl and the highest lord on the king’s council and she was about to become a wife.
The door to the chamber room opened and Evelyn came out of her musings.
“The king will see you now milady,” the young serving maid said, curtsying.
Evelyn smiled at her, then swept past, into the immense chamber room of the king.
She felt nervous as she neared the throne and chided herself for it. This was Gerard and king or not, he was still her friend.
She bowed prettily before the king, then looked up at him, surprised at what she saw. He had grown more handsome in the years since she had seen him. His hair always brown seemed more golden and his green eyes more piercing as they stared at her.
“Ah Lady Evelyn of Kempton,” he said, “it’s a pleasure and a joy to see you again.”
“The pleasure and joy are all mine your majesty,” she said softly, acting the part of the perfect courtier.
He smiled and nodded.
“It is good to have you as part of my court,” he said, “I look forward to renewing our friendship.” He looked around the crowded room then spotted Roth.
“I see your betrothed patiently awaiting you my dear lady,” he said. “You may go greet him.”
“Thank you your majesty,” Evelyn said, then slowly walked over to where Roth waited, aware of the king’s eyes on her.
“It is good to see you again my love,” she murmured relieved when the king’s attention turned elsewhere.
“It seems that Gerard has changed does it not,” she said quietly, for Roth’s ears only and he smiled.
“Indeed,” he said, drawing her close, to whisper in her ear. “He is no longer the boy we knew.”
Evelyn laughed, then turned, to find the king staring at her again. She was puzzled to find that he was frowning.

“These are your rooms milady,” the same young serving maid told her later and Evelyn frowned.
“There must be some mistake,” she said, “these are not near my betrothed husband’s rooms.”
“The king said you were to have these rooms milady,” the maid said, “a gesture of old friendships that he hopes to renew.”
“How nice,” Evelyn said, smiling a smile she didn’t feel. “Thank you so much.”
The maid bowed and left the room, as Evelyn walked toward the window, frowning.
Why would the king give her such elegant rooms? So far from Roth? He said he wanted to renew friendships, but why only her and not both of them?
She heard a discreet knock on the door and turned as a black haired woman entered.
“I am Isabelle,” she said, “I am to be your companion.”
“Did my lord Kempton send you?” Evelyn asked and the woman shook her head. “I was sent my the king, a gift for an old friend.”
Another gift? Evelyn turned away from the woman and frowned. She had to talk to Gerard, she was betrothed, to be married in a few months. It was unseemly for him to send her gifts.
She turned and smiled at Isabelle.
“You may supervise the unpacking of my things,” she said, and the woman nodded.

Evelyn hurried down the hall, toward the king’s private chambers, where she knew he would be at this hour.
She was surprised when the guards let her in, just at the mention of her name, but she figured this was another privilege of being an old “friend.”
Gerard was standing alone in his room when she walked in, and he smiled, obviously happy to see her.
“My lady Kempton,” he said, crossing the room to grasp her hands. “I will assume you enjoyed my gifts to you?”
“You would assume wrong your majesty,” Evelyn said tightly and Gerard’s face lost it’s smile.
“What is wrong with the gifts,” he asked coldly, “if they’re not to your liking, I can give you different ones.”
“It is not the gifts your majesty,” Evelyn said, stepping away so her hands left his. “It’s the fact that you gave them to me in the first place. I am almost a married woman, it get gifts from another man, old friend or not, is very unseemly.
Gerard glared at her with thinly veiled anger.
“And what if I’ve decided this betrothal is no longer suited?” He asked tightly and she stared at him.
“You can not decide that,” she said, “your father declared us betrothed when he was king.”
“You forget yourself madame,” he said, stepping forward and tightly gripping her shoulders. “I am not my father, and I am the king. I say the betrothal between you and lord Kempton is no longer suited. Therefore it is acceptable for you take my gifts.”
Evelyn stared at him, as all the color drained from her face.
“Why would you do this,” she whispered, “why be so cruel?”
Gerard stared at her coldly.
“It’s quite simple my dear lady,” he said, “I desire you, and I will have you. If you and the lord Kempton are seen together, it will be considered treason.”
He released the grip he had on her shoulders and pushed her away.
“Now go,” he said, “and don’t come back unless I summon you.”
Evelyn stared at him, shaking with anger.
“You are no longer the boy I knew,” she said and he looked at her.
“No, I am not,” he said, “I became a man, I became a king.”

She turned quickly and left the rooms quickly, before gathering up her skirts and running as fast as she could.
Tears blurred her vision, making it impossible for her to see clearly, but still she ran. Finally she collapsed on a bench and realized she was in the gardens. Angrily she wiped away her tears.
How dare he do this, how dare he ruin her one chance for happiness? She and Roth loved each other, they had since they were children and not to allow them to wed was the cruelest thing Gerard could ever have done.
Suddenly a shadow fell over her and she looked up, to find Roth standing there.
“What is the matter my love?” He asked in concern and for a moment she stared at him hungrily.
“The king has decreed our betrothal inappropriate,” she said quietly. “Even being here with you, talking with you, is considered treason.”
“But why would he do such a thing?” Roth asked with a frown.
“It’s simple,” Evelyn said, “because he desires me, he wants me in his bed and he doesn’t care what he has to do to make that happen.”
Roth gently drew her to her feet.
“We will run away then,” he said, “curse Gerard and his decree. We will run away from Stanmore.”
“And go where?” Evelyn said, “do what?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Roth said, “as long as I am with you.”
Evelyn shook her head and stepped away from Roth.
“He would never let me go,” she said, “I saw it in his eyes, he considers me his already.”
“We will wed in secret then,” Roth said, “wed in a clandestine ceremony then return to court.”
He gently took her hands in his and pressed them to his mouth.
“The king will never know,” he said, “and soon he will tire of you, as he does all women and we can go and live in Kempton.”
Evelyn stared at him for a moment, then nodded.
“I will marry you my lord,” she said, “as soon as it can be arranged.”
He smiled at her, drawing her into his arms and kissed her, before walking off into the darkness.
“You play a dangerous game milady,” a sudden voice startled her.
Evelyn turned to find Isabelle standing behind her.
“And what would you know of dangerous games?” Evelyn asked flippantly.
She wondered how much the companion had seen, how much she had heard.
“I know that a woman desired by the king, should never be meeting men in dark gardens.” the companion said quietly. “That’s a good way to lose your head.”
With those words, she turned quietly and walked back to the castle as Evelyn stood in dread of her words.
Evelyn lived in fear for the next few days, worried that Isabelle would say something, but she never did.
She saw Roth at a distance, as she paid attendance to the king. But neither dared to see each other alone, not yet.
Finally Roth sent her a message, “it will be done tonight,” it said, “come as you are.”
She paid the messenger boy, then walked over and burned the letter in the fireplace.
She looked at Isabelle.
“Not a word to the king,” she said.
“But what if he wants you tonight milady?” Isabelle asked in a worried tone.
“Tell him I’ve grown ill, a woman malady,” Evelyn said and left the room.
Isabelle knew she should tell the king what was transpiring, but she loved her lady. She shook her head with worry, no good could come of this, that she knew.

Evelyn paid the stable boy to retrieve her horse, and after looking around to make sure no one was watching her, she pulled her hood up and mounted. Quickly she kicked Isis into a gallop and left the stable yard and the castle behind. The sound of thundering hooves filled her ears as she raced through the woods, until finally she came to a small country chapel.
She dismounted and hurried inside, smiling at Roth who waited for her with a chaplain.
“This is to remain a secret my priest,” Roth said, and the chaplain nodded.
Smiling at Evelyn he held out his hand for hers, and led her to the alter. Where the chaplain married them.
“Let no man render asunder what the gods have done this day,” the chaplain said after wedding them.
Evelyn felt a chill run down her spine at the words, “no man could but the king,” a traitorous voice murmured in her head.
She paid it no heed, as Roth grasped her hand and led her from the chapel.
“I have arranged for a small house for this night,” he murmured in her ear and she shivered.

They mounted their horses and left the chapel, traveling a small distance into the woods until they finally came to the house.
Roth dismounted, and gently grasped Evelyn’s waist, helping her off the horse.
“My beautiful bride,” he whispered in her ear, then kissed her slowly. He swept her into his arms and carried her into the house, to the bedroom.
“The king will never have you first,” he said, then laid her on the bed.
“What we do is treason,” Evelyn said softly and he smiled.
“I would commit a thousand treasonous acts to be with you,” he murmured, before kissing her softly again.
He made her his, softly, gently, in an act that she knew wouldn’t be done by the king. With the king it would just be sex, with Roth it was something more.

Later Evelyn lay in bed with Roth, and she felt a burden on her heart.
The king would discover this, there was no way to keep this a secret for long. Gerard would find out and she shuddered to think of the consequences when he did.
“I love you,” Roth murmured in her ear and she smiled at him.
“I will always love you,” she said, kissing him gently as they drifted off to sleep together.
Isabelle looked up, and relief crossed her face.
“Thank goodness you’re back,” she said, hurrying to take off Evelyn’s coat. “He’s been asking for you. Your excuse of illness has held him off so far, but it won’t for long.”
As if on cue, there was a knock on the chamber door and Isabelle hurried to answer it.
“His Majesty wishes to see the lady Kempton,” the young pageboy said, bowing deeply.
Evelyn nodded and followed him out of the room, down the hall, to the King’s private chambers.
Gerard was staring into the fire, when she entered his rooms alone, but he turned and faced her.
“You wished to see me your Majesty?” She asked, curtsying.
“Yes,” he said, walking up to her, and grasping her chin, bringing her eyes up to meet his.
“I heard you were unwell,” he said softly and Evelyn was surprised at the look of concern in his eyes.
“I had a woman’s ailment your Majesty,” she said, “but I am well now.”
“That is good,” he said, then dipped his head, kissing her gently.
Evelyn closed her eyes as the king kissed her, then realized that while Roth’s kisses set her on fire, Gerard’s left her feeling cold.
Finally he drew away, and stared at her.
“I will have you tonight,” he said, “prepare yourself.”
Evelyn felt his words like a punch to her stomach, but she nodded anyways and smiled.
Somehow she made it back to her chambers, before dashing to the pot and throwing up.
“Milady,” Isabelle said in concern, kneeling beside her. “What is the matter?”
“He wishes to have me tonight,” Evelyn whispered, and felt the hot tears run down her cheeks.
“It will be fine milady,” Isabelle said, pushing Evelyn’s hair away from her sweaty face. “The king will not treat you wrongly.”
Evelyn nodded, then got up, walking over to the desk.
Quickly she penned a note to Roth, “he will have me tonight, but my thoughts will be of you.”
“Deliver this to the Lord Kempton,” she said, sealing it and handing it to Isabelle. “You’re the only one I trust.”
Isabelle nodded, then hurried out of the room, the missive in her hand.
“Oh my Roth,” Evelyn murmured as the tears started again. “What have we done? We should’ve run away.”
About a hour after Isabelle had left, Evelyn was startled to hear a pounding at her door.
“What is the meaning of this?” She demanded, when she opened it and found the royal guards.
“We have strict orders from the king, milady.” One of the guards said, “you’re to be brought to him at once.”
Evelyn felt a cold wave of dread pass over her at his words and she nodded numbly, following him out.
They led her to the king’s private rooms, and left her there. She entered slowly, fearfully, then realized her fears had been founded when she saw Isabelle standing there in tears.
“What is this?” The king thundered, throwing the missive at her feet.
“I’m sorry milady,” Isabelle said, “I did not know the king had people watching you.”
“Not closely enough apparently,” the king snarled, staring at Evelyn hard. “Did you wed and bed the lord Kempton?” He demanded, but she just stared at him.
“Do I have to get the royal physician in here to examine you?” He asked coldly, “because I assure you I will.”
“We did wed,” Evelyn said evenly, staring at him. “And we did bed.”
“You were aware that you were committing an act of treason,” Gerard said slowly, “but yet you did it anyways.”
“To you it may have been an act of treason,” she said defiantly, “but to us it was an act of love.”
He snarled and slapped her across the cheek, sending her to the floor.
“You have signed the lord Kempton’s death warrant,” he said, staring down at her in contempt.
“Please your Majesty,” Evelyn begged, “do not do this thing. He was once your best friend, do not execute him on a false charge.”
“Guards!” The king bellowed, and they quickly came into his room.
“Take the lady Kempton to her rooms,” he said, “she is clearly overwrought. And imprison the lord of Kempton, he has committed treason.”
“Please don’t do this,” Evelyn screamed, as the guards took her away. “Don’t do this thing!”
Gerard turned and looked out the window, ignoring her cries as she was taken from his rooms.
Days passed without word about Roth, it was almost as if he had vanished, but Evelyn knew he was in the dungeons. So close to her, yet so far, she wished she could go to him, and touch him, but knew that was impossible now.
Three months passed, as the condemned lovers awaited their fates. Then something miraculous occurred. Evelyn discovered she was pregnant. Their night of love, the only night, had brought forth some joy.
Soon after Isabelle came into Evelyn’s rooms, her face grim.
“They have decided milady,” she said, and Evelyn stood quickly, one hand pressed protectively against her belly.
“Lord Kempton is to be executed for treason,” Isabelle said quietly, and Evelyn felt the room spin.
“You are to be banished,” Isabelle continued, “never to set foot at court again.”
“When is Roth’s execution,” Evelyn said quietly, as tears ran down her face.
“Three days milady,” Isabelle said.
“Can you arrange for me to see him?” She asked her companion, “I must see him, he must know of the child, before he is murdered.”
Isabelle nodded, clasping Evelyn’s hands tightly.
“I will do this for you,” she said, then turned, walking out of the room quickly.
Evelyn dropped to her knees, as the tears came in earnest.

“You must not tarry,” Isabelle hissed, as she led Evelyn down to the dungeons, hoods covering both their faces.
“You will only have a short time with him,” she said, stopping before the cell that held Roth.
Evelyn watched as Isabelle opened the door, then she stepped inside, turning slightly as the door shut behind her.
“Evelyn,” Roth’s voice came behind her and she turned, going into his arms.
“You shouldn’t have come my love,” Roth said, burying his face in her neck. “It is to dangerous, the king could have you executed too.”
“I had to come,” Evelyn said, “I had to see you one last time.”
She looked at Roth, then slowly smiled.
“I am carrying your child,” she said.
“What will the king do when he finds this out?” Roth asked in worry, “I do not want him harming you or the child.”
“He has moved on,” Evelyn said, “I insulted his pride and no longer became desirable to him.”
“Evelyn,” Roth said, gripping her hands tightly, “promise me something. Promise me that you will not be here for my execution. I do not want you to see this.”
“Roth I....” Evelyn began to he interrupted her.
“Promise me!” He said sharply, and she nodded reluctantly.
“Good,” he said, before drawing her toward him, kissing her gently.
“I love you,” he murmured and she clung to him.
“I will always love you,” she said, kissing him again.
“Milady,” Isabelle’s sudden voice broke in, “we must flee now.”
“Remember your promise,” Roth said, as he stepped away from her and she nodded, drawing her hood up and leaving the cell.
The two women walked quickly back to Evelyn’s rooms, and only then did she collapse onto the bed and give into the luxury of tears.

The day of the execution dawned brightly, as if the gods were cruelly jesting about what was to take place that day.
Evelyn waited as the carriage was brought around, she glanced to where deadman’s row was and could see the crowds gathering.
“I should be there,” she murmured.
“He wants to shield you milady,” Isabelle said, as the carriage was brought up.
Evelyn looked at Isabelle, then turned and started walking toward the crowds. She knew he didn’t want her there, but she had to be, to show her love and support. She grasped the hem of her skirt and pulled it up, before starting to run. The execution would be soon, and she didn’t want him to die alone.
She pushed through the crowds, finally able to see the guillotine. As she watched, the hooded men brought Roth out and up the stairs as the crowds booed and hissed.
Evelyn pushed forward through the crowds, closer and closer, until finally she was right in front of the scaffold.
The crowds realizing who she was, stepped back, almost as if they were afraid contact with her would condemn them too.
Evelyn stood alone, as her eyes met Roth’s.
The understanding in them warmed her, he knew why she had come, he knew she couldn’t stay away.
Evelyn watched in horrified fascination, as the executioner made Roth kneel. His head in the hole, the blade sharp and dangerous above him.
One last time his eyes met hers and then the blade dropped, cutting off his head and sending it tumbling into the basket below.
For a moment Evelyn stood there, her eyes fixed on the basket that held Roth’s head, as blood dripped down the sides of the scaffold. Then her knees buckled and she fell to the ground, weeping in misery.
Evelyn handed the missive to the pageboy, before stepping into the carriage.
The pageboy ran through the castle, to the war room where the king was conferring with his chancellor.
“A letter for you my lord,” he said, bowing and handing him the missive.
The king frowned when he saw who it was from.
“My king,” it said, “I wanted you to know that I would never forgive you for what you did this day. If my words are treasonous then execute me for treason. But you and I both know that the only sin Roth and I committed was wanting to be together. You my lord committed a bigger sin, you ordered the execution of an innocent man. You’re a murderer my lord and will have that stain on your soul for the rest of your life.”
The king looked up and dropped the letter, going toward the window, looking out of it.
“What is the matter your Majesty?” his chancellor asked.
“I have received a letter from the lady Kempton,” Gerard said softly, “calling me a murderer.”
The chancellor looked shocked.
“Will she be punished for these treasonous words?” He asked and the king shook his head.
“She speaks the truth,” he said, and looked out the window.
A carriage was leaving the castle, a carriage with the Kempton coat of arms on it.
“I am a murderer,” he whispered, “forgive me Evelyn, please forgive me.”
He watched as the carriage drove out of sight, carrying her away forever, then he dropped to his knees and wept.
Sign up to rate and review this story